Bella Badding, 11, a student at  Serendipity Acting Studio in Carroll, took professional headshots in Des Moines to use for her acting portfolio.
Bella Badding, 11, a student at Serendipity Acting Studio in Carroll, took professional headshots in Des Moines to use for her acting portfolio.

January 23, 2019

When Bella Badding was in second grade, she went to a friend’s birthday party at Serendipity Acting Studio in Carroll.

She played a game similar to Charades and was instantly mesmerized.

She loved acting, performing and being in the spotlight.

From there, Bella, now 11, began taking acting classes at Serendipity and found a hobby she was not only good at but wanted to pursue.

In October, Bella and her mom, Kelsey Badding, took a day trip to Des Moines, where Bella spent hours in a makeup chair prepping for her first TV commercial.

After only a few years of acting classes, the Carroll sixth-grader already was being cast for roles outside of Carroll plays.

It all started months prior, when Sonia Walsh, owner of Serendipity Acting Studio, sat down with Bella and Kelsey and talked about the possibilities for Bella’s acting career.

“She basically sat us down and asked how we felt about getting Bella involved in commercials and print ads, and I started crying, because it is pretty cool,” Kelsey said. “I wasn’t expecting it. She was like, ‘I feel Bella has what it takes. It’s a special kind of kid to sit during long photo shoots.’ ”

So the Baddings found an agent in Des Moines and got started.

Bella’s first TV commercial was for Mediacom. During the commercial, she sits with her “Dad” and talks with him. None of the sound is played in the edited version of the commercial, and even though Bella was on air for only a few seconds, it was a start, Kelsey said.

Bella said that when she first arrived on set in Des Moines, she was overwhelmed by everything going on around her.

“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is really happening,’ ” she said. “I was nervous.”

After that experience, she was hooked.

“I think I want to do more acting when I grow up because I really love it, and I think it’s a good opportunity,” she said.

Ever since Kelsey can remember, Bella has loved performing.

“She was always doing her own music videos,” Kelsey said. “She loves to perform and has a lot of personality.”

These traits were what helped Walsh pick Bella out from other students in her acting classes, she said.

“She has a lot of charisma on stage,” Walsh said. “She’s a really smart kid, which makes her a better actor because she has great natural instincts for character, and is a really fast memorizer, which is a nice skill to have in your back pocket when you do this work.”

For Bella, memorizing lines of her scripts from a script is simple. She’s interested in almost any roles — as long as they’re the lead ones, she said.

“They’re all my favorites because they’re all different, and they’re unique in their own way,” she said.

What’s next? Well, maybe more commercials, or meeting with other talent organizations outside of Iowa. There are a lot of possibilities. Kelsey said she is just excited and proud of where her daughter is today.

She has a big personality. She is smart, and she’s very beautiful,” she said. “It’s always cool to see your kid succeed in something they enjoy.”