Gift for acting

11-year-old Eden Wiggins, of Joppatowne, will appear in an episode of the CBS drama "A Gifted Man" at 8 o'clock Friday night. (Photo Courtesy of Harford County / October 10, 2011)

Two years ago she starred in a nationwide commercial for AT&T. On Friday, you can see 11-year-old Eden Wiggins in an episode of the CBS drama "A Gifted Man" at 8 p.m.

For Eden, starring in a popular TV series is just the tip of the iceberg of what she hopes to accomplish.

Eden, who lives in Joppatowne with her mother and father, Lureen and Adrian Wiggins, and two siblings Arielle, 9, and Adrian Jr., 6, has wanted to be an actress since she was 3 years old, her mom explained.

"Since she was little she always wanted to be on TV," Wiggins said.


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As Eden explained, "I wanted to get into acting because I saw people on TV and I saw them and they looked like they were happy. I said, 'Why can't that be me?'"

The Magnolia Elementary student got her big break in 2009 when she won the role of a little girl looking for her lost dog in an AT&T commercial that starred basketball player Tyler Hansbrough. Now, she's acting alongside Patrick Wilson, star of the series, who has also acted in the movies "Watchmen" and "Phantom of the Opera."

In tonight's episode, titled "In Case of Separation Anxiety," Eden filmed in New York for about a week. Eden plays Tasha Maxwell, a girl who winds up in a car accident with her mother. This horrible accident, Wiggins said, is a blessing in disguise because doctors find out that Tasha has a congenital brain disorder.

"Oh, it was nice," Wiggins said of the whole experience. She said she and her daughter would get up very early in the morning for frequent 6 or 6:30 a.m. call times at Silvercup Studios, but they didn't mind. "They feed you well in the morning," she laughed. Since the family is originally from New York, the two stayed with family during filming.

"It was an amazing, amazing experience," Eden said. "The sets were amazing. I thought I was in an actual hospital." She even liked getting tubes stuck through her hair so it appeared as if blood was coming out of her head.

"It was a lot of work because they had to do the same scenes over and over again from different angles and different ways," she said. But it was all worth it to be on her very first TV show. "I'm ecstatic."

Eden also got to meet and work along with the show's star, Patrick Wilson, and director Jonathan Kaplan. As a souvenir, she was able to keep a piece of fake glass from the car accident scene.

"She's a champ, especially when it's something she likes to do," Wiggins said about how Eden handled the early mornings and hard work. "She loves an audience."

Eden even gets an audience at school — kids recognize her from the AT&T commercial.

"The biggest change is that people recognize her and want to know how she got to do that [commercial]," she said. Wiggins insists that she's just like any other kid, though, working hard and maintaining her grades.

"She does well in school, so it [acting] doesn't affect her grades," she said. "In order to work or whatever, you have to maintain good grades. Otherwise, you can't get working papers," Wiggins explained.

Where Eden goes from here is completely up to her, but she's not just limiting herself to TV. In the meantime, Eden is focusing on her schoolwork and continues to go on auditions.

When asked what else she wants to do — singing, dancing, movies, a Broadway show — she confidently said, "I want to do all of those." And she means it. Eden, who also loves music, has already written two songs, saying they're songs "that would make you smile."