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5 QUESTIONS WITH THURMAN FRANCIS FOURTH-GRADER PRESLEY COX

November 6, 2019

 

By KEITH RYAN CARTWRIGHT

Rutherford County Schools

 

She’s been featured in regional and national print campaigns and television commercials and appeared in a music video alongside four-time Grammy-winner Jack White.

 

Presley Cox is also a fourth-grader at Thurman Francis Arts Academy.

 

The nine-year-old was only five when she landed her first audition and was cast in a Captain D’s commercial.

 

“It left a memory behind all my other ones,” Cox said of her first of many jobs that have since included commercial work with Dollar General, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Farm Bureau Insurance.

 

First auditions can draw as many as 100 kids vying for one part, while call backs are typically for the top 10. From those 10, the director and casting director ultimately make their choice.

 

Cox might get three emails a month regarding auditions.

 

She’s not always chosen, and there have been times her parents pass on the opportunity because of conflicts. Other times, she’s auditioned and even been called back before being passed over for another actress.

 

Her family looks at it as a great life lesson to teach both of their daughters they are not always going to get everything they want.

 

One such lesson came when Presley auditioned for the Lifetime movie “Christmas at Graceland” starring Kelly Pickler. Presley was among the finalists for a role that ultimately went to her friend.

 

She still has plenty of opportunities to play basketball with her friends and, like a lot of girls her age, she dances competitively. She and her older sister both attend Thurman Francis and their father is the School Resource Officer.

 

In addition to math and reading, Presley enjoys art, dance, music and computers.

 

“There’s so much variety here,” concluded Presley, who recently talked about her successful career that has landed her seven commercials in the past four years.

 

RCS: Do you recall your first audition and what was it like?

 

PC: My first audition was a Captain D’s commercial and I was young, so I was kind of confused and I asked my parents to help me with what it was. It was pretty fun, to be honest. I have been with the person who auditioned me for a long time. The audition is what you’re doing for the job or the commercial, so they give you an example and you do it. But not on videotape.

 

RCS: Are you involved with any classes here at school that might help you become a better actress?

 

PC: One class that really helps me with my acting is probably music because it shapes your mouth, it helps you with singing and if there’s a singing commercial it helps you with your singing, so that’s one of them that really helps.

 

RCS: Do you think you learn more from the class or do your classmates learn more from you sharing your experiences?

 

PC: I think the class learns more from me because I do have experience. And I sing in the car. I like to sing a lot, so I think that’s why.

 

RCS: What are your friends and classmates think when you miss school to work on a commercial?

 

PC: I’m not for sure what they think, but they’re always asking me, “What did you do when you were gone?” And I always say, “I was at a job” or something. They’ll be like, “Well, how much money did you get?” I’m like, “I don’t really know.” So that’s what they usually ask me.

 

RCS: What is a day like on the set?

 

PC: You get there and they introduce you to everybody there. When you first go in, you’re always scared because you don’t know who they are and you’re not really close yet to them. But after the first two hours you start having fun and it’s not like you have to be serious. You can actually have some fun. … They had a trailer for me, and they had this really big food bar outside. It was really yummy. The photographer was really, he was hyper. He was fun. Goofy. He was probably one of my favorite ones because he was always trying to cheer me up. … My personal assistant was like, ‘OK, do you need water? Do you need this?’ I would say I’m good or I would say yes. Every time that I got out of the water, he would hand me my towel. He would ask if I needed another one. He would be like, ‘I’m going to go get your hairdryer.’ And at the end of both weeks, I got to call out to everybody there – I got to say it on the megaphone – I got to say, “That’s a wrap.”

 

PHOTO PROVIDED