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Published July 23 2010

Morast: ND woman vies for horror crown

Gabby West says it took guts for her to leave her hometown of Bismarck three years ago and move to Los Angeles so she could pursue an acting career.

That move could soon be rewarded with West being covered in blood and guts or having her own guts ripped out.

On the big screen, of course.

West is among the cast of striking women in “Scream Queens,” VH1’s reality show looking for the next horror-movie siren. The show, which begins Aug. 2, pits aspiring actresses against each other for a role in “Saw 3-D,” the latest installment of the horror franchise that has more gore than Golden Globe-quality acting.

For West, and any of the potential “Queens,” getting killed or tortured in a “Saw” film is like a minor baseball player getting called up to the Major League.

And if this upcoming season of “Queens” is anything like the previous one, people will be talking about it. Last year the contestants were instructed through horror-movie acting “exercises” like sensually eating a piece of fruit or making cheesy trailers of mock movies.

West, with a publicist listening to the phone call, couldn’t talk about any of the challenges in this year’s season. But she did say there was a lot of pressure to perform because winning the prize was so meaningful.

“It’s up there with one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” West says.

She says it was also kind of scary signing on to a reality show knowing that the medium is reviled by so many people for being contrived or scripted.

“But it really is a truthful show,” says West, a 2003 graduate of Bismarck’s Century High School.

“Everything on the show was real. … It pretty much took away my qualms as we began to shoot.”

It might have taken away her breath, too. Word is the first episode of “Queens” puts the actresses face-to-face with a nightmare turned reality.

Since West says she wasn’t a big fan of horror movies while growing up, it’s easy to think she won’t join the ranks of CariDee English and Nicole Linkletter as North Dakota women who became reality show winners (each on “America’s Next Top Model).

But I think it could happen. West says she has a role in the upcoming remake of the ’80s horror flick “Fright Night,” which suggests she’s a good screamer. And one publicist who contacted me about West’s involvement in the show did hint at the Bismarck native being crowned the next “Scream Queen.”

We’ll have to wait and listen.

On TV


Readers can reach Forum Features Editor Robert Morast at (701) 241-5518