'Growing Up Fisher's' Ava Deluca-Verley: From ballet dancing barista to actress

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As Katie on NBC's "Growing Up Fisher," Ava Deluca-Verley plays the daughter of an accomplished blind lawyer and a woman who needs to find herself.

"Katie's main goal is just to keep her life as normal as possible, even though the house is coming apart, and Dad is moving out, and Mother is going on a new journey by becoming a young woman and is very much going through the same self-discoveries as Katie is," Deluca-Verley tells  Zap2it.

That makes for a sweet family dynamic, though perhaps not as compelling as Deluca-Verley's family. Her dad is a jazz percussionist and architect; her mom is a chef with a chocolate shop. Deluca-Verley grew up speaking French because her dad is French.

"My parents bought me a ticket one summer for Paris," she says. "I worked at Ralph Lauren. I went to Paris with $200 in my pocket. It was a most memorable experience."

She spent other summers in her mom's cafe, working with her brothers and learning to make croissants and cakes with her mom.

"I learned how to be a barista and make a really great cappuccino," Deluca-Verley says.

"I worked restaurants all through high school and college," she says. "My parents are very adamant about making my own money, and I helped out paying for school. When I graduated, my parents said to me, 'We fully support you. If you need anything, let us know, but you are on your own now.' "


She moved to Los Angeles and scored a couple of small roles but was doing the struggling actress routine of working as a hostess in West Hollywood's Laurel Hardware restaurant and auditioning. She was taking reservations when she got the call that changed her life. DJ Nash, show creator, was on the line, telling her she had the job.

Training: Carnegie Mellon, with a BFA in theater

Credits: "The Way Way Back," "Blinder," "Southland"

Original career goal: "I was a ballerina for a very long time," Deluca-Verley says. "I started at 3 or 4 and didn't stop until I was about 15. That was my first experience with stage, and I stopped doing that for reasons where my body was changing. It is a very scary world. I loved being onstage and loved classes and all of the discipline, so I started doing musical theater because I could dance, and I loved music, and I am a singer as well."

Favorite movies: "Anything by Nancy Meyers. I am obsessed with her as a director. 'Something's Gotta Give' is such a heartfelt, lovely movie. 'Her,' that Spike Jonze just did, that is such a wonderful movie, and it is where I think our society is going, which is terrifying. 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,' and I watch it over and over again. My favorite film is 'Jeux d'enfants' - 'Love Me If You Dare.' "

Favorite music: "One I grew up with, always hearing and recently saw in concert and crying the entire time, is Oleta Adams, a jazz singer. And then for something folkier, I love Mumford & Sons. I always turn them on to start my morning, and then if I want to dance, I will have to go with Michael Jackson."

Favorite books: "The first is 'The Miracle of Mindfulness' by Thich Nhat Hanh. I loved the Steve Jobs book. And 'Letters to a Young Poet.' "
Photo/Video credit: Sophie Kuller