Living Her Hollywood Dream

Keith Loria Art & Culture

Bellina Lambdin is a long time Beauty Consultant for Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio in Vienna, Va. She loves her job and is dedicated to making her clients happy providing skin care and make up tips. On her days off she works as a background actor in movies and television.

Lambdin has always had a fascination with anything to do with behind-the-scenes of Hollywood, be it TV or movies, and always dreamed of being an extra.

“It was always on my mind. No matter what job I had at the time, I always had this desire to be an extra,” the native Washingtonian says. “When I turned 50, I came to the conclusion that it’s never too late to pursue your interests and things that make you happy, so I started looking into becoming a background actor.”

She started researching castng companies online, and hit on Central Casting in Washington, D.C., which provides extras for movies and TV shows shooting in the greater D.C. area.

“I submitted my photo and cover letter, and they put me in the database and within a couple of months, I started getting casting notices of different projects that were coming up,” Lambdin says. “I decided to submit my info for a movie called ‘Game Change’ with Julianne Moore and Ed Harris, and they had me come in.”

When Lambdin showed up on the first day, she came camera-ready, had extra clothes and looked like a seasoned professional. People took notice.

“It was a 15-hour shoot and there was a conventional crowd scene, a hallway scene, and at the end of the day, a PA tapped me on the shoulder and had me following him, and I got to be in the last scene with Ed Harris,” she says. “It was exhausting but really, really fun. I enjoyed it so much.”

A photo taken of that final scene even appeared on a billboard in Los Angeles.

Lambdin’s next role came during the first season of “House of Cards” and she was involved in a ballroom scene and others where White House correspondents were gathering.

“I didn’t even need to be visible. I just liked the whole experience of being in the background, seeing what was going on behind the scenes, watching the camera crew, the director…really everything about it,” she says.

For her latest movie, Lambdin was cast in “Jackie” starring Academy-Award winning actress Natalie Portman, and stood in as the photo double for Pat Kennedy.

“I had been reading articles in Variety about it and Natalie Portman is one of my favorite actresses,” she says. “I was available on the days they were going to be shooting, and it worked out perfectly. It was so exciting and I even got my picture in ‘People Magazine.’”

The main scene she is in is the famous one when the Kennedys are walking down the stairs of the White House. Lambdin attended the premiere of the movie and although some of her scenes were on the cutting-room floor, she calls the movie the highlight of her work so far.

She still gets emails daily about casting calls and she’s waiting for the next one to pop up that is interesting and on a date she is available, and can’t wait for the next opportunity.

“I’m also looking into doing some commercial print modeling; for example the brochures you see in doctors’ offices, or product ads in magazines where they use every day people,” Lambdin says. “I also recently took a voiceover class with an Emmy-winning voiceover coach.”

There have been times over the years when she felt that she may have missed her calling that she should have gotten into acting or working behind the scenes. But she is enjoying the opportunities that have been presented to her.

“I would love to be in a comedic commercial,” Lambdin says. She did have a speaking role in one small commercial, playing a tarot card reader for a car company. “Being an extra is a lot of waiting around and a lot of work , but I just enjoy it so much. “It’s never too late to do the things you want to do.”