Bella Heathcote on How Heath Ledger Helped Launch Her Career

Bella Heathcote Pride and Prejudice and Zombie premiere - P 2016
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In 2010, Bella Heathcoate hopped a plane to Los Angeles with the help of Heath Ledger.

Ledger passed away in 2008 of an accidental drug overdose, after which his family and friends established the Heath Ledger Scholarship in his honor, with the goal of helping aspiring Australian actors begin their careers.

The Melbourne-born actress, then 22, was the second recipient of the scholarship, which included $10,000 and airfare to Los Angeles. The honor was presented to Heathcoate by Ledger’s close friend Colin Farrell.

“When you are doing the first rounds of meetings in L.A.— that first six months where you meet with anyone … to be associated with that name was a huge help and honor,” she said.

Six years after getting on the plane to Los Angeles, the actress, now 29, found herself on another plane, this time to Cannes for the world premiere of her latest film Neon Demon.

Newcomer Ashleigh Cummings was announced as this year's recipient of the Heath Ledger Scholarship at the Australian in Film gala, which took at the Beverly Hills Hotel at the beginning of this month.  

Regarding advice she would offer future recipients of the scholarship, Heathcote said, "You have that seal of approval now, so just go for it. Just keep going, there's always gonna be ups and downs and both of them are temporary."