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Oscar-Nominated Actress Started On Path To Stardom At El Camino High

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – From Sacramento to Hollywood star, an Oscar-nominated actress may be on the big screen now, but she got her start on a local stage.

You may remember her as Celia Foote in the movie “The Help,” but people at El Camino High School remember Jessica Chastain as a talent ready to emerge.

Jessica was part of the class of 1995 and one classmate says before she even went to Hollywood, she was already a big star at home.

Her role as Celia Foote earned Jessica her first Oscar nod. She’d dyed her hair blonde for the character, far from the red hair her El Camino classmates remember about Jessica.

“The red hair and just beautiful, yes,” schoolmate Cici Robinson remembered.

Cici graduated a year after Jessica. She says even back then, some knew she’d become a star.

“If you ask Ms. Elliot, who was the drama teacher, I’m sure she would have said yes,” she said.

Snapshots in the year book her senior year show Jessica in the drama club showing off her dancing skills. Not surprisingly, her classmates voted her most talented.

“Certain people can carry poise even when they’re at that age, and she was someone that carried poise,” Cici said.

Jessica went to Sacramento City College after El Camino high. After a year, she attended New York City’s famed Juilliard School.

She’s landed roles in several films, including “Zero Dark Thirty,” a film about the manhunt for Osama Bin Laden that’s earned Jessica her second Oscar nomination.

Cici says even though Jessica left El Camino years ago, she’s not forgotten at all. In fact, they may be some of her biggest fans.

“Absolutely, anybody who is doing anything for El Camino, I’m always going to be a fan,” she said.

After Jessica’s big year in Hollywood, of course folks at El Camino would love to see her someday by her alma mater a visit.

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