Ballet can be grueling, for sure, but it gives you a certain discipline.
I was so invested in ballet, and it was my entire life. And then it was realizing that I didn't want it to be my entire life forever. And then it was this very specific life, and I wanted to learn about other things. So I modeled to fill the time because dancing was very much a job, even when I was 14 years old.
I was one of those dancers who they say wants to feel the floor through their pointed shoes. I would end up not wearing toe pads and that stuff. I would just wrap minimal amounts of paper towels around my toes.
My mother has been an advocate for me as far as modeling goes.
I actually quit ballet when I was offered a job, an apprenticeship at North Carolina Dance Theater Company, run by John Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride, who are my idols. Everything sort of went perfectly. I was 16, and I was about to drop out of high school and become a professional ballet dancer.
Growing up in North Carolina, my mom was always just sort of my mom to me. I never really recognized her as a famous actress. I'm always thrilled when she's cleaning out her closet. Last time, I got a pair of boots that she bought in Paris 20 years ago. I have completely worn them out.
I went to the Professional Children's School in New York, and I started modeling because I could do that until I actually figured out what I wanted to do, and it gave me the opportunity to travel.
With 'The Leftovers,' I was actually super, super lucky. It was my first major audition. When I came out, the casting director was kissing me on the face, and I was like, 'Oh, that's probably a good sign.'
Ballet, there's a right way to do things, and it's black and white, and it's all striving for perfection. Acting is not that way. It's very gray, and the messier you can be, the better. The mistakes that you make are the gold and the beautiful stuff.
I left home at 15 to go to the North Carolina School of the Arts.