Gianna Simone is celebrating a major milestone in her burgeoning career as a model and an actress.
The 23-year-old East Boston native has a role as a member of the U.S.S. Enterprise Bridge Crew in the current hit movie, “Star Trek Into Darkness” that debuted as the No. 1 movie in America and is being shown in close to 4,000 theaters nationwide.
Simone appears in several scenes throughout the movie alongside the featured actors and has a speaking role. During the filming, she also met Leonard Nimoy, the former Dr. Spock from the iconic Star Trek science fiction television show.
Simone began working on the film in February, 2012, but interestingly she didn’t know her initial audition was for the Star Trek movie.
“I was asked to come to an office in Burbank [California] and to be dressed in all black body-conscious clothing, which means they want to see your body,” said Simone. “It was an untitled, feature film when I submitted for it, but this happens all the time in the film industry. The movie project was top secret and the producers didn’t want to let anything out which is also common.”
After participating in a private photo session, she was invited to Sony Studios a couple of days later for a wardrobe fitting.
“I went to Sony and once I saw the wardrobe that they were fitting us in, I was like, ‘Holy cow, this is Star Trek.”’
And just like that, Simone learned she was going to be a part of one of the most famous science fiction entertainment franchises of all time. The Star Trek television show was a cult phenomenon and spawned a generous of “Trekkies” worldwide. The TV show that starred Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner still remains universally popular today.
Simone had a hard time containing her excitement about landing a role in such a well-known movie franchise.
“I called my dad [Anthony Baxter] and I told him, ‘You’ll never believe what this film is.’ He was super excited and I knew nothing about Star Trek which is kind of funny.”
After landing the role, Simone was told that she must reserve two months on her schedule for shooting scenes in the movie.
Because of her busy modeling career, she wasn’t sure that she could put her commitments to designers aside and devote two months to the movie.
“I model and work for designers and there are clothing samples that come in every day and that’s how I make a living – I model and act full time but when the acting jobs aren’t there, I’m dependent on these designers paying me. That’s how I pay my rent and stuff.”
So she reached out to father again for advice and his question to her was, “Gianna, do you want to be a model for the rest of your life or an actress for the rest of your life?”
“I thought about it and my answer was that I want to be an actress for the rest of my life,” she said.
The good news got even better as Simone’s role was upgraded on set from extra to a speaking part after an audition with J.J. Abrams, director of the movie.
Simone filmed her scenes last February and March at Sony Studios in Los Angeles.
“Every day on set was a like a party,” said Simone. “One day we had an ice cream truck on set and we could have whatever ice cream we wanted. Another day we had a celebration for J.J. Abrams because he reached a certain revenue number for his “Mission Impossible” movie. Everyone on set was wonderful. I’m friends with all of the actors from the movie. We call each other, “The Fam for the The Family.”’
Simone lauded director J.J. Abrams for his superb leadership and professionalism.
“Everybody put their heart and soul into making this film,” said Simone. “It all starts with J.J. because he is such a wonderful man. He and the assistant director, Tommy Gormley, would come around every morning and shake our hands and call us by name, which was so wonderful.”
Simone also enjoyed attending the movie’s “wrap party” at a hotel in Hollywood.
She said she is not surprised by the success of the film at the box office.
“I knew it was going to do really well, because it’s class. It’s movie history. It’s Star Trek, It’s awesome and I’m so grateful to be a part of such a classy movie.”
In addition to her movie role, Simone has appeared on such television shows as “Law and Order,” “Chuck,” and “Don’t Trust The B in Apartment 23.” She will be appearing in the role of an escort in the FX Network television series, “Sons of Anarchy.”
Simone said she is humbled by her recent success and grateful her agent, Nathan Habben, of Prestige Talent Agency for his guidance of her career.
“My agent is working on getting me a part in Star Wars which is being directed by J.J. Abrams and produced by Disney. I really want a part in Star Wars. I love strong female roles. I’d love to play a female Hans Solo character. That would just be awesome.”
When asked for a review of her acting in the Star Trek movie, she replied humbly, “I think I did really well.”