Local actresses recount their roles on Dwayne Johnson’s show “Ballers”

The two had guest spots on the popular HBO series

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – When you’re an up-and-coming actress getting a role in an “A-list” show is everything. And that’s what happened to Kirsten Harwood and Arica Anderson. Harwood is a Jacksonville-based model & actress and Anderson is an actress who just starred in the movie “Traders”.

This story really started in 2014 when Harwood visited a WWE show with a former boyfriend. She said he was in the band “Rev Theory” at the time and was asked to write the opening music for WWE star Randy Orton. While she was there she was surprised to be taken backstage.

“I went in thinking, Oh, I’m going to watch this whole thing up front see what wrestling’s all about,” Harwood said. “We were actually stuck backstage for a good 14 or 15 hours with all of these different wrestlers that obviously I knew nothing about.” A couple of the high-profile names she bumped into were Mr. T and Dwayne Johnson, who was there performing as the Rock.

(L to R) Kirsten Harwood and Mr. T and The Rock (Courtesy of Kirsten Harwood)

Awkwardly for Harwood, she wasn’t familiar with the Rock’s wrestling background.

“One of the most embarrassing moments of my life I was like why is he here? I’ve only seen him on movies,” said Harwood. “So that was pretty embarrassing. After that, I got to know him a little better. Great guy.”

She added her boyfriend pulled her aside and told her, “Don’t say that out loud again.”

About a year and a half later Johnson enters her life again when Harwood and Anderson were approached by producers for the hit HBO series “Ballers,” which was a Dwayne Johnson-produced show about life for pro athletes in Miami.

“We had always done modeling, so this was opening the door for us to express ourselves in acting,” Anderson said. “And it was just the most amazing experience. The Rock was so poised.”

The two said their scenes were in a nightclub setting and there were hundreds of people on the set at the time. They said Johnson appeared to have a “bubble” of people around him everywhere he went. They said the day of shooting lasted around 12 hours after arriving on set around 5 or 6 in the morning.

Kirsten Harwood and Arica Anderson (WJXT)

Their roles were minor in the episode but the two said they had to be there for the several-hour process of filming a major show. “They are rearranging people constantly and the scenes,” Harwood said.

The experience was a memorable one for the two. They will share their story on the next episode of the “Going Ringside” podcast which is slated to be released Wednesday, August 23rd. That episode will chronicle the rise of the Anoa’i family, which is the Rock and WWE Champion Roman Reigns’ family.

Anderson said the experience pushed her to pursue acting even further, which is why she went on to star in her first feature film “Traders.”

“Now I know, playing a lead. I love this, I’m able to really show my character and who I want to be,” Anderson said.