You can live a Hollywood life in Fernley
FERNLEY – As might be expected, these women who earn paychecks from Hollywood movie productions had no grand designs to live in faraway Fernley.
Circumstance brought Toni Suttie and Kris Hemenway to Fernley and both women easily mix rural lifestyle with the hectic movie world.
“In Fernley, I was able to buy a place and a horse,” said Hemenway. “It’s a little difficult to have a horse and 30 feet of snow.”
She and Suttie spent plenty of time in Los Angeles. Suttie eventually returned to her native Santa Clara and Hemenway moved to Lake Tahoe in 1984.
Hemenway arrived in Fernley in 1994 and Suttie followed in May 1996.
“I never thought I’d live in Fernley, Nevada,” Hemenway said. “I never thought I’d live in Nevada. No way. I hate Las Vegas.”
Suttie still has an office in Santa Clara and nearly every week she splits time between the South Bay and Fernley. She generally spends more time in Fernley and she hopes to make Fernley her full-time office.
Suttie got introduced to this area on a family trip to Pyramid Lake.
“We just fell into this little town,” Suttie said. “I moved to Nevada because I wanted to get away from the business for a while. I wanted to go somewhere where no one knew me.”
Soon enough, no one became everyone.
“I like the small town where everybody knows everybody,” Suttie said. “I like that people treat you like you’re just another person.”
Suttie’s job brings her constant work to provide actors for movies, industrial video and commercials. She figures she casts about 300 to 400 people a year.
Hemenway has more of a boom-or-bust career. When on assignment, she works long hours for weeks and months on end. Then she has endless time to spend with family until the next job.
Suttie does her work at her Integrity Casting office in downtown Fernley. When Hemenway works, she’s nearly always away from Fernley, joining the film crew wherever they are in Northern Nevada.
Home means Fernley, though, for Hemenway.
“I like the simplicity of being in a smaller community,” Hemenway said. “I like going into a restaurant and they greet you by name and half-know what you’re going to order.”