Lydia Backhouse was set for a career in the acting world from an early age.
The self-confessed drama queen was in her first play – Much Ado About Nothing, at the Crucible, in Sheffield – when she was just seven.
And since then the 20-year-old has worked hard to follow her dream of treading the boards in Hollywood.
Lydia, from Norton, has graduated from a prestigious Hollywood drama school attended by the likes of Grace Kelly, Kirk Douglas, Danny DeVito, Anne Hathaway and Adrien Brody.
She is now waiting for her work visa to arrive before her life will be crammed full of auditions and castings.
Lydia said: “Acting will never just be a job for me – it’s a hobby and it’s something I get to do every day and I love it more than anything in the world.
“I get to be someone different and live a different era and generation when I play a character.”
After leaving All Saints Catholic High School, Lydia attended Norton College and it was there she started to make plans for her future.
She said: “One of my ambitions was always to go to Hollywood to live and study film and TV.
“I decided to research schools in America and found the Academy of Dramatic Arts.
“They have an academy in New York and Hollywood.
“The school is one of the most prestigious in Hollywood and many stars from 1884 to present have made it into the entertainment industry.”
After speaking to her parents, Jayne, 50, and Martin, 56, who own Supafit Bedrooms and Kitchens in Heeley and Dronfield, Lydia auditioned and was one of the lucky 50 people to land a place out of 1,000 applicants.
On Boxing Day, 2013 she left the Steel City for the bright lights of downtown Hollywood. She found an apartment close to the school and soon felt right at home.
Lydia, who has a sister Jenna, 22, said: “The first year was a hard year – many late nights writing play reports, working on presentations for musical theatre class, practising my standard American dialect, learning lots of lines and a lot of character biographies for parts I was playing.
“For the second year you had to be invited back by the school so it was not assumed that you would be there – it all depended on your first year performances.
“The second year consisted of more advanced first year work and dialects from cockney to New York and many others, advanced Shakespeare, finding what technique works best for me and lots of performances and much more.
“Before I knew it I had finished my time at the school and was performing my final performance for my family – who came over especially and for the graduation – which was held at the Dolby Theatre where the Oscars are held. This was a very special day – I felt my dream was happening.
“I have now applied and received my working visa so I am able to work in the industry. I now have to put my qualifications into practice and make my whole dream come true. I know it’s going to be hard but I am a very determined person and I will do it.”
Lydia is now looking for a manager and agent, along with a night-time job that will complement her dreams. A restaurant or bar job simply will not do.
Her ideal role would be the part of Aileen Wuornos in Monster, a part which landed Charlize Theron an Oscar in 2005. She also fancies herself in action roles.
Her ultimate dream is that of every actor, to win an Oscar, and she hopes that through hard work and determination her dream may one day come true.
She said: “Even if it takes me all my life, I know I can do it. I’m not one to mess around. When I want something I do everything in my willpower to get it.
“I want to be in dramatic films. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be in a sitcom or a comedy film staring next to Kristen Wiig, but the ultimate goal is serious and dramatic projects I can sink my teeth into.”
Mum Jayne said the whole family were ‘extremely proud’ of Lydia.
She said: “We are very proud of her, although it was very difficult when she moved out there when she was only 18.
“Now she has graduated we are just really excited for her life. She knows what she wants. From a very young age she wanted to go to Hollywood – and now she has. We couldn’t be prouder.”