People ask me if this job is as fun as it looks, and I always have the same answer: yes!
Since joining GMT in 2006, assignments have taken me everywhere: live from Los Angeles on the set of Dancing with the Stars, to New York City where I was a guest correspondent on ABC's Good Morning America. I was even featured in two network Daytime dramas: All My Children and One Life to Live. I'm not a native Texan but like the bumper sticker says, my husband and I got here as fast as we could. My last name is of Dutch origin and is pronounced "Van-der-off" (I'm not sure why there's an extra "e" in it!). I'm a proud graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in New York City and actually began performing with the New York USO, entertaining US military forces and veterans at bases and hospitals. This was such a special time for me, and I work to feature American military people on GMT whenever possible. I also worked as a performer for the US Department of Defense entertaining American Armed Forces stationed overseas in countries such as Bosnia, Macedonia, Iceland, Germany and Croatia. There is no greater audience than our troupes! We traveled the war torn countries performing patriotic shows, bringing a bit of "home" with us and spent a number of holidays overseas, including the Fourth of July and Christmas. So many of the men and women hadn't seen their families for a year or more, and they were so appreciative. My time as a USO performer was unforgettable, and will always be remembered as some of the best years of my life. If you're a fan of children's books, you've probably heard this famous phrase: "Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!" I said that a lot when touring America as "Ms. Frizzle," the irrepressible science teacher from "The Magic School Bus." It was a blast: my costume featured bright red hair and some pretty way-out looks. Working on "The Magic School Bus" was an adventure, and a terrific program that continues to help children learn and love science.
In 2001 I took on a much different challenge when I was crowned Miss Connecticut USA, and became the state's representative at the Miss USA Pageant. I must say, although I didn't win the national title (not even close!) I loved the experience. It was a bit intense, however I have an incredible scrapbook of memories and remain great friends with several of my fellow contestants. Performance remains a big part of my life. I am signed with the Campbell Agency here in Dallas, and continue to do voiceovers and other commercial work. I also coach those who are in pursuit of an acting career! In Connecticut, I operated The Actors Academy, an acting school for children and adults. I also worked in casting for Mazzarella Productions, a children's production company. In 2004, my husband Grant -- a television journalist -- and I relocated to the Dallas area. We celebrated the birth of our son, a native Texan, in 2009.
Thanks for checking in -- and keep on watching Good Morning Texas to see where it might take me next!