Renowned Canadian Actress Bernadette Beck is no “Girl in Progress”
Growing up in Vancouver, Canada, Bernadette Beck was always fascinated by movies and television programs. As a toddler, she thought the characters were behind the television, her brain trying to process how all of it worked. When she was old enough to understand, her curious natures wanted to know how it was all made, and as she aged, this interest only intensified, wondering about script ideas, the casting process, departments, distribution and sales of film and television. At the same time, she always enjoyed being goofy and performing for her family and friends. Despite being rather introverted, she pushed herself to explore these two passions and began pursuing a career in acting. Now, as an internationally sought-after actor and stunt performer, she is living out her childhood dreams.
Beck has impressed worldwide audiences with her work on both the big and small screen. Many would instantly recognize her after her run as Peaches ‘N Cream in the latest season of Riverdale, as well as Psych and Casting Shadows. Her work in acting led her to stunt performing, yet another art form that she not only loves, but excels at.
“Stunts are extremely exhilarating as well as rewarding. I wanted to become a well-rounded performer, and as a martial artist it was easy enough to incorporate my own stunts on set. Being proactive as an actor on set, eventually led me to further and greater stunt performing opportunities on productions that I wouldn’t have had the chance to work on otherwise,” she said.
Looking back, Beck considers her work in the hit film Girl in Progress as a turning point in her career. Starring Eva Mendes, Cierra Ramirez, and Academy Award Winner Patricia Arquette, Girl in Progress follows single mother Grace (Eva Mendes) who juggles multiple jobs, all while raising her teenage daughter Ansiedad (Cierra Ramirez) in the suburbs of Seattle. Ansiedad has always hated the fact that her mom Grace was never mature or responsible. After getting used to taking care of her mom instead of the other way around, Ansiedad decides to become an adult in every way possible. With that in mind she creates an outrageous list of all the things she needs to accomplish in order to become an adult. This coming of age story shows that growing up is never as easy as it seems and that the best thing to do is stay put.
“It’s a story that we can all relate to, to some extent; a story of self-discovery, making new friendships, cutting old ties, trying something new, experiencing pain and love. It's an important reminder of what is truly important in life, and that it’s those closest to us who love us the most. I think we all need to witness that; it’s good for the soul,” said Beck.
Beck’s character Shannon comes into play as the rival of the star character Ansiedad (Cierra Ramirez.) Shannon plays a pivotal role in Ansiedad’s coming-of-age journey to self discovery, when she seemingly welcomes Ansiedad into her popular group only in hopes of separating Ansiedad from her best friend, potential lover, and mother, all in an attempt to humiliate her at the largest party of the year. Unbeknownst to Shannon, she guides Ansiedad into her own self-discovery, where she finally actualizes who she doesn’t want to become, and can therefore, discover who she’s meant to be.
Although the role of the manipulative teenager was not one she could personally relate to as it so greatly differed from her own personality, Beck created a comical and convincing portrayal of Shannon. At the time, it was a challenge for the young actress to get into the mindset of the role on a major film set, but it provided a once in a lifetime learning experience with lessons she still carries with her to this day.
“I loved being a part of such a beautiful mother-daughter story, as well as working with the incredibly talented cast and crew members of the film,” said Beck.
Beck knew instantly she wanted to be a part of Girl in Progress. Not only did it tell an impactful story and have an all-star cast, it was directed by Patricia Riggen, a female Latin-American director who continues to inspire women and people of color around the world through her work. As this was her first feature film, Beck was thrilled to be working with someone that inspired her.
After its release in 2012, Girl in Progress went on to win several awards. Beck is thrilled that it received such recognition, as mother-daughter stories need such a platform.
Photo by Liz Roza