HESSTON — Even if you have not met Courtné Moran in person, you may have seen her on your TV.
Originally from Hesston, Moran was home schooled for much of her education and danced with Angel Feet Dance Studio (now Fortress Ballet). After graduating high school, she attended a ballet school in Mississippi before moving to Chicago.
Moran now dances professionally in Wisconsin, but has also added another skill to her repertoire — acting.
"That was always my favorite thing about ballet and dance, telling a story and making people feel something," Moran said. "Since I've always loved storytelling, this was a natural transition for me."
Being located in Chicago gave Moran the chance to be an extra on several TV shows that film in the area.
"I was super excited the first time I got on a professional set," Moran said. "I had no idea what was going on."
Extras are the people shown in scenes doing some action behind the main characters, be it walking, eating, shopping or some other activity.
"It takes no talent to be in the background," Moran laughed.
Though she had been interested in acting since she was young, Moran's roles as an extra were her first forays into that field.
"I was very shy and insecure as a kid," Moran said. " ... I was always afraid people would make fun of me for wanting to (act), because it's not really a thing in Kansas."
With each role, Moran made friends who encouraged her to take acting classes and introduced her to local filmmakers.
"This business is really all about connections — who you know and who knows you," Moran said.
When she auditioned for her first student film, Moran ended up with one of the lead roles. That project was the beginning of a film-acting résumé that now includes several student films and commercials.
"I ended up booking a lot of independent films, because that's such a huge scene in Chicago," Moran said.
Moran's biggest roles, however, are still in production.
She auditioned for a guest star role on an Investigation Discovery TV network show, sending in an initial video of herself and then surviving several rounds of callbacks to finally be offered the part.
"I was so excited they thought I was good and talented and could do the role," Moran said.
Although she could not yet say what the title of the show is, Moran did note it was filmed in Knoxville, Tenn.
Moran's next major role is yet to be filmed, but she expects to take about three weeks later this year to act in a family movie with acting stars such as Dean Cain.
"It's going to be about high school girls and horses," Moran said.
Moran feels she expresses herself well by drawing on her own experiences when she portrays a character.
"When I'm acting, it's coming from a very real place. I'm not just crying, it's real emotion," Moran said.
Moran also believes her passion for acting comes from a love of the performing arts and not the ephemeral glitz and hype. Growing up in a rural area in the middle of the country gives her a groundedness and perspective that not many other people in show business have.
"I really appreciate coming from a small town in Kansas," Moran said. "I feel like I have seen a difference in myself and others who grew up in the industry. I'm more down-to-earth ... and it's not all about fame."