When Averill Park High School student Vika Grovenger isn’t studying for exams and doing homework, she’s busy learning lines or figuring out where to stand during filming for a television show.
An aspiring actress and model, the APHS sophomore has appeared as an extra in television shows on major networks such as NBC and HBO Max, and has worked on campaigns for the Justice Center and I Love NY.
Prior to the start of the school year, Vika took some time to answer a few questions about her budding career outside of school. Be sure to keep an eye out for her on the big screen!
Q: What got you interested in acting to begin with?
A: I was competing in National American Miss pageants for a few years. During these pageants, I would also compete in an optional actress competition where I had to act out a commercial. I had a lot of fun doing it, and it really sparked my interest.
What does the process of getting started look like for an aspiring actress? Have you taken classes?
Initially, I applied for background acting jobs when production came to town. Typically, you hear about upcoming local shoots in the news and social media. As I got more involved in it, I signed up with a few casting agencies and talent agents not only in New York but other states, too, so I am notified directly when a new opportunity comes up.
Other than gaining experience from the state and national pageant competitions, I have completed a modeling training program with one of my current agents. During an annual Barbizon competition this summer, I was 1 of 10 recipients of The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts 4-week summer camp scholarship in Manhattan, which I will likely enroll in summer 2025.
What shows / campaigns have you appeared in so far?
My recent work has included being part of a training video for NYS Justice Center; I Love NY campaign for Allegany County; and background acting in NBC’s Law & Order, HBO Max’s Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin, and Amazon’s Modern Love. I have also appeared in the Teen Scene for the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum (by My Baltimore Productions). I’m waiting to hear back about a potential role in a Baltimore movie.
Can you tell us what it’s like to be on the set of a television show as an extra?
As an extra, being on set is very hectic. At first, you’re just sitting there, waiting to be called up to check your wardrobe, make-up, and props. But next thing you know, you’re on set with everyone trying to figure out their places. You always have to be looking out and listening to try to get a spot near the cameras and main actors/actresses, so you are seen not only by the cameras, but also by the directors and crew.
How about doing campaigns, what was that experience like with the Justice Center and I Love Allegany County?
Both the Justice Center training video and I Love NY Allegany County campaign were incredibly fun.
For the Justice Center training video, I was with a few others who made it awesome. We were patients in a facility being watched by workers at the Justice Center. My part was escaping when no one was watching, so everyone would go crazy looking for me. The whole point of the video was to teach workers at the Justice Center what NOT to do. What made it different from everything else was that it was shot by a 360 camera, and trainees use VR sets to watch it.
For the I Love NY Allegany County campaign, I was with a family and a few other teenagers. It was so fun because we actually took a hike into the woods and figured out how to set up a tent and start a fire for the scene together. Everyone was so nice, and I made some great friends. I still keep in touch with one of those friends.
Have you been involved in school drama club productions?
I haven’t been involved in the school’s drama club, but I was part of the Capital Region’s Young Actors Guild ‘Matilda Jr.’ musical in spring 2023, acting as a Big Kid, Acrobat, and Mum.