Emma Holmes plays Mandy, Lillian’s concerned friend in the film If You’re Gone. Outside of her acting career, she is a both a student of communications and journalism at Tennessee Tech, and a fiance to Blane Donoho. In this interview, Holmes discusses her experiences working on If You’re Gone and her future plans in acting and journalism.
How did you prepare for the role of Mandy in If You’re Gone?
I wanted to really bring out my southern accent, so in all my conversations I would really practice a southern drawl.
What was your favorite part about playing Mandy?
My favorite part about playing Mandy was being the other characters’ friends. Every scene, I was with either Masey, Desiree, Dakota, or Tara. It made my character fun and reliable.
Do you have a favorite memory or story from the set of If You’re Gone?
My favorite memory from set was the scene when we rode in Brittany’s car around downtown, and Masey had to get out and run down an alley because she thought she saw Brad. It felt like an action scene because Desiree was whipping the car around the corners and into the parking lot. The best part was some of the crew was cramped up in the trunk filming. It was really fun to shoot.
How do you think you’d react if someone you knew went missing like Brad did?
I think I would react how Lillian did. She never gave up on trying to finding to find him while others did. It would definitely be the only thing on my mind until I’d found that person.
Given that you are studying communications and journalism, how did you come across acting, and what did you enjoy about it?
I actually was told about the audition from a friend. He said that I would be a good fit for this part, and I decided to just go for it. I love acting, and I really wish I could do more things like this movie. It’s just so cool to step into a whole different life and portray someone else. It’s a fascinating world to be apart of and have experiences from another point of view.
Do you feel it’s important to spread positive, faith-based messages like If You’re Gone and other films produced by Every New Day Pictures?
Yes, I believe that it’s very important to not only spread positive messages but also faith- based messages. A lot of the films today turn away from God and His message. I feel like there needs to be more movies like If You’re Gone because it can show God’s light in a world that tries to cover up religion.
Media plays a big role in shaping how we think and view the world. Since you hope to work in media once you graduate, what messages do you hope to spread once you enter the industry?
Once someone puts their faith and beliefs in the media, that’s what will follow them to the end of their career. I’ve been taught in school and at home to stand up for whatever I believe because people can twist your words if you waver at any moment. When I become a journalist, I want to spread God’s love and joy because that’s my whole purpose of life. I know I will get backlash for my beliefs, but it’s something that I’m prepared to handle. I also would like to spread self-empowerment. I want people to stop being so cruel to themselves, whether it be their confidence, education or lifestyle, and just be kind to everyone.
What advice would you give to an ambitious student such as yourself who wants to try acting, or explore other interests on the side? In other words, how do you balance student life with extracurriculars, exploring, and having fun?
The best advice I would give is to just go for it. You only have one life to do what you want. School is tough and acting is an escape. Balancing school, acting, clubs and friends can be very difficult, but doable. I was able to do this movie during school because it was in the summer, but I always keep my eyes on auditions. Taking a big role while in school would honestly be insane to do, but like I said before, it can be done. I would suggest to a student to take little roles or short films. Then when you’re out of school, take on bigger roles. This would be a good idea because you can have a lot of experience on your resume, and that’s what every employer looks for now.