Jessie, 17, among the youngest to receive musical award nomination

Jessie Chan, a Steveston London secondary student who turns 18 next week, stood out among hundreds of actors in the Lower Mainland and was nominated for the Ovation! Awards.

Ovation! Awards is an annual community awards event aimed at recognizing distinguished musical theatre professionals and their productions in the Lower Mainland. It is hosted by the Applause! Musical Society.

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“I feel so incredibly honoured. I thought it was completely unexpected, but I’m so happy because my hard work finally, I feel, has begun to pay off,” Chan told the Richmond News.

Chan is one of five nominated for the Outstanding Ensemble Members for Female Actors award, for her 2017 performance at Once on This Island with the Fabulist Theatre, Cinderella with Theatre Under the Stars, and A Christmas Story with Align Entertainment.

The award is for people all over the Lower Mainland, for all ages, and Chan is one of the youngest to get nominated this year.

"I’m competing with people who have been on professional shows,” said an excited Chan.

“The award is pretty well-knwon. It (getting nominated) is insane because there are so many people here that have been ensemble in so many shows over the past year.”

Chan started dancing at age five and performing in musicals at age nine, after her mom encouraged her to try auditioning at a local production. Her debut was Molly in Annie at Gateway Theatre, and she has performed in 10 major productions.

On the day when Chan heard she was nominated for the Ovation! Awards, she received news that she had been chosen to perform the lead in a musical this year with the Fraser Valley Gilbert and Sullivan Society in White Rock.

“The key (to standing out as an actress) is to go out to as many auditions as you can and just put your face out there. Part of it is definitely your talent, but then another aspect is connecting with people,” said Chan.

Graduating at the end of the year, Chan said she is not sure yet where her future lies, as she is waiting to hear back from multiple universities as well as musical theatre colleges.

But there is one thing she is certain about.

“I know I will not stop doing (musicals) for sure for my entire life. It’s something I want to continue and pursue, whether it will be my career, I’m not sure, but I know I love this!”

The awards ceremony will take place Sunday night at the Vancouver Academy of Music.

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