‘Walking Dead’ star, UConn alum offers advice to acting students

2001 UConn MFA graduate and Walking Dead actress Ann Mahoney talks with students in UConn's BFA and MFA program about landing jobs after college in the Nafe Katter Theatre on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016 (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

Guest artist and University of Connecticut alum from “The Walking Dead,” Ann Mahoney, returned to campus on Thursday to give advice to prospective acting students from the Department of Dramatic Arts.

Her first key of advice to students is that they must start out with “killer headshots” to show who they are so that they are not cast into roles they cannot do.

Mahoney got her MFA in acting from UConn in 2001, and is mainly known for her skills in Suzuki Method in Actor Training.

She has starred in many films including “Bad Moms” and “Big Momma’s House 2” as well as a number of television shows. She’s also been in theater productions spanning the country such as the Long Warf Theater, Berkshire Theater Festival and Connecticut Repertory Theater.

Students were very excited to attend to this event geared to Drama students.  “You’re famous to us,” shouted one fan from the audience.

“I’m not even a drama student,” Tom Tiet, a fine arts student said.

“My life goal is to never be done,” Mahoney said.  She continues to act, while simultaneously teaching, writing her own television series and raising her three children.

She offered many tips for the soon-to-be new actors. A very powerful tip that she gave was to be grateful for what you have. She talked about how many things have changed in the acting world.  

“Almost all of your auditions are on tape,” Mahoney said. She encourages young actors to try as hard as they can to prove themselves on tape since they can no longer do it in person.

“The camera sees what you know, not what you project,” Mahoney  said when asked about the difference between theater acting and film and television acting.

Mahoney also gave some advice on agents and the importance of trust between the agent and actor. The agent is responsible for getting their client to casting calls, “and then your responsibility to do every audition well,” she said.

Mahoney discussed how she got into writing because she wasn’t seeing roles for women and people in color that she wished she saw.

“Body imaging is huge for me. There’s a hundred ways to be beautiful and for some reason, it’s not represented that way in television and film,” Mahoney said. “I want to be the one who writes those roles for women.”

Kayla Pallette is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at kayla.pallette@uconn.edu.