Biting the Big Apple
Biting the Big Apple
Bella Vendramini knew there must be more to life than a series of casual jobs working for increasingly freakish bosses and drinking tea and dreaming of the big time in her Glebe kitchen each night. An actor by trade, she scraped together enough money for a one-way ticket to the Big Apple, enrolling on impulse - and in the face of fierce competition- in the prestigious Lee Strasberg Institute. What life in New York City would offer, she could never have predicted; sometimes ugly, mostly poverty-stricken but always exhilarating, Bella embraced the rollercoaster ride.
Born in New Zealand in 1977. The Vendramini family moves to Australia when Bella is 12; she becomes a dual citizen.
The acting bug hits when Bella joins a travelling children's acting troupe and plays Juliet. An audience member describes her as a 'female Danny de Vito'.
Bella leaves high school at 17, a month before final exams, to motorcycle around Europe with her boyfriend. Ends up in a Spanish prison after smuggling Sudanese political refuges over the border. She has since visited more than 25 countries (and stopped smuggling people).
Enrolls in a business course at university; quickly decided that there are so many statistics a girl can handle and leaves.
Joins up to train with the Rock n' Roll Circus; quickly decides there are only so many 'strongmen' she could have crushes on and leaves.
Becomes a film coordinator and discovers a passion for making movies.
Decides to make the transition from paid coordinator to unpaid, struggling actress. Spends a lot of time playing 'chick who gets killed by cool alien' in friends' low-budget productions.
2000: Wins a Best Actress audience award at a short film festival at the Tap Gallery, Sydney.
Begins to be recognised on the street by members of the public- sadly, for her role as 'girl with Hepatitis C' in a short film for Department of Health.
2001: Enrolls in summer courses at NIDA.
2002: Makes her Sydney Opera House debut as a flying fairy in Gilbert & Sullivan's lolanthe. An unfortunately mechanical malfunction leaves Bella with crotch burn for a week.
2005: Plays Mardi, a depressed young woman in the title role in an independent film and finds she is unable to shake the depression at the end of the shoot. Bella says: 'I felt like the insiders of Sid Vicious's live.' She makes the decision to change her life.
2005: Adventures in La La Land
Bella moves to California to visit childhood friend Zoe Bell (stunt double for Lucy Lawless in Xena: Warrior Princess and star of Tarantion's Grindhouse), to Line Produce Japan, an independent feature film with peter Fonda. She parties with Hollywood A-listers including Jared Leto, and befriends Quentin Tarantino.
2006: Bella hits New York, enrolls at the prestigious Strasberg Institute and meets her Mr Big
Hits the New York stage in Terrorism, The Servant of Two Masters and Euphoric Tendencies as well as the New York screen in The Last Fight, Safe Room and Japanese Borscht.
August 2008: signs up with the international charity Volunteers for Peace on an archaeological dig of a concentration camp.
Nov 2008: Biting the Big Apple, Bella's memoir of life and love in NYC is published.
Biting the Big Apple is the story of how Bella took on New York: the glittering love affair with her 'Mr Big' that would eventually turn sour, the friends she made (including Quentin Tarantino, who is a diehard Bella fan to this day) and lost, the highs and lows of studying acting in one of the most exclusive schools in the world, and the vagaries of day-to-day life in the city of dreams. For most people, living in New York is a dearly held but never-realised dream; for Bella, who seizes every opportunity with gusto, it's all in a day's work.
Funny, poignant and searingly honest, Biting the Big Apple is for everyone who ever took a risk- or wished they had.
Bella Vendramini is a down-to-earth girl living the New York dream- a downunder Carrie Bradshaw with a wicked sense of humour. Bella studied at NIDA and played a series of roles in independent productions (one which one her a Tap Gallery Award), until a bout of depression brough on by playing a demanding character motivated Bella to change her life, seize the moment and move to NYC.
Her career as an actress has been varied and interesting, and her star is very much in the ascendant with a number of celebrity fans eager to work with her.
Bella Vendramini fast facts:
Other information about Bella Vendramini:
-Bella's mother is novelist and playwright Rosie Scott:
Faith Singer was one of 50 Essential Reads by Living Writers selected by the Orange Prize.
Winner of the Bruce Mason Playwriting Award and the Sydney PEN award; shortlisted for the Christina Stead National Fiction Award, NSW Premier Awards, Banjo Patterson National Awards, Biennial Adelaide Festival Award and The New Zealand Book Award.
Former VP of Sydney PEN and Chairperson of the Writers in Detention Committee
-Bella's father is director, writer and producer Danny Vendramini:
Credits include Redheads starring Claudia Karvan, which won five international awards.
-Bella's grandfather is Dick Scott, historian, author of 14 books, and recipient of the Prime Minister's Award for literary achievement and the NZ Book Award, amongst others.
Praise for Biting the Big Apple
"Bella Vendramini is a larger-than-life personality who falls so in love with the possibilities of moving to New York to be an actress you can't help but be swept along with her. It's a classic gutter-to-the-stars princess adventure." - Sun Herald
"Vendramini effortlessly brings New York to life. Her love and passion for the city is evident throughout the book as she details her many highs and, equally, her many lows in the quest to fulfil her dream. There are stories that'll make you laugh so hard, and stories that will make you cry, but each and every adventure is Bella's own, and it's so easy to fall in love with her." - Cosmopolitan.com.au
"Vendramini will crack you up with quirky quips on life, love and breaking into the biz, in all her beer, fag and larrikin-like glory! Someone tell this girl her calling isn't on stage, but on the page!" - OK
"You won't be able to put down this intriguing tale." - Famous
"A fascinating memoir." - The Age
"Vendramini takes the bright lights of New York by store. A great read." - New Idea
"An edgy, witty true story." - Australian Women's Weekly
"You can't help but love Bella for this starry-eyed tale about moving to NYC and living your dreams." -NW
"A touching, entertaining and often hilarious account of Bella's loves and losses, successes and adventures in New York, drawing comparisons from reviewers with Carrie Bradshaw."- Perth Vita
"Fun and uplifting."- Girlwithasatchel.com
"Funny, poignant and seriously honest." - Daily News and Border Tweed Mail, 27 Nov
"Funny, poignant and astoundingly honest." - Country News, 22 Dec
"Frank and uncluttered and full of endearing down-under brassy-brash swearing
Vicarious pleasure is to be had, so go on, be tempted to take a bite." - Independent Weekly, 4 Dec
"You feel every inch of emotion that Bella goes through. You laugh out loud, you chuckle to yourself, you grow so inspired you feel you could conquer the world and you, too, get scared. I guess it's because you connect." - Mink Potential.com, 24th April
"Honest." - Sun Herald, 8th Feb.
Biting the Big Apple
Author: Bella Vendramini