Even on a rare day off for actress Allyssa Brooke, discussing her hard-fought path to success in the world of television and her passion for what she does is not something she considers work.

Brooke says it took an unbelievable amount of her “blood, sweat and tears” to get to where her career is today, and so it’s no mistake she landed herself a role in season three of “Stranger Things” on Netflix, one of the most popular shows on television.

Appearing in the new season’s second and fourth episodes, Brooke plays Candice, secretary to Mayor Larry Kline, played by Cary Elwes (best-known for “The Princess Bride,” “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” and “Kiss the Girls”). In the fourth episode, Brooke’s character shares an intense and pivotal scene with actors Winona Ryder, David Harbour and Elwes.

“One of my friends on Facebook put it really well. She said, ‘If I were you, I’ve would’ve done the whole ‘Wayne’s World,’ get on your knees, ‘I’M NOT WORTHY!’ moment.’ I thought it was very fitting for the feeling. Working with (Ryder) and meeting Cary Elwes was most certainly, quite literally, a childhood dream come true, because you grow up watching these iconic actors, and then to be standing opposite them is the stuff that dreams are made of, for sure.”

Candice, played by Allyssa Brooke, left, stands opposite Mayor Kline, played by Cary Elwes, and lawman Jim Hopper, played by David Harbour, in a still from the Netflix series “Stranger Things.” Courtesy of Netflix & 21 Laps Entertainment

Brooke continued, “The thing is, when you’re working opposite really great people, it’s easy to do your job well. They come in with that level of intensity. David Harbour is fantastic and he has a very commanding presence, so when he comes barging in through the door you’re just fully present in that moment with him and it’s really easy to just kind of take that in and let it affect you. My process in general is to feed off the people that I’m working with and in this case I was blessed to be opposite some really incredible people.”

Was Brooke already a fan of “Stranger Things” before being cast as Candice?

“Yes, actually it was a show that both my husband and I really enjoyed and we watched it with my oldest son. It turned into a family show for the three of us. We knew that it shot here in Atlanta, and so it was kind of on my bucket list. I said, ‘Man, if I can get on that show, one, I would earn cool points with my teenager, and two, it was just a personal goal to be on a show that I also enjoy watching.”

(She earned the cool points, of course.)

At left is Brooke, age 11, with Kristen (Bean) Searles in the Oxford Hills’ community show “The Sound of Music.”

Brooke set her sights on an acting career at a very young age. Her love for acting was ignited after being given her first role in a play by her second-grade teacher, Karen Ellis, at the Rowe School in Norway. That was followed by staging performances at home and acting in community theater projects through high school and beyond, all in the Oxford Hills region.

“Probably, if you were to ask my parents, they would say I’m dramatic by nature. It’s what I always wanted to do. I remember my best friend and I in elementary school, when we’d have snow days from school, we’d spend a whole day putting on dance shows and coming up with routines that I would then try charging my mother for when she came through the door,” she said, letting out a bit of her infectious laughter. “So it’s been in my blood, I guess.”

Senior year Oxford Hills High School Drama Club with Katie (Lotitio) Arrington, left, Brooke, center, and Elise (Tisdale) Jensen in the “Importance of Being Ernest.”

She gives credit to the Oxford Hills’ community theater for helping inspire her. “They’d have a biannual show. I did ‘The Sound of Music’ when I was 11. Then I think I did a show every two years up through graduating high school. Post-graduation, I worked with OHMPAA, so I definitely credit that, having the space to do that. For a creative person like me it was what I lived for, to be able to go and express that part of myself.”

Not long after graduating high school, she took it upon herself to hit the road — on her own — and chase her dreams of becoming an actress.

“I started in the business by moving to New York, really not knowing anything about the film and television world other than the fact that I wanted to be in it,” she said, and swore that she wasn’t going to settle for any old job while waiting for something to happen. “If I was going to move to New York I was going to make a living in that industry somehow. And so I started doing background work, and that moved into photo and double work for some celebrities, because I just happened to kind of fit either their build or look.

Brooke’s first feature film was “The Women” (2009), opposite Eva Mendes. On-set photo courtesy of Picturehouse

“All the while I was pounding the pavement, submitting my head shots to casting directors and agents, and trying to meet people and network, because I really had no idea how to get my foot in the door. Acting is definitely a different beast. It’s unlike any profession . . . there’s no set path, there’s no step-by-step process.”

Actress Allyssa Brooke, South Paris native, plays the role of Candice in the newly-released third season of the hottest show on television, “Stranger Things.” Courtesy photo

After some time in the city and auditioning consistently, she booked her very first role in the 2009 film “The Women,” playing opposite Eva Mendes. “I had literally two lines in the movie, but I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m making it, I’m doing it!’ It turned this feeling that was a faraway dream into something that was tangible.”

That led to appearances on the television shows “Castle” and “Campaign ILL” and in the 2018 film “Rampage,” before getting the call for “Stranger Things.”

Since then, she has been cast as the character Kristi in “Bigger,” appearing in six of the season’s 10 episodes. “Bigger” will be an original show on the streaming platform being launched by BET. Viewers can expect to see “Bigger” hit their TV screens sometime in September. No official release date has been announced.

Despite all the success she finds, Brooke remains humble and true to her Maine roots where she got her spark. “I think the arts are so important, and sadly they’re often the first things that get cut in schools. So, I’m so grateful to have grown up in a community that embraced the arts as much as Oxford Hills did because I know not everybody is as fortunate.”

Follow Allyssa Brooke on Instagram @coupleofactors and get to see sneak peak photos from her projects.

In this “Stranger Things” still, Allyssa Brooke, right, who plays Mayor Kline’s secretary Candice, takes a seat as Winona Ryder, who plays Joyce Byers, keeps her company. Courtesy of Netflix & 21 Laps Entertainment


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