Ever since she was young, Cheshire teenager Neve Stanziale has felt a special energy in acting and singing on stage. While she admits to being nervous before every audition or activity, Stanziale quickly loses herself in the performance and focuses on her passion.
“Being on camera or stage has the same affect on me. It makes me feel alive,” explained Stanziale. “People clap for you and I like that I can make them feel happy doing something that I love.”
After participating in multiple musicals and plays, the incoming Cheshire High School sophomore has added a new career to her resume this year. Instead of speaking to audiences, Stanziale is now letting her photos do the talking as a professional model.
“You don’t need to speak to model and that is my favorite part. You can express yourself with your face, makeup, and hair,” said Stanziale. “A lot of modeling comes from acting. You need to have so much emotion in your pictures.”
Back on April 26, Stanziale, age 15, signed her first contract with MMG-New York, a model, talent, celebrity, and influencer management company.
“For a while, I’ve been trying to figure out if I wanted to do musicals or go into commercials and modeling,” reflected Stanziale. “When I heard about modeling growing up, I thought about (walking on) runways. I didn’t know about print modeling such as appearing in ads, commercials, and photo shoots.”
She feels that her performing background has made for a smooth transition to in front of the camera. After first taking voice lessons at age 7, she sang with the United Girls’ Choir for five years in Connecticut.
“Over the years, my musical tastes have changed. I’ve done a lot of jazz and lyrical,” reflected Stanziale, who has performed in two musicals a year since she was 8. “When I was younger, I liked to sing what I was acting in the theatre.”
In one of her memorable performances at age 10, she acted as the only youngster in a show called “Enron” at Hole in the Wall Theatre in New Britain. The play was based on the controversy surrounding the fall of the Enron Corporation.
Attending CHS as a freshman, Stanziale acted in a performance of “Antigione in Munich” last fall. In the spring of this year, she was cast in “Beauty and the Beast,” but the musical was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
English Teacher Dawn DeMeo, who worked on both shows, liked how Stanziale used her experience to take on a leadership role during rehearsals.
“She is super-positive,” said DeMeo. “She is really good at taking feedback.”
Along with her passion for acting, Stanziale’s interest in modeling and commercials has grown over the years. Back in 2018, she went to Boston to participate in a performance bootcamp.
“They tried to put you on the spot to see what you could do,” recalled Stanziale. “They asked, for example, ‘Can you sing?’ and then had you sing to show that you have the talent.”
In one of the activities, people were given 15 minutes to learn a script and then film a commercial spot.
“We watched it back and got tips on if we needed to speak louder, for instance,” explained Stanziale. “It was a growing experience.”
She also got to work with two instructors who helped with poise and acting.
“A photographer told us what to wear and took the shots,” added Stanziale.
At the beginning, Stanziale was nervous because half of the participants had already done commercials before and were just looking to hone their craft.
“After my first practice, I knew that I loved it and wanted to keep going,” recalled Stanziale.
From that experience, she transitioned to her big break this year. While scrolling through the internet in March, she saw an ad from MMG and decided to contact them. In her submission, she sent head shots that she had taken last September by Staci Miller Photography in Cheshire.
“I was ecstatic when I heard back that they (MMG) wanted to work with me,” recalled Stanziale. “I thought that modeling was something that I couldn’t do.”
First, the agency asked her to take digital shots for them.
“I wore a black top and jeans with no makeup,” reflected Stanziale. “My mom and I took the photos in our front yard.”
In signing with MMG in April, she met her agent Talia Sperandio over a Zoom call. After making a connection quickly, Stanziale trusts her new friend to book events, photographers, and stylists.
“She is amazing and super-nice,” stated Stanziale. “She explains everything as many times as you want.”
On June 23, Stanziale went to New York City for her first project.
“The photo shoot was four hours and, when you love something, the time flies by,” explained Stanziale. “I enjoyed building my portfolio.”
Stanziale feels that it will be important for her to be able to adjust to a rapidly changing schedule.
“The models are asked to be on a 24-hour call,” said Stanziale. “You need to be ready to take a job unless something crazy comes up. If you are booking out, such as taking vacation for a week, you need to let them (management) know that you are going away.”
Stanziale is happy that her agency still wants her to attend high school in Cheshire.
“MMG wants to make sure that you are a well-rounded kid,” explained Stanziale. “They will book things around normal school hours.”
Recently, Stanziale was also pleased to see her personal page added to the MMG website. When she added the news to her story on Instagram, other MMG models congratulated her on joining the team.
“It is great,” said Stanziale. “It (my page) has my measurements and shots up there. It (my new career) feels official now.”
With the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing, Stanziale hasn’t been asked to travel beyond NYC yet, but she expects her schedule to pick up this month. During a Zoom call with Sperandio, she learned how bookings will be set up and how to ask for time off.
“When everything opens back up, I want to do commercials and ad work,” said Stanziale. “I’d love to be in a movie or magazine one day.”
In going back to school this fall, she isn’t sure if she will continue to perform in the theatre.
“We are going to play it by ear,” stated Stanziale. “If I find myself super-busy with bookings, I’ll just do modeling. If jobs get to be every three months, I may do musicals, too.”
“I feel great for her,” stated DeMeo, of Stanziale taking on a new career. “She is super-poised and mature. I think she can handle managing her responsibilities.”