BERLIN — The life of a performer has never been an easy one. To see your dreams come alive before your eyes is worth all the sacrifice to some though.
Deborah Kuhn, a 1985 Gallia Academy High School graduate, is one such person.
Kuhn currently lives in New York, N.Y., with her husband of the last three years, and has spent the better part of life living her passion, even when it was not the simplest road to take.
In late October, Kuhn took home the award of Best Supporting Actress for her part in the short film called “As Life Shifts” at the International Filmmaker Festival of World Cinema in Berlin, Germany. She served as the supportive neighbor of the main character Miranda, diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The disease causes muscle weakness, paralysis and respiratory failure as a progressive neurodegenerative disease. While struggling with the disease, the mother must raise two sons. Kuhn played the role of a friend and confidante Ingrid, supporting Miranda though her struggles as a parent.
The film is roughly 18 minutes long and is not available for release as it is still being released to yet more international festivals for competition.
“When I was in Gallipolis and going to high school, there was always a part of me that wanted to be an actress and I didn’t want to share it,” said Kuhn. “I’m sure my mom knew because I was always talking about it but I never told my friends … I wanted to live in bigger cities and go to school and stuff like that. I went to school in Florida and started work with Delta Airlines when I was 19. I was still in school and I always had that passion and dream so I thought I would just use Delta to go to bigger cities and I could work.”
Kuhn would use her job to gradually move to bigger cities until she made it to New York. She stressed the necessity of having the ability to market oneself as presentation is important in the world of acting.
“You can be the greatest actor, but you have to have a social media following and you have to sell yourself,” said Kuhn.
When Kuhn made her way to New York, she landed a spot in a national commercial within a few months. She still works with Delta Airlines, however. Going on 30 years with the business, Kuhn stressed the importance of being able to work if needed while working to fulfill a passion.
“The role (of Ingrid) for me is multiple things,” said Kuhn. “I’m very close with my family. I feel like a friend is a friend and you would do anything for them. So, I was a neighbor helping out a friend. The most important thing was my uncle had just passed away from ALS a year ago. Any disease, cancer or death, anything that puts heartache into a family and you’ve experienced it yourself … knowing what my family went through and having a close family, I treated (the main character) as a sister.”
Kuhn said she attended theater school for two years and recommends to those who would pursue acting that they “have to be tough.” There can be a lot of risk in pursuing an acting career.
Kuhn said that five years ago, criticism might have put her in tears. Now, she lets it go. Constantly auditioning and facing criticism can teach one what is important to pay attention to, and what to disregard.
For Kuhn, her pursuit of acting was worth the chase. She stresses that pursuing one’s dreams do have a price and one needs to be prepared to pay it.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.