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Junior pursues performing arts passion

“Sometimes people say, ‘you play soccer?’ in that kind of tone.”

This was Riley Steege’s (’19) first line in the #LIKEAGIRL campaign commercial aired on July 20, 2016, by Always, emphasizing the idea that adolescent girls should never quit sports and to stay confident in who they are.

After seeing an ad on the ASL Community Bulletin Board asking for American teenage girls to appear in a commercial about girls in sports, Steege was immediately on board, as she has always had a passion for acting. Once sending in a video of herself answering some questions, the producers accepted Steege’s application.

On the set, trailers were parked all over the Crystal Palace Recreational Grounds and filled with costumes and props for the commercial.When it was her turn, Steege was interviewed by American Film and Television Director Nanette Burstein and added that “it was amazing to get to work with her” as she was nominated for an Academy Award back in 2000 for a documentary.

After the interview, Steege was excited to show off her soccer skills on the field as she has played for Kinja Football Club for the past three years. “They brought in a team from outside and they staged a play where I’d score the winning goal, which, funnily [enough], is the only goal I’ve scored all soccer season [and it] was for a staged commercial, so that was great,” she said.

After an exhausting seven-hour day, Steege was ecstatic when she saw the finished commercial where she featured multiple times.

However, Steege’s interest in acting began much before noticing the ad on the Community Bulletin Board. She knew she wanted to act following her debut in her Grade 1 school play, ‘Owen and The Yellow Blanket.’ “After getting to just experience acting as someone totally different and it being OK, I was immediately intrigued by it, and I was like ‘oh, what else can I do?’” she said.

After that, Steege joined a local theater group with some of her friends and has been part of the theater world for more than 10 years.

Ever since moving from Massachusetts to London in Grade 7, Steege has been part of theatrical productions at ASL, including the recent productions of High School Musical and 39 Steps. Steege said that when she is performing, she forgets about all the stress and anxiety which comes with being a high school student. “Getting a little escape from the ASL life, being able to encompass someone totally different and love it, it makes me extremely happy,” she said.

Steege, however, doesn’t only experience her love of performing inside the school, but also outside of school. Around a year and a half ago, Steege heard about Spirit Young Performers Company (SPYC). After being accepted into the company, she now spends around seven hours on weekends taking part in musical theater, dancing, singing and acting classes. Steege also attends an industry master class every Sunday where she learns from professionals about their experiences in the performing arts industry, she has appeared in several of the company’s Youtube videos including “Ascot Gavot” and “Counting down to Christmas”.  

Steege explains that although she is spending so much time at the SPYC, it has never been a burden for her, it is actually quite the opposite — “For me, dedicating my weekends to this company was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The friends I’ve gained and the skills that I have acquired have put me in a position I never would’ve dreamed of at this age. … I couldn’t imagine my life without it.”

With so much time and energy focused towards her love of performing arts, ultimately, Steege dreams of being on Broadway or on the West End, but no matter where life takes her she has one thing she knows for sure: “I just want to be acting.”

Written by Managing Editor: Online Christina Leonard

Photos from Riley Steege (’19)

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