By Jonathan Allen Fort Mill Times
(Published February 15, 2006)
Nightmares At The Mill, LLC & Forever Young Productions


FORT MILL -- Tiffany LeShai has always sought out the spotlight.
At 3 she began mugging in front of the camera for commercials. She went on to roles in movies and TV shows and competed in beauty pageants all throughout school.

"It wasn't anything my mother ever pushed me to do," she said. "I was a princess, I always wanted to do it."  CONTINUED

LeShai, a Fort Mill resident, recently landed her first major starring role in a movie called "The Mill." It's set in an abandoned mill in Landis, N.C., where it was filmed in just 12 days. LeShai is one of eight costars in an ensemble cast for the thriller.

"The Mill" is the story of eight college friends who spend a weekend partying in an abandoned mill. All hell breaks loose and the characters are left trying to figure out who done it. Along the way they run into dogs, rats, spiders and roaches, "things you would expect to find in an old mill," LeShai said

"The things I'm really scared of, my character was scared of," she said. "And they all got brought to the set."
LeShai, 25, and her costars don't know how the film ends though; they shot multiple endings. The producers wanted to make sure none of the surprises get out before the movie does.

Not only was the mill haunted in the film, producer Maxann Crotts-Harvey, said it is haunted in real life.

"I really didn't like going there," Crotts-Harvey said. "A worker lost his hand in there, and they talk about the haunted hand in the mill, and some neighbors say they see red eyes in the windows at night."

Crotts-Harvey is a Rock Hill resident and has a few other films in the works that will be filmed in the Carolinas. Ralph Singleton is another producer on "The Mill." He's been in the business decades, and he predicts LeShai and her costars will be big names one day.

He said the film isn't so much a slasher as a mystery.

"If we get 10 percent of 'I Know What You Did Last Summer' and 10 percent of "The Usual Suspects", this movie will be a success," Singleton said.

Right now "The Mill" is in post-production, which means the director, editors and producers are putting the final touches on it and are shopping it around for distribution. They want it to come out around Halloween.

Meanwhile, LeShai is looking forward to auditioning for Crotts-Harvey's next film. She said even if she doesn't get an on-screen part she wants to work on the crew, because working on "The Mill" was such a great experience.

LeShai said it was her favorite project of her career so far.

"There was no complaining, no whining. If something was wrong everything stopped and we figured out what to do to fix it," she said. "We were like a family."

Of course, LeShai has a family of her own to take care of, too. She has two children, Gabriel, 4, and brother Caleb, 2. Gabriel is following in her mother's footsteps; she is listed in the credits for a part in a film called "A Tale About Bootlegging." LeShai is also in the film, set during Prohibition in Saluda, N.C.

LeShai took a few years off to have her children after appearing in a small part in "The Rage: Carrie 2" in 1999. That year she also had a small role in "Breakfast of Champions," an adaptation of a Kurt Vonnegut novel. At the time she had to leave Converse College for the shoot. She was one semester away for an associate's degree, but hasn't returned to school.

However, acting doesn't pay all the bills yet, so LeShai has also worked as a legal assistant with some local law firms.

"I do know how to do real things, and I do have a real education," she said.

But getting that education wasn't always easy. In high school, which she attended in Rock Hill, LeShai said, she was teased on a daily basis by other kids because she acted and competed in pageants.

"There were numerous times I came home crying because of what people said to me," she said. "Finally I stopped listening to them."

She said she hopes all the people who were mean to her end up reading about her when she is famous and then they'll know they were wrong.

"You can do anything you want," she said.



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