Photo Credits: Stella Saldo
Life seemed to be going perfect for 14-year-old, Belle – she was just entering high school as a freshman and already was the class president. She had excellent grades, high ambitions and was truly an overachiever, until one day, it all changed. Belle all of a sudden found out that her mom disappeared, and trying to cope with this sudden loss, Belle turned to an online community that she thought was actually helping her. The online community encouraged Belle that by going on a diet, she can control her life even more, however, Belle eventually ended up going on an extreme diet that led to anorexia and her neglecting her schoolwork and presidential responsibilities. Belle turned to her new online friend, Ally, for dieting tips and tricks to help convince everyone – from her family to her friends that everything was okay; but the truth is, it wasn’t. Belle continued to fast, faint and purge as she tried to reach an “Ultra Low Goal Weight,” and it wasn’t until the freshman dance where Belle had to make her presidential speech, that Belle finally realized who her online friend Ally really was and how life isn’t perfect at all times.
With eating disorders continuing to be a life-threatening struggle for many people, 23-year-old writer and director, Marlee Roberts helps bring awareness to eating disorders like anorexia with her eye-opening and touching film, “Little Miss Perfect,” which premiered at the closing night of the Irvine International Film Festival in Laguna, California. Who plays the lead role in her extraordinary film? Marlee Roberts’ incredibly talented, younger sister, 16-year-old, Karlee Roberts. At 23-years-old, Marlee Roberts has already written and directed her very own film that continues to help many people who struggle with an eating disorder. Her sister, Karlee Roberts, is an exceptional actress who has just recently been accepted into Columbia University in NYC. It’s clear to see that these young ladies are truly so admirable, focused, and accomplished at such young ages and they continue to prove themselves as excellent role models to this generation as young ladies who are working hard and making their dreams into realities.
On January 21, 2016, Marlee Roberts celebrated the premiere of her film “Little Miss Perfect” during the closing night of the Irvine International Film Festival. At the event, many of Marlee Roberts and Karlee Roberts’ friends came out to support the premiere including Izzy Palmieri, Nick Alvarez, Izabella Alvarez, Jaheem Toombs, Maeve Tomalty, Jovan Armando, Brady Reiter, Charlie Swan, Gabriella Scerbo and Laura Krystine. After the premiere, there was a Q&A session as well as a festival award ceremony where Karlee Roberts was honored with the “Honorary Mention Awards to Emerging Child Actors”. A big, big congratulations to Karlee Roberts on another spectacular accomplishment!
Kevin Derek, Festival Director of the Irvine International Film Festival, stated that Karlee Roberts was given her award as “Every year Irvine International Film Festival gives out Honorary Mention Awards to Emerging Child Actors for their outstanding performance.”
After winning the “Best Emerging Actress” award, Karlee Roberts stated, “It was an honor to attend the festival, let alone get an award. This award means a lot because it serves as a sort of validation that my hard work as an actress is recognized, not just by my sister who directed the picture and believed in me, but by a larger audience as well. It’s been an incredible journey playing Belle.”
When asked about the inspiration behind why she wrote “Little Miss Perfect,” Marlee Roberts stated, “Little Miss Perfect began first as an adaptation of the traditional French fairytale “La Belle et la Bete,” popularly known in English as “Beauty and the Beast”. The adaptation borrowed Belle’s studious perfectionistic nature and combined it with the Beast’s shame and temper. Similar to that of the original story, Belle was given a father who sets off on a work venture, a mother who is out of the picture and a confident bordering-on-arrogant suitor. However, as I continued working on the screenplay, it transformed into its own story and the themes from the classic fairytale have become only symbols in which we pay homage to the original tale. While not completely autobiographical, I wrote the character of Belle from my personal experience in high school struggling with similar themes I’ve come to realize many girls are facing: social exclusion, body image, and family disconnection. The film aims to tell the story of a girl who struggles to control her life by controlling her weight. This need for “control”, much like our protagonist Belle, had led me to research the psychological and behavioral effects of those who deal with similar issues.”
“Little Miss Perfect” is one movie that will truly inform a lot of viewers about the impact of and how life-changing struggling with an eating disorder is, and how, with the help of the right people, we can help loved ones who are struggling with an eating disorder. Marlee Roberts stated, “I hope that audiences watching Little Miss Perfect go home learning something about themselves. I don’t want to shove any messages or morals down anyone’s throat and at the same time, I don’t want audiences to leave empty-handed. It’s a balance. I hope the film fosters a dialogue for any of the many themes it presents.”
The multi-talented Marlee Roberts has always had a passion for the wonderful world of film-making and stated that, “[her] transition from in-front-of-the-camera to behind-the-camera occurred when [she] had to choose what [she] wanted to study in college. [She] had been writing for a while prior but [her] acceptance to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts for Film/TV production made the ability to make that transition a reality.”
Marlee’s advice for those who want to enter in the bustling entertainment world? “Buckle down and get ready for hard work. It’s not all glitz and glam. By the time you reach the red carpet, you’ve already shed a lot of blood, sweat and tears. Oohh, maybe that’s why they call it a red carpet? Therefore, if you are in it for the wrong reasons, you won’t last. And if you are in it for the right reasons, it’s just a matter of perseverance. My dear mentor James Simpson always says, “If it were easy, everyone would do it”.
Marlee and Karlee Roberts are truly inspirations to all of their fans, peers, and people in general and here at Alexisjoyvipaccess.com, I would like to send a big congratulations to them on all of their sensational accomplishments and continued successes with their careers!
Check out more photos below from Marlee Roberts’ premiere of her movie, “Little Miss Perfect” at the Irvine International Film Festival below. Marlee Roberts stated, ” Little Miss Perfect is partnering with the Museum of Tolerance in NYC to host screenings of the film in late February. Other screenings and festivals are TBA. Info will be announced on our mailing list and social media sites! (http://www.littlemissperfectmovie.com/ & https://www.facebook.com/littlemissperfectmovie/ )” so stay tuned and be sure to see “Little Miss Perfect” when it comes to a theatre near you!