Summer Gillespie in Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies!

Summer Gillespie

With her first on screen acting role under her belt, Young Adult Summer Gillespie makes her debut as Polly in Paramount +’s exciting new series! We had a chance to catch up with Summer after the incredible premiere. From her largest takeaways on set, to what helped her prepare for the big shoot, we’ve got the inside scoop here!

What has filming been like for you?

Filming ‘Rise of the Pink Ladies’ has been such an incredible experience. Showing up to my first day on set, I was definitely a little nervous, but those nerves instantly dissolved when I realized what kind of work environment I was stepping into. The amazing Annabel Oakes (creator) and Alethea Jones (director/producer) went above and beyond to make sure every single person on set felt encouraged to use their voice, play, and make bold choices. Not to mention how incredibly welcoming my fellow cast mates were, and how fulfilled I felt to be able to show up to a job in which I was constantly surrounded by other creatives. I am so grateful to have had this be my first on-screen acting role.

While working on this role with Beatrice, what’s one thing that you’ve incorporated in your craft that’s helped you the most with your on set preparation?

While working on this role with Beatrice, something we really focused on was finding the character. Finding Polly consisted of a lot of journaling and improvisation exercises. I even had the opportunity to have a few coaching sessions with Beatrice and Abbygale Chung (Lucille) who I play opposite on the show. In these coaching sessions under the direction of Beatrice, Abby and I played around with some scenes and improvisation, and that helped a lot, because when it came time to film, Abby and I were already comfortable with our character’s in relation to one another, and we really just got to have fun and play, because not only did we trust ourselves to make strong choices, but we also trusted each other.

What do you enjoy the most about Acting, and training for acting on screen?

Something I’ve enjoyed for as long as I can remember has been storytelling. From a very young age I loved reading, writing, and playing pretend, and that wonderment never left me. Now I find that every time I pick up a script, I can’t help but become invested in the character and the story they are telling. I think when you boil it down, that really is what I love about acting. That regardless of if it’s for a job, acting class, or audition, the character you are portraying is invested in their own story, because they’re living it. So you too, cannot help but become completely enthralled in their world, and what it would be like to live in it.

How has being a trained dancer helped you as an actor?

As a dancer, one thing that has been incredibly helpful and applicable when it comes to acting is the ability to take and apply notes quickly. Especially when it comes to being on-set and time constraints, script changes, etc, become a factor. Having the ability to make efficient adjustments has proven very useful.

What was your biggest takeaway from being an actor on set?

My biggest takeaway from being an actor on set, especially for the extended period of time that I was, was definitely getting a better understanding of how the film industry works. Being in that environment and working so closely with the creator, producer, directors, crew members, and even other actors, I learned so much about all of the moving parts it takes to make a TV series, which definitely gave me a better insight as to what I can do as an actor to help things run more smoothly.

Tell us one fun fact about you!

One fun fact about me is that I am, and have always been a thrill seeker, and it is a dream of mine to work on a project in which I have the opportunity to perform my own stunts.