Northern Kentucky Actress Climbs the Hollywood Ladder

Galadriel Stineman had a decision to make.

Just a semester away from graduating college, she stood at a crossroads. One path led to stability — graduate school, maybe an internship overseas, a Master’s degree, a job. The other road? It led to something much less certain — adventure, excitement, possibly stardom.

Since she was a little girl growing up in river cities like Newport, Bellevue and Dayton, Stineman has been a performer. She directed pageants and other competitions with friends in her living room. She told teachers her name was Dorothy — as in “The Wizard of Oz.” And once she frightened her mother when out of the blue she announced, “I’m so tired. I can’t run any more.”

It was one of Dorothy’s lines in the movie.

Even her name, Galadriel, sounded like something from a movie, taken from one of Tolkien’s elven queens in “The Lord of the Rings,” which her mother was reading when she was pregnant. It’s pronounced Guh-lay-dree-ool.

A BIG HOUSE IN CALIFORNIA

Stineman knew, even as a child, where she really wanted to be. “I’ll be living in California in a big house with lots of exotic animals,” she would say.

Yet she never became a child star like Union’s Josh Hutcherson, who made movies before he was 10, or Louisville’s Jennifer Lawrence, who was discovered at 14. Stineman participated in the drama club but never captured a starring role in a play at Newport Central Catholic High School. She had one line in "Annie." She was a cheerleader, dancer and competitive horseback rider.

Still, there was something within her. Something that would not be denied.

“She has always had a flair for the dramatic,” says Stineman’s mother, Peggy. “I saw her speak to an assembly in third grade, just a few lines, but I saw how she owned the stage.”

And when she enrolled as a freshman at Northern Kentucky University, she found herself in front of the camera, taking electronic media classes in the College of Informatics. She excelled in school. An interview she conducted with local television anchor Sheree Paolello is used today as an example of great classwork.

“Galadriel is a charming person — sunny, fun-loving and genuine,” says her former communication studies professor Russell Proctor. “I can’t say that I knew she would be a Hollywood star — I never saw her act. But I knew she would be great at whatever she pursued.”

Still, by taking certain classes, like how to operate a camera or block a scene or speak on cue, she was setting up her future.

Which brings us back to that decision.

NOW OR NEVER

Stineman has a face made for the camera. She is pretty, petite, with red curls and green eyes.

She read Los Angeles Magazine throughout college, and she’d developed a relationship with representatives at the Northern Kentucky-based Katalyst Talent Agency.

“I knew that she had a certain spark right away,” says Kim Vance, assistant director for student life at NKU. “I expected her to do very well because she has wonderful communication skills and people skills.”

Deep down, her mother knew what she was going to decide. “Galadriel has always been allowed to make her own decisions,” says her mom. “But this topic was so foreign to me, I just had to offer love and support.”

Stineman thought about cost. It’s twice as expensive living in Los Angeles than Northern Kentucky. She thought about being lonely. She thought about whether or not she could survive.

“It seemed like then or never,” Stineman says. “I had no idea if the opportunity would come again.”

She moved to Burbank in the fall of 2007. Her connections with the Katalyst Agency got her an agent in California. “Those agents signed me on the spot,” she says. “Having great representation right off the bat probably shaved years off starting my career.”

She was on the right track. The question was, would it all work out?

It didn’t take very long to find out.

NOT STOPPING SOON

Not long after settling in California, Stineman’s connections helped her land a starring role in a small budget indie film called “Junkyard Dog.” Sharing time on screen with Vivica Fox, Stineman gained valuable experience that led to more opportunities.

Another starring role followed in the television film adaptation of the popular children’s cartoon “Ben 10: Alien Swarm.” That made her a star — at least within a particular subset of fans.

“When I booked my first role, I felt completely validated in my pursuit,” she says. “I had always wondered if I could actually do this for a living and once I booked my first job, it was like, ‘OK, someone other than me thinks I have a place on the screen.’”

Those appearances have led to others. Originally, Stineman says, she decided to try the acting life for nine months.

Now, she’s been supporting herself for almost four years, appearing in television shows including “The Middle” and “True Blood,” and starring in upcoming movies including the teen comedy “The Party is Over” and a Hallmark television film called “Operation Cupcake.”

“There are days when I think about some of the projects I’ve worked on and can’t believe it,” she says. “Especially “True Blood.” I’m a huge fan of the show and I remember specific times when I said things like, ‘I’d probably keel over and die if I ever got to be on that show.’”

The Hallmark movie should get a lot of exposure, she predicts. It airs on Father's Day.

“I play the 16-year-old daughter of Dean Cain (“New Adventures of Superman”) and Kristy Swanson (“Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.”) In this movie, my dad is a career military man who is back with his family for the first time in a long while. He’s trying to fit in to their lives, while also deciding if he should accept a promotion or retire and spend more time with us. It’s a really touching movie and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

“When I see Galadriel in a show or movie, I always smile as I watch her become another character,” mom Peggy says. “Sometimes I recognize some of the facial expressions as those I saw when she was a child.”

Stineman doesn’t feel like she’s made it. Not yet. But she loves what she’s doing.

“I have no idea where I’ll be in a few years, because I have so many interests,” she says. “I just like to make sure I’m doing the best I can at whatever I’m pursuing, and that it makes me happy. When it stops making me happy or makes me doubt who I am, I know it’s time to make changes.

“For now, (acting) makes me happy. I feel like I’ve got further to go, it pays the bills, and I have a great team. I’m not stopping anytime soon!” ■