35 Days to 35: A Beautiful Distraction


Simon adores her


Doing her best Katie Holmes


The face of determination


The essence of Hannah. She found a penny.















After a whirlwind weekend of a reunion party with a cast mates from a former show, and two days of auditions and casting for our new show, today was to be spent working on the manuscript again. Except that it wasn’t.

Back before all this ruckus began, I promised my darling Hannah that we would spend the day together taking headshots. I met Hannah in 2008 when she was just ten years old, a mere whisper of a girl. Through her intelligence, wit, and joyful personality, she quickly became one of my favorite human beings, and we worked together in two more plays before she transitioned, along with us, to the movies in 2010.

She was in both films on screen and behind the scenes, and proved herself to be the very definition of a dedicated worker. For The Hepburn Girls, she stayed with me for the bulk of filming. After we wrapped each day, and the rest of the cast and crew went home, she came home with me, helped me unload all the equipment, food and costumes, and then was right by my side til midnight or 1am reviewing the daily footage. We’d collapse, only to wake up at 7am to pack for the next shoot. She would help me load the food, camera equipment, and as I drove, we would review the daily itinerary, including costume plan, locations and lines.

When she applied for a job the next year, she listed me as a reference. The potential boss called me to ask about her work ethic. I explained her position on my film set and the boss asked me, “Would you do another film with Hannah?” I replied, “I wouldn’t do another film without Hannah.”

Now seventeen, and built like a willow reed with gorgeous flowing hair, and sparkling hazel eyes, she told me she is considering becoming a model, because, of course she should. And when she asked me to work with her on posing, and learning more about the relationship between subject and camera, and how she could improve, there was no hesitation on my part. I definitely ‘owe’ her.

We have had this day planned for almost three weeks, and nothing- manuscript, or even 23 degree weather, was going to stand in our way. It is such a testament to the kind of person she is, that she didn’t let a little thing like the cold get in-between her and her dreams. I admire that quality. It’s one I’m trying to emulate as well.

We started at 10am in the yard, and only came back in because her nose had turned red, and my fingers were too numb to push the button. In the afternoon we discussed each pose and angle and decided what looked best in photos. Our next session was late in the afternoon at my local courthouse, and just in the small amount of time between the two sessions, I could already see an improvement.

While the manuscript was pressing, I wouldn’t trade my day spent with her for anything. Today was a beautiful distraction, a way to let go and be creative and a way to help her create beautiful images that she can treasure. It truly is the least I can do. I am so proud of her, and the person she has become, and is becoming.

Post Script: Hannah asked me to remind the masses that any boys interested in the Divine Miss H have to make it through a three person interview process akin to “American Idol” made up of myself, Rachael and Tyler.

Full disclosure…we’re ALL the Simon Cowell. Good luck. 😉

Follow her:

Right at 35 days before my 35th birthday, Rachael and I found out that a book we wrote about our experience making our first film “No Lost Cause,” was being returned to us by the publisher after a year of waiting for it to be printed. Instead of wallowing in our collective misery, I committed to blogging every day while I searched for ways to overcome this perceived rejection and obstacle to our goal. I currently also have about three other projects brewing at the same time, and write about the progress of each of them. This is part of that series.

Read the first entry here: https://ashleyraymerbrown.com/2015/01/23/35-days-to-35-dealing-with-rejection/

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