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Making it in New York City
Making it in New York City

It's not unusual for PSU grad Deirdre Lorenz to crisscross Manhattan as she auditions for a commercial, poses for a designer catalog, and attends a premiere gala—all in 24 hours. Maintaining careers as an actress, model, and film producer makes for a high-velocity lifestyle, but Lorenz is up to the challenge.

"The pace can be daunting, but it's also truly exciting. I get to meet many interesting, talented and very artistic people," she says.

Her latest acting roles in two upcoming films placed Lorenz in El Cantante, a film staring Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, and in Perfect Stranger, where she plays the ex-girlfriend of Bruce Willis' character. Lorenz also appeared in Two Weeks Notice and The Emperor's Club. She's landed television spots on Sex and the City, Law and Order, and The Sopranos.

As a model, Lorenz's portfolio includes print and runway work for Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Ann Taylor, Victoria's Secret, Abercrombie & Fitch, and other designers. It was modeling that originally brought her to New York.

After graduating from PSU with a business administration degree, Lorenz worked in high-tech corporate sales. She found herself longing for more creativity, so she took an acting class and began working with an agent. Commercial work and modeling jobs immediately followed, and Lorenz's life took a new direction.

In addition to her success in front of the camera, Lorenz is active behind the scenes as well. She collaborated with a director to produce three short films in New York, and they are now working on their first feature film together. Lorenz became captivated by the beauty of Santorini, Greece, after attending a wedding there, so they decided to set part of the film on the island. Last year, Lorenz launched her production company, Thira Films, to produce the feature, titled Thira, which was the island's original name. They shot the first half of the film in Santorini and now are finishing the project in New York.

While in production on the island, Lorenz found that professional connections could surface in the most unlikely places. Hanging out at the island's Oia Market to relax at the end of the day, she befriended the Greek family who run the market. It turned out that one of the owner's friends is Linda Ellerbee, the famous journalist, television personality, and writer. The owner introduced the two women, and Ellerbee quickly referred Lorenz to another friend, Ann Thomopoulos, executive producer of the HBO drama series Rome.

Back in New York, Lorenz's routine once again kicks into high gear. She starts her mornings with a workout at a club, several fittings for modeling jobs, and a trip to her agency. She'll speed walk to an afternoon audition before she tackles contracts for the crew members of Thira, makes calls to potential investors, or attends the film's editing sessions. Lorenz is also pitching a television series called Copy That, a darkly ironic comedy about a low-level production assistant.

Her evenings leave little room for down time, as her friend Richard Belzer, who also has a part in Thira, commonly invites her to celebrity events. After watching Belzer walk the red carpet, Lorenz and her date cruise in behind him to enjoy the premieres of productions such as The Sopranos or the film V for Vendetta. Then, it's off to sip cocktails at the after party and rehash the story line.

Lorenz says New York life isn't for the faint of heart. To keep herself grounded, she spends time with friends, stays in touch with her family, rents foreign movies, and volunteers for various organizations. She's working to increase literacy by reading to children at public grade schools and hospitals through the Screen Actors Guild BookPALS (Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools) program.

Although she misses Oregon, Lorenz says New York is a tough city with a soft heart.

"I love how energetic and resilient it is. I like being able to run out my door and find stores open within a block at any hour, and I enjoy the immense history and culture, and the very international flavor of the city. I never doubted that I am where I should be-at least for this time in my life." –KJ Fields