Star Acting Coach Offers Tips On Parenting In The Spotlight

BEDFORD-KATONAH, NY—The title of Denise Simon’s book, “Parenting in the Spotlight: How To Raise A Child Star Without Screwing Them Up,” might make you think that raising a child actor is a risky proposition. Not so, says Simon, there’s a lot parents can do to ensure their child actor grows up to be a happy, healthy adult.
During Simon’s 30 years as an acting coach, personal talent manager, and director, specializing in child actors, she has encountered parents who discouraged their child’s desire to act.
“When a child has that dream it’s important to understand how that’s in their DNA, to accept and nurture it,” said Simon. “Young actors don’t have to study acting to become professionals, but as a way to express themselves. I’ve interviewed child actors who became chefs, doctors, lawyers whose confidence increased because of the training and exposure.”

Simon, a South Salem resident, has known some young actors who encountered emotional issues while pursuing their craft, but for the most part her clients turned into well-adjusted successful adults, and the roster includes a few stars. During the decade Simon worked as an associate with Fox Albert Management, she coached clients such as Scarlett Johansson, Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino, and Lacey Chabert. Although Simon started her career wanting to act, she was “discovered” as an acting coach while working at a kids’ summer theater camp. After observing her rapport with kids, a talent manager asked her to work for him.
“I fell in with a company that was pretty amazing. We represented kids who became huge stars. We noticed that when we coached young actors before they went on an audition that those kids got work, and more and more work; some of those kids became famous. From there I knew that I didn’t need to go back to acting to be creative.”

Wanting to spend more time with her own children eventually prompted Simon to stop managing talent and focus on being a coach….

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