School of Communication alumna breaks into the acting world

Olivia Abbott-Class of 2015
Olivia as assistant director for the film "Crazy"

By Amy Caudill

The typical day for Olivia Rhiannon Abbott consists of waking up at 6 a.m. and getting ready for work. She gets to Don Jacobs BMW Dealership at 7:30 a.m. and starts her shift as the front desk receptionist. At 4:30 p.m., she battles the city traffic of Lexington, Kentucky, on her way home. She cooks, cleans, feeds her and her husband’s three dogs and calls it a day. But while this is Abbott’s current job, she has a lot more going on behind the scenes.

Abbott graduated in 2015 with a degree in media studies and a concentration in production technology. Ever since she was a young girl, she enjoyed watching Disney movies and reciting the lines to her parents. Because of this, her mother began entering her into school and church plays.

“From then on, I was interested in acting and the art of film making,” Abbott said.

Having just graduated a little over a year ago, Abbott has an impressive list of acting and directing roles under her belt. Since graduating, she moved to Lexington, Kentucky to live with her husband and pursue her career. She has had two acting roles in indie films, one as an extra in “Ultio Vagabond Story” and one as the main character in “Leah Smock, the Legend Awakens.” She has also been assistant cinematographer for “Leah Smock,” production assistant for “Bitter Sweet,” and assistant director for “Crazy.” In college, she starred in and directed multiple short films.

“It’s easier than what we did in class,” Abbott said of her film roles. “In class, I had to play all the roles in filmmaking. I’m thankful because college taught me to challenge myself and to learn it all. School prepared me for those hard times.”

Aside from her film background, Abbott has worked on other projects. She is the media manager for Black Diamond Paranormal Society (BDPS), a paranormal group that she is also a member of. She also has her own YouTube channel that she frequently edits videos for.

Her YouTube channel has helped to fulfill her passion in acting. “Whether in front of a cast and crew or a single camera in my office, the passion is still there,” she said.

While she currently works full time with Don Jacobs BMW Dealership, Abbott still has acting and directing goals in mind for the future.

“I’d like to be a part of the bigger filmmaking industry scene,” she said. She also wants to continue to expand her YouTube channel.

She said of being a Radford alumna, “It’s bittersweet. I have so many wonderful memories at Radford and actually miss going to class and seeing all my old friends.”

Abbott also said she is thankful for her time at Radford as it taught her to be confident in her own work and self-presentation.

But there is one thing she doesn’t reminisce on, “I don’t miss having homework.”

Nov 14, 2016
School of Communication