Alisha-Jo Penney with director Himmat Sarkaria after wrapping the film short

Mission girl enjoys the role of an aspiring actor

Alisha-Jo, who hails from Scotland, now makes her home in Mission and takes acting lessons in Vancouver

Mission’s Alisha-Jo Penney is like any other eight-year-old child. She likes singing and dancing, drawing pictures, gymnastics, swimming, and skiing.

But what sets AJ apart is her role as an emerging in-demand child actor in movies.  She recently acted in the film Like Smoke (2011), a short movie entered into the International Cannes Film Festival for 2012.

AJ plays the role of Lilly, a young child and daughter of an infamous gangster who is murdered shortly before she returns home from school expecting to have her birthday party. Although only a child, the film explores mature themes.

How, then, does such a young person get into character for that kind of role?

“I think about things in my life that are like that,” and then try to copy that, she said.

Although AJ is somewhat soft-spoken and shy, she’s confident in front of a camera.

Her father Simon says she decided to wanted to be an actor after watching the children’s film Santa Paws during Christmas 2010. She then enlisted the help of her parents to try to get into some roles in films, television and stage.

AJ was born Aug. 18, 2003 in Stirling, Scotland, not far from Edinburgh where Simon worked. She and her younger brother Joshua later moved to her father’s home of Guernsey (an island in the English channel), before the family immigrated to Mission in 2007, where her mother, Linette, now works as a family doctor.

Although she still remembers Scotland, AJ says, “I feel like more Canadian now.”

AJ says working in movies is fun, but what she enjoys most of all is when the food arrives on the set.

When asked if her brother, who is six, is also an actor, AJ said he has done work as an extra, referred to as “background” in movie parlance.

AJ has already appeared in various background roles in some television shows in the U.S. and Canada. And viewers in Guernsey will soon get a chance to see her in upcoming episodes of the U.S. TV show Once Upon a Time, currently being screened in the UK.

AJ appears briefly as a child from Storybrooke in episode five, and as a market child, along with Joshua, in episode 17. Additional background roles include the TV show Fringe and various other movie productions including Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Although she’s got nothing immediately planned, AJ just auditioned for a new film role last week, which means she could soon be on the silver screen again.

Just Posted

Man wants guilty plea revoked in 2012 collision in Abbotsford that killed Chilliwack woman

Michael Larocque was charged in relation to crash that killed Eileen Kleinfelder

Trial slated to start Monday for accused killer of Abbotsford cop

Oscar Arfmann faces first-degree murder for death of Const. John Davidson

Agassiz study to look at drone use for pesticide application

The study will be the first in Canada to use drones to apply pesticides to farm fields

Registration lower than expected for Stave Falls Elementary

To date, there are 44 students registered to attend the Mission district school next year

Search for birth parents ends in Mission

Robert McKeever always knew he was adopted; last week he met up with his siblings for the first time

B.C.’s fight to regulate bitumen through pipelines to go to Canada’s top court

BC Appeal Court judges found B.C. cannot restrict bitumen flow along Trans Mountain pipeline

Vancouver woman sexually assaulted after man follows her home; suspect at large

Police are looking for an Asian man in his 40s after the incident on Vancouver’s east side.

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parent’s cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

UPDATE: Vancouver man dies after crash between motorcycle, transport truck

Police believe speed was a factor in Thursday collision

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

Body found after fire at Surrey homeless camp, police say

Surrey RCMP say the body was found inside a shed after firefighters extinguished the fire

RCMP probe hit-and-run of Richmond senior

The man, who is in his mid-70s, was walking with his wife when he was allegedly struck

More than half of Canadians support ban on handguns, assault rifles: study

Divide between rural and urban respondents in latest Angus Reid Institute public opinion study

Coquitlam crash kills one person, injured two others

Investigators with the RCMP criminal crash unit are working to determing the cause of the incident

Most Read