'Network debut': West York High teen appears in NBC's 'The Blacklist'
After 50 auditions vying for spots in commercials, television shows and movies, West York Area High School student Zoey Deel got the biggest break of her life.
The 17-year-old learned in May she would be appearing in NBC's "The Blacklist" — her network debut — just two days after submitting only one audition tape.
"When I had finally booked something like this, it was like the foot in the door and a break through the brick wall," she said.
Deel began dancing at the age of 3, later acting on the stage when she turned 8. For the longest time, being on Broadway was her goal, she said.
After signing with a talent agency — Take 3 Talent — in 2020, however, she added television and film to her entertainment dreams.
Getting work was slow at first, she said, because of the COVID-19 pandemic stalling or stopping many on-set productions. She also has starred in one commercial, which was filmed from her house, she said.
Then, on May 9, she submitted her audition tape for "The Blacklist" and heard back from her manager two days later that she had won the role. Her episode aired on June 16.
"It was absolutely incredible, I felt so in my element," Deel said. "I was actually very comfortable and I thought, 'This was so much fun, and I wanted to do this for the rest of my life.'"
She filmed in New York City for one day, acting in the role of a younger version of Katarina Rostova, a Russian spy in the show played by Lotte Verbeek. Deel acted in a flashback sequence for the character.
Though she only filmed one scene, Deel said her Hollywood debut is something she will always remember.
"Even though it was 30 seconds, it was pretty cool to see myself on TV for the first time," she said. "It was my network debut."
Deel said she hopes this is only the beginning.
Entering her senior year at West York Area High School in the fall, Deel has her sights set on acting school.
To start, Deel said, she will begin the audition process for acting school this fall. Typically, prospective students will send audition tapes and go through several rounds of callbacks and live auditions.
With a passion for singing, dancing and acting her entire life, Deel said, her television opportunity only encouraged her to continue chasing her dream.
"I'm hoping this is only the beginning," she said. "I think that this coming year is going to be a whirlwind."
— Reach Tina Locurto at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.