ELKO — Elly Stefanko is on the up and up.
She is releasing a music video on MTV and landed her first acting role in the Hollywood thriller “Huff.”
Stefanko, 22, spent a few years of her childhood in Elko. Her father, Bob Stefanko, works as a local doctor. With ties locally, Elly is bringing her musical talents to the stage at the Indian Colony Gymnasium for a free benefit concert March 9.
Stefanko has been singing since she was a young girl, as she spent her time learning and memorizing songs of artists such as Celine Dion and Alanis Morissette. When she moved from Elko to California, she began to sing Christian music on Sunday nights at the Crystal Cathedral.
With a difficult industry to break into, Stefanko decided to try her hand at acting, an effort that proved worthwhile.
“I just started doing a bunch of auditions and taking acting classes and I ended up landing a role,” she said during an interview with the Elko Daily Free Press.
Stefanko and her promoter Paul Broxton, who is from Nashville, were visiting her father in Elko when they decided to put together a benefit concert with proceeds going to the Indian Colony Gym to help with recreation, such as hiring referees. Proceeds will also benefit the Committee Against Domestic Violence.
In “Huff,” Stefanko plays Shay, the daughter of Charlie O’Connell, an abusive father of three. Although she couldn’t give away too many of the movie’s details, she said the movie is a thriller and O’Connell’s character is a dark figure throughout the film.
“The hard thing is you’re always running away from someone and screaming, but your voice gets kind of tired,” Stefanko said. “I would be using all my energy that day so I wouldn’t be able to sleep until 4 or 5 in the morning because of all my energy.”
In one day of shooting, Stefanko had to muster up tears about 30 times.
“I see a picture in my head visually and I snap into it really fast,” she said of crying on camera.
With a movie role and a promoter who handles musicians such as country music singer T. Graham Brown, Stefanko’s music career is taking off as well.
She is in the process of releasing a new single, “Spoiled,” in Panama City in the coming weeks. Although she likes to write music that spans genres from pop to country to blues, she fell in love with the edgy pop song that fits well with the club scene. Broxton said the video of “Spoiled” will be released on MTV next month.
“I think kids would like it and I can relate to that song and girls can relate to it,” Stefanko said. “I think every girl wants to be spoiled.”
She will perform “Spoiled” during the benefit concert scheduled for 7 p.m.-midnight March 9 at the Indian Colony Gym. Admission is free, but donations are welcome to benefit the local charities.
The concert will also feature a battle of the bands. Organizers are seeking local bands to compete for a grand prize of $1,500. There is a $300 entry fee.
To sign up for the battle of the bands, contact Broxton at 714-270-1729.
“If you can come out and just enjoy music and enjoy bringing your family out there and just get away for one day from the computers and everything and enjoy the music — that’s what it’s all about,” Broxton said.
He said the goal is to give back to the community.
“I think society needs to put back in the community and have things for kids to do,” Broxton said. “You have to be a positive role model.”