This is a sample that I wrote when applying for this character.
Just like that. Two words and it was all over and Harleigh was rooted to the spot. She took a deep breath and let it out slow, taking one final look at the set that had been her home for five years of her life. She grew up here.
From what seemed to be miles and miles away, the camera crew, director, writers, and all of her cast mates had burst into an applause. Harleigh, trying to focus on her feet and not the cloud of tears forming in her eyes, didn’t join in. She knew she should be celebrating the end of a great show, but that was just it- it was the end. No more waking up at six in the morning, being so completely happy to be doing something she knew she loved so much that the fact that it was six in the morning didn’t bother her. No more seeing the cast and crew who she had grown so close to every day. No more excitement over season premieres. No more anything. That’s what the end is, isn’t it?
A pair of arms enveloping Harleigh pulled her out of her daze. She blinked back her tears and returned the hug, even if it was a little halfheartedly. Just as she was released from one, however, another came- and on and on it went, for five minutes. The only thing Harleigh felt like doing right at this moment was just going home and sleeping for the rest of the day. She didn’t want to say goodbye. Not yet.
On top of all the sadness Harleigh felt for leaving the one TV show that truly made her happy, she was scared. Terrified, even. She didn’t want to think about what her mother would put her up to next. A few movies, definitely, and, no doubt, another TV show. One end just sparked up another beginning for her mother, no matter what Harleigh had to say on the subject.
As if she knew exactly what Harleigh was thinking, there was her mother, pushing through the crowd of cast and crew, tears in her eyes and a packet of paper in her hand. And just like that, as if one project had not just ended, another one was starting. Her mother was already suggesting she try out for a new Joss Whedon film. She hardly released Harleigh from a back-breaking hug before running her mouth a mile a minute about her “next big project” that would “make you a superstar- well, more than you already are, dear.” The truth was, Harleigh didn’t want to be a superstar. Not anymore. It had been a dream of hers as a child, being on television and doing something that she found fun, but the older she got, the more she began to realize that there was a whole lot more to acting than just acting itself.
There were interviews, and photoshoots, and premieres and events and galas and meet and greets and press releases, and all sorts of agonizing social events that she was forced to attend. Harleigh was forced to live under a microscope with people who were faker than their tans and just smile and pretend that everything was just fine. It was all so suffocating. Hollywood was suffocating. It was a disease. Celebrities and critics and parents and directors would chew you up and spit you out just to chew you right up again, and Harleigh despised it. That wasn’t what her acting career was supposed to be, not at all. But that’s what it became. And as her mother began to plan for her future before her past even walked out the front door, it all hit her like a freight train.
Harleigh’s life in Hollywood was good, in the beginning. She was happy. But she grew up and she started to wonder if maybe this wasn’t the life for her- and then this show came along, and she was certain it was. But now? Now it was all over. This little bubble of happiness Harleigh let herself have, the bubble that pretended her mother didn’t force work upon her and chain her to Hollywood, hardened up and cracked in two.
“Mom, I don’t want to start a new project. I want to take a break! I want to do something that I want to do for a change. I want to…go to Europe, and actually see Europe, not the inside of a hotel. I want to go back home and visit the family we’ve neglected to see every Christmas since I was seven. I want to be a normal twenty year old for once in my life, Mom.”
That had certainly done it. The words tumbled out of Harleigh’s mouth before she even had the chance to think about them. Her mother, completely and utterly shocked, looked as if Harleigh had just slapped her across the face.
“You don’t know what you want, Harleigh Grace Reynolds, you are twenty years old. I know that these are good opportunities and I’m not going to let you throw them away- to do what? To go on vacation? I know you loved this show, Harleigh, and I’m sorry that it’s over, but that doesn’t mean your career is. You’re not done yet. Things are on the horizon- I know it.”
Harleigh’s mother thrust the packet of paper into her hands and gave her a quick pat on the cheek before turning on her heel and marching away, giving Harleigh no room for protest.