Setting sights on the stars

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CHARLOTTE WHITE, 12, of Findlay, will play the role of Alyssa Crane in this week’s episode of “Grey’s Anatomy.” Charlotte expressed an interest in acting several years ago and her parents, Dick and Jennifer White, helped her pursue her dreams. She has appeared in numerous commercials and movies and had a featured role in an eposide of “Private Practice” in 2012. (Photo provided by the Osbrink Agency)

By MARGARET DWIGGINS
Family editor
Local fans of the television show “Grey’s Anatomy” will have even more reason to tune in to Thursday’s episode, when Charlotte White of Findlay will have a featured role in an episode titled “Throwing it all Away.”
Charlotte, 12, the daughter of Dick and Jennifer White, will play the role of Alyssa Crane, a girl who has arthrogryposis, a congenital disease that causes muscle shortening.
Although a nondisclosure agreement prevents her from revealing too much about the story line, Charlotte said the episode deals with her character questioning whether or not she wants to endure any more medical procedures as she has spent her entire childhood undergoing treatments.
Charlotte said she was sent to a special effects studio to have a cast made of her leg which was used to make a prosthetic to give her body some of the characteristics of the disease.
The filming for her role took place over three days in the beginning of January, she said.
She was a little disappointed that she didn’t get to meet the show’s stars, Patrick Dempsey and Ellen Pompeo, although she did meet Sandra Oh. In her scenes she worked with Sara Ramirez and Jessica Capshaw.
“They were really nice, they were great with me and are amazing actresses,” she said.
Jennifer White said Charlotte became enamored with acting several years ago because of her love of the “Hannah Montana” television show, and she and her husband thought it was worth exploring.
Charlotte took some classes at Starbound, a Toledo agency that offers after-school and weekend acting and modeling workshops. Two of Starbound’s success stories are Katie Holmes and Alyson Stoner.
Jennifer said Starbound refers students with potential to the International Model and Talent Association, which holds big competitions twice a year, one in New York and one in Los Angeles. Charlotte did very well in the competition, Jennifer said, although the family didn’t make any immediate decisions.
About five years ago they began making contacts and found an agent to represent Charlotte, Jennifer said. While the family maintains their home in Findlay, they began spending more time at a second home in Arizona and now have an apartment in Los Angeles, where Charlotte and her mother spend most of their time.
Charlotte appeared in several commercials, most notably for Old Navy, Burger King and Hershey’s Reese’s Pieces, and had small roles in several movies. She landed the role of Melody in a May 2012 episode of “Private Practice” titled “True Colors.” In the episode, Charlotte played a young girl with gender identity disorder.
Jennifer said she marveled at the emotion her daughter was able to convey in the role, which earned Charlotte a Young Artist Award for outstanding performance.
Charlotte said she likes that, as an actress, she can play characters different from herself, and, quite often, tell a story that can help others.
Since appearing in “Private Practice,” Charlotte’s “off and on” career has been more “on,” her mother said.
Charlotte noted that now is pilot season in the television industry, meaning studios are filming episodes of shows they hope will be picked up by a network, so she’s been quite busy with auditions the last several weeks.
Charlotte is home-schooled and attends acting classes occasionally. She said she has made a lot of friends through the auditioning process.
She said that she may want to work behind the camera one day, but she envisions that acting will be her life’s work.
“I really want to continue doing this because it’s something I enjoy and want to do for the rest of my life,” she said.
“Grey’s Anatomy” airs at 9 p.m. Thursday on the ABC network.
Dwiggins: 419-427-8477 Send an E-mail to Margaret Dwiggins

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