Young Australian actress Bella Procida from Coomera in Queensland is all set to head to LA – singing and dancing her way to the top of a fiercely competitive industry.
Some of us spend our entire lifetimes trying to find our true passion, while others are born just knowing. “I’ve always wanted to perform, to entertain,” says Bella Procida. “I have never known anything different. Mum always says that I was singing before I could talk. When she was pregnant with me, if my uncle started singing, I would dance around in her belly.”
From a tiny tot through to her early school years, Bella sang in choirs, danced and performed in musical theatre shows, concerts and eisteddfods. In 2018 she scored a main cast role in the multi award-winning web series The Life of Jess. From there she found herself acting in various films around Australia.
Bella Procida has always considered study to be an integral part of her career. While attending high school, she has continued to study with top tutors and train at NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Art). She’s also being coached by Tom McSweeney; an Emmy Award nominee who has cast over two hundred feature film, mini-series and episodic television productions internationally.
In the USA, Bella has attended the prestigious Stella Adler acting academy in LA; worked with Ivana Chubbuck – an American acting coach who directs a drama school in Los Angeles; and trained with Second City Improv – the first ongoing improvisational theatre troupe based in Chicago, with training programs and theatres in Toronto and Los Angeles.
Bella’s unstoppable drive and ambition for a 19-year old is remarkable. At 14 years of age she told her parents that they needed to start taking her dream of hitting Hollywood seriously and that she wanted to find an agent. Watching actors on television and in film, she knew that was exactly what she wanted to be doing, but she also had a dream of running her own business.
The side hustle
And so that’s exactly what she did: set up her own swimwear line called IsolaSwim, at 16 years of age. Not one to shy away from a new challenge, she designed, produced, photographed and marketed the range, which is gaining popularity in Australia.
“I’m very passionate about teenage confidence,” Bella explains. “It hurts my heart to know that so many people think that they are not good enough; that their looks or their body shape are not right.”
Bella and her family were in Thailand when the lightbulb moment came. “I was sitting at the beach, looking around at everyone, and I saw so many swimming costumes that didn’t fit properly. And as I had always wanted to start my own business, I thought – that’s it. Everyone should feel comfortable in their own skin and in swimwear, and everyone is beautiful in their own way. IsolaSwim celebrates the fact that all women are different, and all of them are beautiful.”
It’s this maturity that will ensure Bella continues to reach the goals she continually sets for herself. She was discovered by her new US talent agent, Zero Gravity Management, on music/video social platform TikTok – which has 800 million active users worldwide, 41 percent of them aged between 16 and 24.
Taking over TikTok
Despite many young people becoming obsessed with social media and falling down the TikTok rabbit hole, Bella has her feet firmly planted on the ground. She understands the detrimental affect it can have on people, especially on young and impressionable teens.
“I uploaded some posts to TikTok as a joke – definitely nothing serious, and then the followers started growing. I had 50,000 followers in November and half a million by May,” she explains. “That’s when IMG scouted me and led me to joining Zero Gravity. But I can see how scary the social world can become, especially if you are gaining followers without the right intentions. You need to have a purpose and spread a positive light.”
Bella admits that there is a lot of negativity on social media. “You should know right away if what you are doing is right, as positive posts make you and others feel good. But despite there being a lot of negativity on social, I have also seen, especially recently with COVID-19, a lot of influencers reaching out to others and letting them know that they are not alone. That’s a really positive thing that has come from this. People are letting others know that we are going to get through things together. It’s hard for many people, and they need to know that they are not alone.”
Hollywood here she comes
As soon as international travel opens up again, Bella Procida is on the first plane to Los Angeles and is looking forward to finding a place to live. “I plan on going as soon as it’s safe to do so. I’ve been going there for years and it feels like another home to me,” she says. Ever the over-achiever, she adds: “I would rather live alone, as I get more done without distractions!”
We’ll be watching Bella’s rise to fame from this side of the planet, and something that we’re banking on is that she’ll be another Aussie who will shine while having her feet firmly planted on the ground in Tinseltown. “Success is about happiness to me,” Bella says. “This is not about fame or becoming rich. If I love what I am doing then the rest will follow.”