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Alumni Profile: Theatre alum goes from Seminole State to Hollywood and beyond

Actress and Seminole State Theatre Progam alumna Denise Gossett appeared alongside Mel Gibson in "Get the Gringo" and is the founder of the Shriekfest Horror Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Denise Gossett always wanted to act. Growing up, she did little plays here and there but never really pursued acting seriously. It wasn’t until her senior year at Lake Brantley High School that she really fell in love with acting and realized it was something that she could pursue as a career. She recalls a time during that year when colleges held auditions at her high school for scholarships and admittance into the Theatre Program. That motivated Gossett to pursue a degree in theatre. As her talent shows, she tried out for the scholarship and ultimately received a full ride to Seminole State College of Florida.

With that, she was one step closer to the big screen. “To this day I still consider [Seminole State] my college. Seminole State felt like it was my family. The theatre department, everyone there; we were with each other 24/7 practically, and it was just a beautiful experience.”

When asked if there was one professor who stood out during her time at the college, Gossett shared that all the instructors were just wonderful. She recalls being taken under wing, so to speak, as she learned to direct and act, and really adored the education and training that she received.

“To this day I still consider [Seminole State] my college. Seminole State felt like it was my family ... and it was just a beautiful experience.” 
                                                                             - Denise Gossett

After earning her Associate in Arts degree at Seminole State, Gossett continued her education at Rollins College. While she finished her degree at Rollins, she got an agent and started doing little industrial films once a month. As fate would have it, “The Adventures of Superboy” was filmed at Universal Studios Orlando. Gossett auditioned for Lex Luthor’s sister and got the role of Lena Luthor for the fourth season. “That was my first real big thing. That’s how I got into the union.”

After she graduated, Gossett moved to Los Angeles where she struggled a bit, as many actors do. She booked a children’s touring theatre group, but found that it limited her opportunities to audition for larger roles. So she made the difficult decision to quit. She really wanted to get into film and TV. With the additional time to audition, Gossett booked some indie films. Gradually she was able to audition for bigger roles and things started slowly happening.

One of the projects that she’s most proud of is her role in “Get the Gringo” starring Mel Gibson where she got her first taste for traveling out of the country for filming. She’s now known for a number of recurring TV series roles and movie credits that have her IMDb page stacked.

While acting is her first love, she also founded the Shriekfest Horror Film Festival in LA after starring in the horror film “Chain of Souls” and struggling to find a way to promote it. Now in its 18th year, the festival is so successful that submissions have gone through the roof, and entries now come from every country. Following the success of the LA festival, Gossett returned to Sanford in 2017 to give Shriekfest its Central Florida debut. And she’s not done yet – Shriekfest Orlando is set to return this October with plenty of scares to share.  

Seminole State College Alumni Association: The Seminole State College Alumni Association provides benefits and services for alumni as they continue their lifelong connection with Seminole State College of Florida, providing opportunities for them to network with one another, interact with the student body and support the College. To learn more, visit the Alumni Association website.

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