The beautiful and irresistibly down-to-earth Brianna Brown hails from the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where hot dish is king, bars are desserts brought to church basement pot-lucks, and the hottest gossip around usually involves rumors of warm weather.
In a pink bedroom plastered with unicorns and Joey McIntyre posters, Brianna, like many girls growing up in the 80s, dreamed of being a star. And, like many mothers of starry-eyed girls, Brianna’s mom rolled her eyes at the prospect of her daughter having a career as an actor. Being protective, and hoping to persuade her daughter to pursue a more stable and predictable profession, she remarked that being an actor was an impossibility that best be forgotten. This was the challenge that Brianna, being more than a touch rebellious and not one to be underestimated, needed to launch into a lifetime of proving that the impossible just may be possible.
However, Brianna’s acting career did not have a smooth start. She began with small parts in a number of elementary school and community shows. But, the awkward middle school years hit Brianna hard and she found herself shy and nervous. Afraid to audition, Brianna could barely look up from her script or project her voice past the page. Crushed by being denied part after part, Brianna decided that perhaps acting really was impossible for her.
Luckily, in high school a young student teacher saw in Brianna what she could not see in herself, real talent. Encouraging Brianna to give acting another try, the teacher persuaded Brianna to audition for the school’s musical production of “My Fair Lady.” This time, having more confidence and maturity, Brianna auditioned and made the cast. With this experience, Brianna fell in love with the freedom of performing and began pursuing her childhood dream with renewed passion.
Not surprisingly, Minnesota isn’t exactly the most promising state in which to launch an acting career. Thus, with the help of her local representation Brianna began to plan her move to the hub of Hollywood--Los Angeles. Escaping the blustery north but remaining cool, Brianna made her first on-screen appearance in 1999 in the pilot episode of NBC’s cult teen comedy “Freaks and Geeks” from comedy mastermind Judd Apatow. Since making the cross-cultural transition from the land of tinsel Christmas trees to Tinseltown, Brianna has graced the silver and small screen in a variety of roles that have earned her recognition and praise as a bright young star.
On the silver screen, one of Brianna’s first film roles was in director Luke
Greenfield's comedy “The Animal” (2001; starring Rob Schneider), which
was followed by Ron Shelton's action comedy “Hollywood Homicide” (2003; starring Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett). In 2004, Brianna appeared in Sam Raimi's Academy Award-winning sequel to the popular 2002 film, “Spider-Man 2”, starring Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst and James Franco. The next year she played a role in Hans Canosa's independent film “Conversations with Other Women,” with Aaron Eckhart, Helena Bonham Carter and Olivia Wilde. Also in 2005, she starred in Jeff Kanew's romantic comedy “Adam and Eve,” starring Cameron Douglas and Emmanuelle Chriqui. In 2006, Brianna played diverse roles as a pregnant farmer’s wife in Michael Landon Jr.’s “Love’s Abiding Joy” and a zombie slayer in the remake of the cult classic, “Night of the Living Dead 3D.” Brianna also reunited with director Judd Apatow for funny parts in the smashes “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up.” In 2007 Brianna starred in Tony Giglio's horror-thriller “Timber Falls,” alongside Josh Randall, Beth Broderick and Nick Searcy, (as well as a significant amount of blood). Following that, in 2009, she filmed “The Lost Tribe” which shot in Panama. In 2010 Brianna co-produced and starred in "The Encounter" for which she was also awarded Best Actress by the Long Island International Film Expo. Most recently, Brianna starred in the indie comedy “Screwed” which is currently in post-production.
On the small screen, Brianna has guest-starred and recurred on a variety of popular shows such as CBS’ “CSI,” “CSI: New York,” “CSI: Miami,” “Without a Trace,” and the legal drama "Shark.” Additionally, she landed roles on the WB’s sci-fi series "Smallville," NBC’s “Joey” starring Matt LeBlanc, and ABC’s “Lost at Home.” Brianna also starred in a comedy pilot called "Dash 4 Cash" with “Step Up 2”’s Robert Hoffman and directed by Betty Thomas, as well as the Emmy-winning shows "Entourage” on HBO and USA Network's "Monk,” starring Tony Shalhoub. In 2009 Brianna went on to star opposite Kyra Sedgwick in “The Closer.” That same year Brianna portrayed a high-end prostitute/serial killer on the top 10 rated show “Criminal Minds.” Brianna garnered more success in 2010 on the Emmy award winning series “General Hospital,” shooting over 200 episodes as the “love to hate” villain Dr. Lisa Niles. During this recent soap stint "Soap Opera Digest" recognized Brianna with Best Storyline in 2010 and Sexiest Actress on General Hospital 2011. Shortly after wrapping up her contract on "General Hospital" Brianna flew to North Carolina to film multiple episodes of Showtime’s “Homeland” opposite Emmy awarding winning actress Claire Danes. Currently, Brianna is recurring on HBO’s ‘“True Blood” and also scored a series regular role in “Devious Maids,” the new television show from “Desperate Housewives” creator, Marc Cherry.
When not pretending to be other people, Brianna enjoys being herself. Her favorite activities include staying active through running, hiking, practicing yoga, skiing, playing soccer, singing and dancing. She likes to keep her mind active as well, reading books, being involved with charitable organizations, and solving the world’s problems over a cup of coffee with her friends. In 2006 Brianna founded 501(c)(3) non-profit "The New Hollywood" Women's Goal Group Inc. a philanthropic women's goal group (www.TheNewHollywood.org). In addition to providing support in achieving personal and professional goals, the organization donates upwards of $10,000 to various charities and produces charity events. In 2011 & 2012 Brianna was nominated by Los Angeles Business Journal “Women Making a Difference” for her work with “The New Hollywood.” Brianna stated that she originally started the group to support other women who were also trying to “make the impossible, possible.” She explains, “It’s amazing to see what can be accomplished when women love and support one another in being their personal best rather then falling into the stereo-type of being catty, competitive and negative. The intention of my group is to help myself and other brilliant women to be the best they can be in all areas of their lives. To truly support other women while also being a positive influence within the entertainment industry and our communities. It is quite an inspiring group of women.”
In the fall of 2010 Brianna decided to utilize what she had learned while running her non-profit, as well as the experience gained in co-producing the web-series "Retail Therapy" and co-executive producing "The Encounter" (nominated for best short within the festival circuit), and decided to make the bold move to form her own production company entitled Brown Rose Productions. Brianna is currently working on multiple projects within her company (www.brown-roseproductions.com). And in 2012 Brianna became an Ambassador for the National Women's History Museum (www.NWHM.org).
Although this is the just the beginning of her creative journey, Brianna has already forged the unlikely road from a pink bedroom in suburbia, Minnesota to the sets and stages of Hollywood. With passion, drive, and that characteristic touch of rebelliousness, Brianna continues to believe in the possibilities of her dreams.
-Written by Dr. Lindsey Hammond