Next Stars Aimed For Golden Globe And Oscar Success

Some faces you recognize instantly and some faces you know but can’t quite remember from where.  Ebony highlighted (march 2012 issue) 10 new rising stars this month that are taking an independent route, starring in big-budget Oscar-worthy films, and a few on your flat screen when watching your favorite drama or comedic episodes.

Meet the new breed of actors and actresses who deserves a platform to shine.

KATARINA GRAHAM, 22

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WHERE: The Vampire Diaries and The Roommate

LAST NONACTING GIG: “I’m a classically trained dancer, so I put an ad on Craigslist to be a dance instructor. I got hired by the 40-year-old guy who wanted to learn how to do the routine from the music video Ice Ice Baby. He was Vanilla Ice for Halloween, and he gave me $20.00.”

ON HER BEDSIDE TABLE: “My reading glasses; I’m blind as a bat.” as quoted in ebony

BRANDON T. JACKSON, 27

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WHERE: Tropic Thunder and Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Sea of Monsters, due in 2013

LAST NONACTING GIG: “I had a car wash job in Detroit. My dad was trying to make me pay for my college, and I made a bet with him. I said, “If you pay for my trip to L.A. for spring break, and I get an agent and get signed, I don’t have to go to college.” And that’s what happened. I did three minutes at the Laugh Factory and got discovered. I worked at that car wash for only a month. I was like, “Forget this.”

WHAT DID YOU BUY WITH THAT LAST BIG CHECK? “A Range Rover. I was like, ‘You know what? I’ve been in this business since I was 17. I’m ’bout to buy something.”

SIRLOIN OR SOY? “Sirloin. I’m a skinny dude, only 145 pounds. I gotta eat meat.” as quoted in ebony

ANNIE ILONZEH, 28

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WHERE: Charlie’s Angels (TV series). HBO’s Entourage and Percy Jackson & the Olympians: Lighting Thief

ON HER BEDSIDE: Small statues of elephants. “I’m obsessed with elephants. It’s said that they’re good luck; they’re really smart and really loving. I actually have a painting that an elephant did. It painted a flower with its trunk. They’re fascinating creatures.”

WHICH DAIRY PRODUCT WOULD YOU BE, AND WHY? Ice cream. It’s cold at first, then melts in your mouth. It’s kinda like me: Sometimes I come off as really cold, but then I get soft as people get to know me. I get soft and warm up, and I melt.” as quoted in ebony

KEKE PALMER, 18

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WHERE: Joyful Noise, You’ll see her next in Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer, and you’ll hear her in the animated Ice Age Continental Drift.

BEST AUDITION MOMENT: “For whatever reason, I’ve just never been the kid who got commercials,[but] when I first went out to California, I auditioned for a Kmart commercial. They wanted me to sing the that little Kmart song, and I did my little run at the end. The casting director loved it so much, he went out the room and was like, “You hear that girl?! Amazing!” He said, “You’re gonna get the part, honey. You’re gonna get this!” I just couldn’t believe it. And I got it.” as quoted in ebony

ROMEO MILLER, 22

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WHERE: Jumping the Broom and BET’s Reed Between the Lines

GUILTY PLEASURE MOVIE: “Don’t laugh at me—I like The Notebook and 27 Dresses. I love romantic comedies. I catch girls off guard with that one. You have to be able to enjoy everything.”  as quoted in Ebony

NICOLE BEHARIE, 27

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WHERE: CBS’s The Good Wife and Shame

MOST STARSTRUCK MOMENT: When she worked with Alfre Woodard in the critically acclaimed American Violet. “I was in a van [being driven] to set, and I was sitting behind her. I texted my sister “I cannot believe this. Alfre Woodard is sitting in front of me; we’re about to do a scene together!” I was totally freaking out, on the verge of shaking. She probably felt, “This little girl is sweating me a little bit too hard.”

ARE YOU MORE LIKELY TO HAVE BREAKFAST AT 2 A.M. OR AT NOON? “Neither; I wake up at the crack of dawn and get a lot done before most people are awake. I got up this morning, took a job, wrote, answered e-mail, made some breakfast. Mind you, this was all at 6 in the morning, so by the time everyone was up, I was done. Plus i just like the sun. But at night when it’s time to go out, I’m the party pooper. I’m the person who’s like, “Maybe I’ll go. I’m so tired.” as quoted in ebony

ALDIS HODGE, 25

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WHERE: TNT’s Leverage and later this year, in The East

MOST STARSTRUCK MOMENT: “During [NBA] All-Star weekend, I was at a party, walking around looking for some folks. A guy tapped me and said, “Hey, man, I appreciate your work. You make us look good on TV.” Then he took off his glasses. It was Chris Tucker. The first thing that popped out of my mouth was “Oh man! People tell me I look like you all the time!” God. That was the dumbest I’d ever been in any situation.” as quoted in ebony

DENNZEL WHITAKER, 21

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WHERE: The Great Debaters and Abduction

HEY BIG SPENDER: “The thing is, I save. I’m a very frugal person. But I’m splurging right now. I just got a couple of checks in the mail; I’ve been buying nonstop. My parents got me a Gucci bag, I bought the matching duffle and a couple of watches.”

SIRLOIN OR SOY? “I love my red meat. I’m a carnivore. I tried doing the vegetarian thing for maybe three days. Didn’t work out.” as quoted in ebony

AMANDLA STENBERG, 13

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WHERE: Colombiana,and The Hunger Games

QUOTABLE: I’m a big fan of musicals. I really do think that if we suddenly broke out into song on a regular basis, we’d all be a lot happier!” as quoted in ebony

LAMORNE MORRIS, 28

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WHERE: The Golden Globe-nominated hit series The New Girl on FOX

LAST NONACTING GIG: Waiting tables at Ed Debevic’s, a theme restaurant in Chicago. “I was rude as hell. People would order food, and I would come out eating it. All the waiters were rude, loud, obnoxious, and we’d treat people like restaurants used to do back in the ’50’s.  My character was a disgruntled postal worker. People loved it.”

GUILTY PLEASURE MOVIE:Pootie Tang. It’s absolutely ridiculous and stupid, but I laugh a lot. I tell people it’s one of my favorite movies, and they think I’m joking. There’s also Don’t Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood.  Those two movies are absolutely ridiculous and just don’t make any sense at all.”  as quoted in ebony

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