Shelley Quartermaine has gone from Highbury to Hollywood after starring as the main character in her first international feature film. The 22-year-old actor and musician, known as Shelley Q in the film industry, landed the lead role in One Million Followers, a social media-based thriller in which she stars as a country girl from the US. After graduating high school in 2017, Quartermaine got to work making a name for herself in Perth, acting in several short and feature films. Determined to further her career, she uprooted her life and moved across the country to Sydney where she landed in the midst of a COVID-19 lockdown. The young actress decided to put the six-month lockdown to use by channelling her creativity into storytelling and working on her American accent. “I got really inspired and felt really creative and that was when I told myself by the end of this year I’m going to be stronger, I’m going to have learnt a new skill and I’m going to book a movie,” she said. “I decided that I wanted to sound American because I realised that in storytelling, you can reach a wider audience through American culture and language. “So I thought it never hurts to learn something new and every day I would practice my American accent for three hours.” Just as restrictions were starting to ease, Quartermaine got a worldwide casting call for the US feature film One Million Followers. Days later she was meeting with the director over Zoom who told her she had landed the lead role in the film over thousands of other actors who auditioned for the part. Four months later, she was packing her life back into suitcases and boarding a plane to go overseas for the first time. “It’s a social media-based thriller and I am a country American girl who grows up on a horse ranch,” she said. “Sometimes I still can’t believe I’m the title lead and I feel very blessed. “During the auditions I felt extremely close to a lot of the values that my character in the film holds, especially having that rural upbringing.” The movie took the young actress across the globe, with filming in Thailand and Canada. “This is my first international film and first film of this scale,“ Quartermaine said. “Which is very exciting because as a little girl I had always dreamed of working on an international project of this scale. “It’s pretty cool to be able to do what you love and be surrounded by people who are all excited to do the same.” Director of One Million Followers Harvey Lowry said the film industry in the US would “greatly benefit from Shelley’s incredible talent”. “After an exhaustive, international hunt for an actress to play the lead in my latest film, we came across Shelley Q and her audition for the film was a standout amongst a thousand other auditions I viewed,” he said. “She has a natural presence in front of the camera that is incredibly rare to find and her ability to bring life to the character written on the page was outstanding. “I’m positive that the choice to cast Shelley as out title lead was the right decision and this film will be a success directly because of her.” Quartermaine is currently based in West Hollywood where she is focusing on exploring other creative outlets such as writing. She said Hollywood was quite the contrast from Highbury. “Growing up in Highbury, I think of it as such a blessing, because I have really grown to appreciate how accessible everything is, especially in a larger city,” she said. “Even small things like when you order something online and it comes the next day. “My American friends think it’s hilarious how I get so excited walking into the grocery store because there’s just so much of everything. “Right now I feel nothing but grateful everywhere that I walk and I have such great love for my home and everyone back home.” Quartermaine said she would encourage other young country WA creatives to leap at new opportunities. “Take a chance on the unknown because you never know what kinds of magic lies ahead, I think that’s really my main message,” she said. “I know it’s hard and its scary and not a lot of people feel like they can do that, but what’s life if you don’t take a chance on the unknown. “I would be lying if I said it wasn’t scary. Being in America and spending so much time by myself without having many friends or someone to guide the way, it just shows how you can adapt.” One Million Followers is expected to be released in early 2023.