With all those roles to play, it was natural that Ann’s inclination to step into character began to preoccupy her thoughts. From the time she was a small girl, Ann had always wanted to be an actress so she thought to herself, “Why not? No time like the present.” And off she went…not very far, because, unlike when she was a little girl with huge dreams of Hollywood, acting sort of came to her. “Georgia’s film industry is growing fast,” says Ann. “I didn’t have to travel away from home, family or my job in order to realize my dreams; I can do it right here in Atlanta.”
Ann’s “second act” stemmed from a desire to express herself and champion the cause of giving women a voice. “I began taking acting classes and it was suggested I find an agent,” says Ann. “I overcame some fears, found my own voice and sent a video audition from my iPhone to Barbara Garvey at East Coast Talent Agency.” Following Ann’s video audition, Barbara was able to place her newest client in a variety of roles which ranged from teacher, mom, garden party guest, and nurse. “I appreciate Ann’s hard work,” says Barbara. “This business really takes a person who really wants to be an actor with all her heart; Ann has that quality.”
Most recently, Ann was cast as a Realtor for a role in the upcoming movie, The Last Punch, starring Tony Grant (pictured with Ann on the set) and directed by Jesse Vaughan. “The Last Punch was my first speaking role in a feature film.” says Ann. “I learned so much from Tony and Jesse.” The biggest lesson she learned was learning to relax with the equipment, stage crew and distractions Ann had not experienced before. “I took each lesson I learned to heart and would’ve been nervous if it wasn’t for how calm Tony and Jesse were. Tony helped me between scenes and gave advice on being a working actor.”
Family life and being a “local” have always had an impact on the choices in Ann’s life. In high school at South Gwinnett, Ann was a member of the Drama club, Cheerleader, and Drill Team which fed her desire to perform. Her family has always been supportive of her dreams, but her mom, Cece, stopped short of driving her to Hollywood when she was in elementary school. “I would write my mom letters begging her to take me to Hollywood,” laughs Ann. “I think now, she knows I was serious!” Ann works with her dad in Monroe, GA as a Controller.
Her home is filled with several generations of laughter and includes her Grandma Precious. “When I was a baby, she would call me Precious, so I thought that was her name,” says Ann. “It stuck.” Always full of surprises, Grandma Precious loves to watch American Idol and The Voice with her granddaughter and great-grandson, Grant (10). “She knows exactly what to look for,” says Ann. “She is always right about the winners.” Grandma knows Ann is a winner too and loves to share her sense of appreciation for standing out a bit. One of Ann’s favorite things to do, even as a grownup, is to play dress up with her grandmother. “Grandma gets dressed up to go anywhere and always has.”
Ann’s older son JT Anderson has always been there for his mom and his brother. “I could not ask for a better son”, Ann said. “He continues to show me this in the way he treats his wife of 3 years.” While family has been there to support Ann, the company of women who have been through divorce also provides a feeling of belonging to Ann. “I want to make sure that women who feel they can’t talk to someone will find the ability to tell someone if they need help,” says Ann. “I want them to find their voice through doing something that makes them comfortable.” For Ann, acting is her method of expressing herself. Teaching other women to express themselves is part of the package for the multi-faceted diamond-in-the-rough actress.
One further facet of Ann’s life is her ability to walk on the wild side. Or rather, drive on the wild side. She drives off road in her 2008 Jeep Wrangler JK along with her brother Tommy Cope & his wife Angie’s group Georgia Jeepers. She also supports the off-road group Stockers to Lockers and Athen’s Georgia Classic City Off Road.
“These are more than groups of people with Jeeps in common. It’s family,” says Ann.
As a Jeep-loving mommy, daughter, granddaughter, coworker, actress, mentor and continual student of the school of life, the diamond is slowly being shaped into a shining example of what it is to realize your dreams later, but not too late, in life. “I leave a little bit of myself in every role,” says Ann. “And a little bit of each role stays with me.”