Join Hollywood Mom Blog as we go behind-the-scenes and get the inside scoop on Looking Ahead Awards 2014!
Academy-award winner Hilary Swank and her mother Judy Kay Swank were the top honorees at the Looking Ahead Awards held Thursday evening, December 4, 2014 at the beautiful Taglyan Complex in Hollywood.
Hilary presented her Hollywood Mom with a much deserved award recognizing her sacrifices and commitment in raising the extremely successful actress. This is major step forward for any Hollywood awards ceremony as parents of child actors almost always go completely unrecognized.
A special community service award was presented by teen star Hailee Steinfeld (Pitch Perfect 2, True Grit) on behalf of Looking Ahead to former Wonder Years child star and Looking Ahead Advisory Chairperson Fred Savage.
Also honored at the Looking Ahead Awards 2014 were former “Sister Sister” child stars Tia Mowry-Hardrict and Tamera Mowry-Housley. The twins are well known within the industry to be educated, professional and well-adjusted. As HMB as reported in the past, their mother Darlene Mowry worked diligently to make certain they kept up with on set academics and attended college. Kudos to Hollywood Mom Mowry!
Hundreds of Hollywood’s best and brightest child stars (many from the HMB family) and former child stars of all ages came out to celebrate the Looking Ahead honorees and join in in the festivities. Disney Child Stars Rowan Blanchard, August Maturo, Sabrina Carpenter, Peyton Meyer and Corey Fogelmanis of Girl Meets World were in attendance and caught catching up with old friends Merit Leighton (Sofia the First) and Marlowe Peyton (Parenthood).
Haunted Hathaways’ (Nickelodeon) child stars Breanna Yde and Ava Cantrell, and their friend Michelle Moores had a great time together on the red carpet and catching up with all their friends. Child actors and siblings Dusan and Dante Brown were joined by fellow actors Garrett Palmer, Tessa Germaine, and Alyssa Freyder (not pictured).
The awards’ generous benefactors were children’s cable networks Nickelodeon and Disney Channel and Disney XD. Other contributors were the Art Directors Guild (IATSE local 800), the Osbrink Agency, Cynthia Bain’s Young Actor Studio and SAG-AFTRA. So many child stars and celebrities turned out in support of the awards – we know it will only get bigger and better as years go on!
HMB Child Stars Reveal Inside Scoop on Looking Ahead Awards 2014:
“A serious reason to dress up, go out and be inspired! As a member of the Leadership Committee for Looking Ahead I was very excited to attend The Looking Ahead Awards, and I was not disappointed, they were spectacular. Plenty of speeches with true “words of wisdom”, by a group of amazing actors and industry professionals.”
“A moment that comes to mind was a story told by Sharon Lieblein. She spoke of a, “young actress we cast in a Nick pilot named Hailee Sienfeld. Sadly the show was not picked up so we let her out of her hold to do a little movie called ‘True Grit.’” It just struck me how you can’t ever see the big picture. Her speech was very empowering. Remember it’s not about your audition today but about the journey, which is something my mom tells me a lot, but hearing it from [Sharon] helped me understand it more.”
“Getting to see Tia and Tamera Mowry was especially cool since I loved “Twitches” but hearing them talk so passionately about education and how it really changed there lives was a great moment. Judy and Hillary Swanks speeches were REALLY fantastic. They spoke of kindness and treating people equally. Saying ‘it’s not a competition,’ I turned to my mom and said …’that’s’ all the stuff you say to me!’ and I hugged her.
“I just want people to know that being a child actor is not a horrible thing or a curse. I act because I really, really love it and I’m blessed enough to have parents that believe in my dream and help me everyday. Seeing these successful child actors that have turned out to be giving, talented and amazing people, just shows me that it’s all going to work out just fine.”
“Looking Ahead Leadership Council has given me a group of amazing friends, mentoring from incredible and compassionate people for which I am truly grateful! Thank you Looking Ahead!”
“As a young actress, it is very inspiring to see successful people that started as young actors and actresses pave the way. I was so moved to hear Margaret O’Brien speak. My first monologue to find a theatrical agent was to The Canterville Ghost. Margaret OBrien is one of the most outstanding and influential actors of our time. When Hilary Swank spoke about the trials and tribulations of this business and gave her mother an award, it brought me to tears. Fred Savage made me laugh. I can so relate to being the “weird acting kid,” he referred to himself as.
Charity is very near and dear to my heart and giving back. When I learned more about the Looking Ahead Program I knew it was the right place for me to be. The venue was beautiful, food delicious, and company was amazing. So happy I attended the Looking Ahead Awards!
“As a member of the Leadership Council we were having a blast making the chocolate boxes for the tables the night before the gala. Charity work, giving back and leadership skills are what we learn every month in Looking Ahead.”
“The awards were amazing; getting to meet Fred Savage who is the Looking Ahead Advisory Committee Chair was a great moment. He was super excited to meet us because we were actually the kids attending and using the Looking Ahead Leadership Program. He asked us a lot of questions about what we liked about Leadership Council and he was just the nicest person ever. I love Looking Ahead I said, ‘I would never quit acting, because I would never want to give up Leadership Council. It’s the best thing I have ever been a part of. ‘”
“I really enjoyed seeing child actors that had grown up and become super amazing adults. Sometimes people think we kids act because we want to be famous, but that’s not true. I just love what I do, I just want to keep doing it whether anyone recognizes me or not.”
“The speeches I heard at the awards gave me even more security that I can keep doing this and if all those child actors there turned out that great without Looking Ahead, imagine what I can do with the mentoring, guidance and leadership skills that Looking Ahead is giving me. Thank you Looking Ahead and The Actors Fund for supporting us kids. I’m truly blessed that these adults care enough about us to raise more funds to keep this program going, it’s really is changing young actors lives.”
“The Looking Ahead Awards Banquet was a fun night of friends, family, and the acknowledgement of artists within our craft. When I say “our craft,” I don’t just mean “look at us, we’re all actors!” It was every component of being an actor, and the intricacies that go along with it. Maintaining a strong support group through difficult times, giving back to the community, the pursuit of education even if others think you’re crazy for it, becoming a strong leader, and the basic but crucial bond between mother and child were all awarded, and in a wonderful way that showcased the best of Hollywood in a very positive manner. Also, the food was killer. Tuna tartar appetizers for days!”
“I’m very happy that I was able to attend the very first Looking Ahead Awards, and hear some exceptionally talented people speak about different components of the acting world, and how to successfully grow up and live a good life as a young actor.”
Other supporter’s include Fred Savage, The Williams Family (Angela Williams, Tyler James Williams, Tyrel Jackson Williams and Tylen Jacob Williams), Darby Hinton, Sharon Lieblein and Nancy Wileman.
One of HMB’s favorite elements of the Looking Ahead awards ceremony were the text donations campaign which Hollywood Mom Blog encouraged everyone to participate in via Twitter @HollywoodMom.
HMB sent out 30 tweets which were favorited and retweeted by all our dedicated HMB family and some celebrities (we’re looking at you Rowan Blanchard!) and amazing corporations (Thank you First Entertainment Credit Union).
By the end of the evening we Received a whopping 180 retweets and numerous favorites! THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
*Thank you to Hollywood Moms Suzette Troche Stapp and Janina Cantrell for contributing their photos.
ABOUT LOOKING AHEAD
The Actors Fund’s Looking Ahead program was created in 2003 in partnership with SAG-AFTRA to work with youth between the ages of 9 and 18, helping them develop the values, skills and confidence they need to make successful transitions to fulfilling adult lives. Visit www.lookingaheadprogram.org.
ABOUT THE ACTORS FUND
The Actors Fund is a national human services organization that helps everyone – performers and those behind the scenes – who works in performing arts and entertainment, helping more than 17,000 people directly each year, and hundreds of thousands online. Serving professionals in film, theatre, television, music, opera, radio and dance, The Fund’s programs include social services and emergency financial assistance, health care and insurance counseling, housing, and employment and training services. With offices in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, The Actors Fund has – for nearly 132 years – been a safety net for those in need, crisis or transition. Visit www.actorsfund.org.
The theme of the evening is summed up well here in an interview with Hilary Swank and Hollywood Mom Judy Kay Swank: