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A Leap of Faith

Galadriel Stineman’s journey from Kentucky to Hollywood stardom.
Galadriel Stineman
Just a few short months after graduating from Northern Kentucky University with her degree in radio and television, Galadriel Stineman (’07) moved to Hollywood, California, to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an actress.

Stineman gave herself nine months to make it as an actress with a backup plan of moving back to the Cincinnati area to pursue a career in broadcast journalism.

“I was a lucky fool giving myself such little time to succeed,” she says. “I knew the stakes were high when I moved there without any friends or family and with very few connections, so I hit the ground running.”

What led Stineman to take that leap of faith?

Growing up as an only child in Dayton, Kentucky, her parents often encouraged her to pursue her passions. Her father, a proponent for higher education with three degrees and her mother with a psychology degree from NKU, supported Stineman in every possible way.

“My dad wanted me to be my own person,” she says.

Stineman, who dreamt of being an actress since she was three years old, often told people growing up she would make it big in Hollywood.

“I made my preschool teacher call me Dorothy because I was such a fan of the ‘Wizard of Oz,’” she says. “When you tell people in a small town you want to be an actress, they look at you funny. But my parents always supported me unconditionally.”

Her dream of becoming an actress never wavered. When she attended NKU, Stineman set her goals on a new path that gave her the opportunity to learn both in and out of the classroom. After becoming a radio and television major, she quickly got involved on campus and learned the art of making an impact in her career path.
Galadriel Stineman with husband and children

“NKU holds a special place in my heart. It is where I learned to be a leader and teacher for my students."

Stineman made the most out of every second of her five years at NKU by joining student organizations like Student Government Association and Greek Life.

“Getting involved both in and out of the classroom really gave me experience that no other university could offer,” she says. “It was sort of like getting double the education.”

Not only did she make lasting friendships with classmates, but Stineman created bonds with NKU’s faculty and staff who gave her the confidence to pursue her dreams.

“I remember going to talk to Dr. (Russell) Proctor during office hours my senior year when I was considering pursuing being an actress in Hollywood,” she says. “I kind of thought he would talk me out of it, but he said while he had never seen me act, everything he had seen me do over the last five years had been great and to follow what I wanted to do. I can’t explain the impact that made on me.”

With the support of her peers and mentors at NKU, Stineman made the decision to move to Hollywood one week after she graduated—though the nerves about her decision were still there. Some of those supporters include Dr. Proctor and Dr. Kim Vance, who are still proudly in her corner.

“Galadriel was, quite simply, one of the best students I ever had at NKU. I’m glad the bond that began at NKU (and the NLS Retreat!) remains intact,” Professor Emeritus of Communication Dr. Proctor says. “As I’ve told Galadriel for years, I’m a card-carrying officer in her fan club.”

Vance, former director of Fraternity and Sorority Life, agrees. “As a student leader, Galadriel served without expectation of credit or celebration. Her leadership style is that of the encourager and relationship builder,” Vance says. “Watching her work with young people interested in her craft was amazing, and I know she loves teaching aspiring actors. Galadriel displays all the very best characteristics of what it means to be a member of the NKU family!”

Stineman has turned her leap of faith into a successful career in Hollywood as an actor and teacher for aspiring actors. With all of her success, she never forgets where she got her start.

“Alma mater means devoted mother. While I can’t be around much, NKU holds a special place in my heart. It is where I learned to be a leader and teacher for my students,” she says. “Sitting in the crowd at commencement, I remember feeling nervous about my decision, like I needed a sign I was doing the right thing. Then it was like that moment in the movie where everything goes quiet and everything zoomed in on me when the commencement speaker started speaking."

The commencement speaker that year was actor Steve Zahn, who was quite an accomplished actor by that time.

“Just seeing someone that had done what I was hoping to do was huge," she says. "It helped reaffirm I was making the right choice.”

As Stineman reflects on her own journey, she wants to encourage graduating seniors to not be afraid to hear the word “no” because you’ll hear it often. Never be the one to tell yourself “no.”

“Sometimes it is hard to see who you really are until you are alone and take a chance to start over again—when there is nobody to tell you who you are because of who you used to be,” she says. 

About This Article

P. Flynn Ashley
P. Flynn Ashley ('13, 15)
Contributor, NKU Magazine
Published December 2020
Photography provided
The Acting Class with Galdriel Stineman
$100 discount for NKU alumni until Dec. 31

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