Lily Brooks At just 16, she is already a seasoned actress. His resume practically sparkles in memory. “I’ve been very fortunate to be a part of some amazing projects, so it’s hard to pick a most memorable moment. For theater, it was my first show as Matilda on Broadway. Matilda the musical at the Kennedy Center in Washington. I was only nine and I was very nervous, but the show was amazing and my first screen call as the lead was magical,” she says. “For film and TV, it’s a tie. Give my first live show a taping. The Big Show Show It was so special Because it was my first serial regular role. It’s been a dream of mine since I was seven years old, and it was in front of a live studio audience that I loved! My other favorite film/TV moment was our last day of filming Ella’s life. Heading the show was absolutely wonderful, but also a huge responsibility. I gave a lot of myself to make sure I did everything I could to help bring this character and her beautiful story to life. The last day the producers, Tim and Jeff, asked me to give a speech after we finished the last scene. I was grateful for every single cast and crew and creative team member who helped support the show. I will never forget that last day.”
Her support network means the world to her. “My improv/acting coach, Katie Pohlman, has been working with me since I was eight years old. During our time together, Katie taught me to trust my instincts, take chances, be comfortable with my acting choices and always believed in me. I’ve had the incredible opportunity to work with over 20 female directors, but Kelly Park and Christine Lakin have taken me under their wings and acted as mentors for me. The Ella’s life The creators, Tim Pollock and Jeff Hodson are two of the most kind and helpful writers. When I was playing Ella, a crew member big show show, who is a family friend, told me if he could pick anyone to work with me it would be Tim and Jeff. They always listen to me, encourage me and run the show with grace. The two actors playing my parents, Kevin Rahm and Marie Faber, are veteran actors. I learned a lot from them, but they also gave incredible advice and supported me completely. I’m so thankful for Kevin and Mary.”
Along the way, he never forgot the precious words of wisdom. “I got a lot of great advice from some amazing people but my TV dad, Kevin, gave me some advice that really stuck. One day during filming, I was having trouble connecting with the scene and got frustrated. Kevin told me how you do the scene. Don’t worry about what you want to turn on, but let it happen naturally and if you do, it will be real rather than planned,” feels Lily. Each role gives insight into a different part of her life. “I’m very lucky to have so many different types. What I enjoyed most was that each character taught me something not only about life, but about myself. This is especially true of her latest character, Ella McCaffrey, a high school student and recent cancer survivor.” The experience of battling cancer has taught him to fear nothing. During treatment, she constantly encounters things bigger than her and beyond her control, but she beats the cancer and survives. Now that he’s been given a second chance at life, he won’t shy away from living the life he wants to live because he’s afraid. Cancer has taught him not to let fear keep him from living.” Beating cancer inspires Ella to pursue joy without holding back fear of judgment. “Ella is fun, bold and determined to embrace every moment of life. Before cancer, Ella was too focused on pleasing others and was afraid to be herself. He spent most of his time in fear of what might happen; What if he doesn’t fit in, or if people don’t like him, or if he’s just being his true self. Cancer taught her to live in the moment and live life to the fullest without fearing what people might think. We meet Ella as she returns to school after beating cancer with a brand new perspective, excitement for what the future holds and a grown-up mindset. After cancer, Ella isn’t afraid to be herself, and she’s also incredibly adventurous. I really admire Ella’s strength, determination and zest for life.”
Lily herself has a deep personal connection to the fight against cancer. “I grew up in Memphis, where St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is located, and I have a few friends who were treated at St. Jude. Their lives were saved because of St. Jude’s research and actions in curing childhood cancer. I did my first trike-a-thon for St. Jude when I was in preschool and did the first kid version of the St. Jude Marathon when I was six. When I started growing my platform, I knew right away that I wanted to use it to shine a light on the life-saving work that St. Jude does. The St. Jude Walk/Run is at the end of September and I’m leading Team Young Hollywood (which I started in 2020) and I hope this will be the team’s biggest fundraising year yet. I plan to host another big event in the spring… so stay tuned!” By supporting the work of St. Jude, we can enable families to focus on their children without being distracted by the financial burden of treatment. Jude freely shares its research with doctors and hospitals worldwide to ensure that all children battling cancer have access to the life-saving discoveries made at St. Jude. Another thing I love about St. Jude is that families of children receiving treatment at Children’s Research Hospital never pay for a single thing during treatment. They do not have to pay for accommodation, food, transport etc Ella’s life, we see the McCaffrey family moving from a large house to a small apartment after Ella’s treatment due to high medical bills. St. Jude’s believes that it is most important for families not to worry about money, but to focus on making sure their child is happy.
Ella shines a light on the importance of living a life you can be proud of every day. Lily knows this firsthand. “Ella taught me that life can become really stressful and overwhelming if you constantly think about what others might think of you. It’s very important to Ella that she lives her life the way she wants to live, not the way other people want her to live. I Definitely learned a lot from my character. The most significant thing I learned is that you don’t want to focus so much on the future or look back on the past that you forget to live in each moment. You have to cherish each day and moment by moment, Life should be enjoyed day by day.” We could all benefit from remembering that a little more often. Ella’s life Streaming on Apple TV+ from September 2.
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Lily Brooks seizes the day in “Life by Ella.” Photo credit: Kevin Scanlon.