For Sasha Lane, spring break turned out to be her big break.

On one fateful afternoon in 2015, the 19-year-old Texas State University student was partying on the beach with friends in Panama City, Florida. She had never taken an acting lesson, much less ever considered acting as career. While enjoying a few drinks and giving off what she calls a “fuck it, let’s just have fun” vibe, she was approached by Oscar-winning filmmaker Andrea Arnold (Fish Tank, Wuthering Heights) with an out-of-nowhere proposal. 

“She said, ‘I’m doing this movie and we’re looking to cast one last person, and I wanted to talk to you,’” Lane, now 20, recalls. “I said to her, ‘If you’re trying to kidnap me, don’t try me. I’m the wrong girl to try that with.’ But I was at a state in life where I was like, ‘What do I have to lose?’ It felt right. So I just went with it.”

Months later, days before the Sept. 30 wide release of American Honey, Lane’s praises have been sung by the New York Times, Variety, and The Daily Beast, to name a few; the lattermost anointed her the “cinematic discovery of the year.” She’s already signed on to star in two more films on the strength of her Honey debut, and now she's so busy, she says, that she’s turning down more jobs than she can take in right now. This is a Cinderella story about the discovery of a vital talent—one who never intended to attract the eyes of millions, but whose natural skill as an actress made her ascendance seem inevitable.

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