Arts & culture, Film, Literature, People, Profiles

Off-script at Berkeley: How one graduate made a home on campus apart from her twin

Bianca D’Ambrosio, who’s graduating with a double major in film and English, has been an actor in L.A. with her identical twin sister since she was 3.

Bianca D'Ambrosio (right) and her identical twin sister, Chiara, on set of "The Bay," a digital daytime series they've been on together for several years.
Courtesy of Bianca D’Ambrosio

I started acting when I was 3. I’m an identical twin, and my parents were told when we were babies that they should put us in acting. Child actors are limited in the number of hours they can work, so if two kids play one character, they can work more hours. My parents were adamant at first, like, “No, no, we need to let them be babies.” But after a couple of years, they decided to put us in one audition to see if we liked it. We caught the acting bug and still love it.

Bianca with her twin Chiara at age 3 with a woman who played their mom on The Young and the Restless
At age 3, Bianca and her sister, Chiara, got their first acting gig: They played the same character, Summer Newman, in The Young and the Restless. Here they are with Michelle Stafford, who played their mom on the daytime drama.
Courtesy of Bianca D’Ambrosio

Our first part was in The Young and the Restless, where we played a character named Summer Newman. One of my favorite memories on the show was a Halloween episode, where I got to eat a lot of candy. Through my experience on set, I became very social as a kid. I really liked being around people and trying new things. At a young age, I became fascinated by the entertainment business.

My sister and I started homeschooling in the first grade. We’d do our schoolwork and go to auditions throughout the week. If I was working on set, I’d do my schoolwork there, so I didn’t fall behind. My parents always instilled in us the importance of education.

I graduated from high school when I was 16 and started as a student at UC Berkeley in fall 2022, when I was 17. I’d always admired Berkeley, but I never thought I would be accepted here. When I found out I got in, I was shocked. I didn’t know how to react.

Part of me was scared to have a new experience. I was born and raised in L.A. and had never left home before. I’d been with my sister all our lives. We did everything together. Part of me wanted to go to college with her, too, but another part of me was like, “Let’s just have separate experiences and learn from that.” So, I went to Berkeley to study film and English, and she’s getting her BFA in screenwriting at the University of Southern California.

I’m so grateful I decided to take that leap.

It was difficult at first, finding a balance. I felt like a fish out of water. My first semester was especially hard because I was adjusting to college and working at the same time on a show called The Bay, a digital daytime series I appear on alongside my sister. I was juggling a lot of emotions at once.

Bianca poses for a graduation portrait on the Berkeley campus
After graduation, D’Ambrosio plans to return to L.A. to continue her acting career, with new knowledge of the industry, writing and directing that she gained at Berkeley.
Courtesy of Bianca D’Ambrosio

I became part of a few organizations during my time on campus. Each one brought incredible people into my life. I joined the Tri Delta sorority because I was far away from home and didn’t have my twin sister with me. I knew I wanted to have friendships that felt like sisterhood, and I wanted to have something that felt like home up in Berkeley. After two years, and about to leave, I feel like they are my sisters.

It was always my plan to graduate early and get back home to my family and the entertainment industry. I took 20 credits each semester, summer classes during the SAG-AFTRA strike and some community college courses on top of that.

My two years here were filled with many stressful days, plenty of cups of coffee and some of the happiest moments of my life. Looking back, I would do it all again the same way.

One of my most memorable experiences was taking a television writing class with J. Mira Kopell last semester. Being in a writer’s room and learning from my peers was a very valuable experience. There was so much I didn’t know going into it. We developed characters and mapped out a season of a TV show. Learning how to form storylines changed my perspective, not only as a writer, but as an actor.

I’m excited to go home and get back to doing what I love with a newfound knowledge of the industry, writing and directing. I truly have become a different person through my experiences at Berkeley.I always think back to little Bianca on the set of The Young and the Restless and just think, “Wow, she’d be so proud of me right now.”