It took Nashville the TV show to keep Kelly Anne Ross in Nashville the city.
Just 10 months ago, Ross — a buyer and set decorator for film and television — was ready to pack up and move to Atlanta. With Tennessee’s film incentives program lagging behind those in many other states, work had dried up, so she put her house up for sale.
Then one day, the phone rang. It was someone from the production team of a new ABC prime-time series about our city, asking her to join the crew. She took her house off the market.
It was a great relief. As passionate as she is about film and TV work, Ross is just as passionate about Nashville, where she’s been living for 18 years. “I love my neighbors, I love East Nashville, I love my friends,” she says.
Ross began her career on the other side of the camera, as an actor, living for 12 years in New York City. But after assisting a production designer on a six-week film shoot on Long Island, she realized she preferred life behind the camera.
“In front of the camera,” Ross says, “I’m not skinny, I’m not tall. And it was always such a struggle. It was always that ‘character actress’ thing. And I was like, ‘Really?’ ”
For Nashville, Ross is a buyer. “I describe my job as the relentless pursuit of stuff,” she says. “Twelve hours a day.”
On a recent Friday, she had to rustle up some Restoration Hardware furniture for a shoot just a few days later. She managed to track it down in Baltimore, and despite a massive winter snowstorm on the East Coast, get it delivered in the nick of time.
“That kind of stuff keeps me awake at night,” she says. “Where’s the truck? Is he off to the side of the road?”
And it’s nonstop. “Today they wanted woven textured silver placemats,” she says. “At least 24. Along with everything else on my to-do list. And they say, ‘Oh, and it’s going to shoot tonight. Good luck.’ So I put on my most Zen face and started making phone calls and Googling ‘silver placemats.’ ”
Not that she’s complaining. Ross loves working on the show, and hopes she can continue to find enough work to stay here.
“I like the fact that I live in Nashville, and I have two Academy Award-winning movies on my résumé: Walk the Line and The Green Mile. Now mind you, I was the tiniest of cogs on those movies. But I’m proud of it. There are people who spend their entire careers out of Los Angeles and they don’t have that.”
The Model Citizen: Karen Elson
The Advocate: Paul Kuhn
The Cook: Tallu Schuyler Quinn
The Busker: Mike Slusser
The Cleaner: Sharon Reynolds
The Mobilizer: Remziya Suleyman
The Believer: Theron Denson
The Maker: Zoe Schlacter
The Animators: Magnetic Dreams
The Arthouse Ambassador: Sarah Finklea
The Picker: Rory Hoffman
The Singer: Ruby Amanfu
The Educator: Ellen Gilbert
The Air Drummer: Steve Gorman
The Artist: Martin Cadieux
The Chef: Yayo Jiménez
The Futurist: Ken Gay
The Commissioner: Many-Bears Grinder
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