BECOMING A “LITTLE BIG SHOT”
It was just March 2020 when Brooke Monroe Conaway, a BCPS elementary school student, and her dad Cornell Conaway appeared on NBC’s “Little Big Shots” with host actress Melissa McCarthy. It was Brooke’s first appearance on a national television show. The father-daughter duo had been discovered on Instagram in a series of videos in which they sang songs by artists like Run DMC, Mariah Carey, and Chaka Khan.
Fast-forward to November 2021. Brooke’s first film, “Soul Santa,” has just been released by BET+, and she has a starring role in it. Next year, her second film will be released, an animated film for which she provides the voice for one of the lead characters.
AN INTEREST IN PERFORMING FROM AN EARLY AGE
Brooke, who is now 9 years old and in Grade 4, says she started doing videos and dancing and singing in the car when she was “really little, like 7.”
Cornell Conaway suggests that her interest in acting began with the two of them doing little skits together when she was very young.
Even before Brooke appeared on “Little Big Shots,” she had taken acting lessons locally and had an acting coach in California. “I found the acting coach,” says her mom Denise Conaway, “by Googling and Googling. They have sessions online. One of the coolest things about being on ‘Little Big Shots’ was that we got to meet the acting coach in person.”
Thinking that “Little Big Shots,” might lead to future opportunities, Brooke’s parents sought the advice of show staff in finding an agent. “Brooke’s dad signed with the agent, too,” Denise Conaway says. “And since ‘Little Big Shots,’ he has done an online commercial for a grocery store, a broadcast commercial for a beverage company, and a short video for Spruce Eats in which he and Brooke make a recipe together.”
A STARRING ROLE IN HER FIRST FILM
Brooke won her part in “Soul Santa” by auditioning virtually and getting a callback. “Unfortunately,” Denise Conaway says, “something got mixed up, and she received the wrong script so she couldn’t do the callback. Her agent pushed for her to have another chance, and she got the part.”
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