Each month we connect with an influential professional in the industry. This month our Spotlight is on actress Bebe Wood.
At fourteen, Bebe Wood has had more success than many actors will see in their entire careers. Wood, a Kansas City native, has starred in some of the biggest shows on television including 30 Rock, Veep, NBC’s The New Normal, the Netflix mini-series Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, About a Boy and films like A Merry Friggin’ Christmas. Today, Bebe stars in the new ABC comedy “The Real O’Neals” as Shannon, the clever daughter of Irish Catholic parents adjusting to their son’s coming out and their impending divorce. We got the chance to speak with Bebe about her KC roots and what it’s like being a successful young actress.
KCFMO: What would you say is the most common misconception about being a young actor?
Bebe: Acting is hard work. I love my job and I’m blessed to have it, but it’s not easy. People think being an actor on television would be a walk in the park and tons of fun. It is fun, but it also means a crazy schedule and a lot of responsibility.
I think staying in KC helps keep me grounded. I don’t get caught up in Hollywood competition.
KCFMO: How has your Kansas City upbringing affected you and your career?
Bebe: I love my home town. Years ago I wouldn’t have been able to do what I do without moving. Technology has now made it easy for me to stay home and record auditions that can be sent anywhere. I think staying in KC helps keep me grounded. I don’t get caught up in Hollywood competition.
KCFMO: What is your schooling arrangement while you’re working?
Bebe: While on set I am taught by my wonderful teacher Sandy McNeil. Frankly, my parents wouldn’t allow me to act if it made my schoolwork suffer. Like all kids my age, school is my most important job. While working I school for a minimum of three hours and day. In that time Sandy and I can finish all the work a student in a regular high school covers. I am allowed to act because I have an amazing set teacher.
KCFMO: What drew you to the role of Shannon on The Real O’Neals?
Bebe: Shannon is different than most of the parts I play. She’s smart, but she also has a darker side. She’s sly as a fox. When she grows up I think she would be either a super secret spy or a politician.
KCFMO: Both ‘The New Normal’ and ‘The Real O’Neals’ skirt the idea of a “traditional nuclear family” and instead show viewers a different reality that reflects how our society has changed and looks today. Does the project’s message have a significant impact on your decision to sign on?
Bebe: I tend to like comedies that are funny, but also have something to say. This show ticked those boxes. I also chose this project because I fell in love with the producers and writers and the cast was a dream.
KCFMO: What is your relationship with Disney?
Bebe: I adore working for Disney. Everyone I’ve met has been fantastic and they really produce the BEST family comedies. I also love that Disney has a KC connection. They’ve given me some amazing opportunities. I’m also a Star Wars and Marvel super-fan, so working for Disney is just plain cool.
KCFMO: Do you feel your introduction at such a young age has changed your outlook or perspective on the industry? If so, how?
Bebe: I think learning about this industry at a young age has been helpful. Not everyone is cut out for it. If you take rejection personally, this is not the job for you. You have to keep focused and muddle through despite the obstacles.
KCFMO: What’s something you have yet to check off your career bucket-list?
Bebe: Working on anything Star Wars or Marvel. I would be happy to sweep the floors, pick up the coffee, whatever they need.
KCFMO: What’s next for you?
Bebe: Hopefully a season 2, but I also want to experience other jobs. I would love to produce and/or direct projects. I would also love to work on projects here in KC. Music is also a big part of my life. I would love to work more on that as well. I just want to keep creating.
Bebe, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us and congratulations on all your sucess! You can see Bebe Wood as Shannon on The Real O’Neals Tuesday nights at 8:30/7:30 central on ABC.
Photos courtesy of ABC.