She certainly has the name of someone destined to be famous: Sasha Lane.
It’s the type of discovery story we don’t hear a lot of in the age of YouTube, Twitter and competition reality shows: a Texas college student on a beach hanging out with her friends when a legitimate, award-winning film director approached her.
Now Lane, who’s 21 and had never acted before, is suddenly getting a lot of attention in Hollywood.
Sasha Lane is pretty – with dark brown eyes and an adorable pout, has a mature self-awareness. Maybe it has something to do with being a Texan.
“Born in Houston, raised more outside of the Dallas area – so kind of between those two,” Lane says.
She moved to Central Texas for college where she studied psychology and social work at Texas State – or, at least, she intended to.
“I was a true floater then,” she says, “really didn’t know what… I mean I had ideas but I didn’t really know what I was doing.”
So when her friends wanted to hit the beach for spring break – she was all in.
“Something felt like it was missing so that’s why I kind of went on that trip was just to like let go and enjoy it,” she says. “And then here comes Andrea up the beach and… it was just kind of really bizarre how it all happened.”
Andrea Arnold, the director she met on the beach, got Lane to be in her next film, “American Honey.”
“It felt right, you know, it felt like what I was supposed to do,” Lane says.
Sasha Lane isn’t just in it – she’s the star. Lane acts alongside Shia La Beouf and Riley Keough, granddaughter of Elvis and Priscilla Presley. It follows a group of broke, free-spirited young people across the Midwest as they attempt to make a living while not growing up by selling magazines.
While there was a script for the film, Lane says they didn’t really follow it. Arnold encouraged them to ad-lib and just respond as they would naturally in a given situation. In some ways, it was life imitating art imitating life.
“We lived in those motels, we lived in that van,” she says. “We did everything they did.”
She had a good time doing it, so much so that she dropped out of school and is doing the acting thing full-time, for now.
“The scary factor is that this is not the life that I thought I was going to have. This isn’t what I’m used to,” she says. “Even though where I was before [was] not a good situation but that’s what I knew, it’s what I grew up in, I was comfortable there. Now my box is opened and very vulnerable and exposed and there’s opportunities and it’s kind of great and scary.”
But while she’s spending a lot more time on the West Coast these days, she says there’s a lot she misses about Texas – mostly the people.
“I miss legit butter and carbs,” Lane says. “So it’s nice to eat when I get here. Because, you know, L.A. is a little kale-oriented.”
Lane says she’s still pinching herself in some ways. She can’t believe she went from a Texas college student on spring break to having her face plastered on movie posters. Her big screen debut in “American Honey” hits theatres in Texas this weekend.