Rachel Stander is an actress and collaborative artist whose work includes both network television and numerous independent shorts and features, many of which she helped to develop. She can most recently be seen in ABC’s Scandal as Deputy Press Secretary Sheila Parsons, a rookie staffer who unwittingly embarrasses the White House.
Rachel grew up in Seattle, and spent more than a decade training as a modern dancer and choreographer. She spent summers at Interlochen Arts Academy (the training ground for Felicity Huffman, Dermot Mulroney,etc.), where she performed for crowds of over 4,000 and was honored with the Maddy Award. She then attended Barnard College at Columbia University in New York City, working towards a degree in dance. After 9/11, she realized her true passion for acting and film and transferred to the University of Southern California, where she earned her BA in Theatre.
After graduating from USC, Rachel quickly found work in commercials, appearing in a campaign for Coca Cola, and voiced numerous audio books. She continued to sharpen her instincts for actor-director collaboration while studying with Judith Weston (coach to Alejandro González Iñárritu, David Chase, and more). Rachel has also studied with renowned coach and casting director Risa Bramon Garcia and in Ivana Chubbuck’s advanced class. Her work has been called “glorious” and “a thrill to watch” by writer-director Billy Ray, “incredibly detailed” by casting director Ani Avetyan, and “very grounded and polished” by casting director Lindsay Jameyson.
Rachel is currently developing two projects: In Martha’s House, an examination of Martha Graham’s rise to eminence viewed against the backdrop of her tumultuous personal life, and The Donor List, a dark comedy about a young woman tasked with choosing her own organ donor. In her spare time, Rachel is an avid photographer.