Originally from North Carolina, Gawthrop moved to New York to study acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and HB Studio. But after finishing school, she grew unhappy with the life of a New York City actor. "I became rather disillusioned as a youth, after graduation and making rounds and doing summer stock and all that," she says, "and I moved back to North Carolina and married my childhood sweetheart." Gawthrop took a break from acting to raise her child but returned to the craft after moving to the Hamptons, a community on New York's Long Island, where she performed in such plays as Barefoot in the Park and Steel Magnolias. "I became very enamored of the Hamptons," she says. "I did some theatre out there, but I wasn't auditioning in town at all." Ultimately she was inspired to go back to pursuing work on a more regular basis: "I'm a woman of a certain age…and I see all these commercials of my type, and I'm still photogenic, and I kept thinking, You know, I could be doing that."
One advantage of her life experience is that it makes it easier to audition. "At my age now, I feel more confident," Gawthrop says. "And I wish I knew then what I know now, because I used to get physically sick before I auditioned." She elaborates: "I think the reason I feel free now…is I'm not trying to be anything but who I am, because I know that this is a marketable time in my life because there are so many products out there for people like me." She's focused on getting more work in film and commercials and finding an agent. "The Dove commercials are one of the ones I think are wonderful," she says. "Because they show women with gray hair and, you know, real women."
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