Kimberly Matula was just a kid growing up in Bedford when she caught the acting bug.
"I was 11 or 12," she says. "Acting was something I had never really thought about. But my best friend at the time had a video camera. One day she said, 'Hey, wanna make a movie?'"
So they did it. They wrote a script, filmed it themselves, acting all the parts -- and they enjoyed themselves so much that, for several years to come, they kept making little movies.
"These were really dumb movies," Matula says. "Like Titanic: The Christmas Musical. I'm not kidding! We wrote our own songs, all to the tunes of Christmas songs. Really silly stuff."
But from that titanic filmmaking disaster, a budding show-business career was born.
"It became something I got so attached to and loved so much," Matula says. "I was like, 'This is what I want to do with my life.'"
And on Monday, Jan. 11, a few minutes after 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time, during a telecast of CBS' The Bold and the Beautiful, it was proclaimed to the world that she had indeed made it:
"The role of Hope Logan is now being played by Kimberly Matula," the show's announcer said.
Twelve momentous words in the life of a young actress.
"I got a lot of text messages from friends and family that day," she says. "Most of them saying just that: 'The role of Hope Logan is now being played by Kimberly Matula.' It was so exciting."
Matula -- born in Fort Worth, raised in Bedford since age 8 and a 2006 graduate of Euless Trinity High School -- is playing the 17-year-old daughter of Brooke (original cast member Katherine Kelly Lang).
The funny thing about playing Hope as a teenager is that the character was born in a 2002 episode and, in the blink of an eye, aged more than 10 years.
"So basically a little girl in ringlets goes up the stairs and about a year later she comes back down as me," Matula says. "They have a term for it in soap operas: SORAS. It means Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome. I'm not kidding. It's so funny. It's a storytelling technique that is totally accepted by viewers."
Because Hope is a teenage girl, she hasn't been thrown into any steamy romance scenes opposite 30-something co-stars. "At least not right away," says Matula, who's 21. "We're taking it slow." But she is signed on for three years, so there's no telling what kind of shenanigans she might eventually get into.
"I've already got some fun story lines, and I can't wait for people to see it," she says. "And as far as the next few years go, I am so excited to see what they throw at me. I'm sure it's going to be great."
It certainly tops what she was doing before she hooked up with B&B, as she calls the show.
"I was so happy when I booked this," Matula says, "because it meant I wouldn't have to wait tables anymore."
Not that she can justifiably complain much about the requisite struggling-actor period of her life. Compared to many of her peers, those who toiled for years before getting their big breaks, as well as those who still are hoping to break through, Matula qualifies as an overnight success.
Actually, it took her 10 months.
She moved to Los Angeles at the end of January 2009, invited by a friend who was looking for a roommate, and her first day of taping on The Bold and the Beautiful was Nov. 19.
"It was surprisingly pretty easy, only a two-audition process," she says. "I had actually auditioned for The Young and the Restless just a couple of weeks before auditioning for The Bold and the Beautiful. For Y&R, it was like five or six auditions, a very long process. So I went in for B&B and it was only two auditions and, when I had it, I was like, 'Wow, that was much easier than I expected!'"
What wasn't easy was the long wait that followed taping Matula's first couple of episodes. Nearly eight weeks passed before her B&B debut made it onto the airwaves.
Truth be told, though, that was harder on her family and friends. Her parents are David and Karin Matula of Bedford. He has his own business, a backyard water-design contracting company called Waterfalls Over Texas; she works for the Gladney Center for Adoption.
"Everyone kept telling me, 'I'm watching the show now, I'm watching the show,'" Matula says. "They were getting just a little impatient maybe. But at least it gave them the chance to figure out who the characters were and what they were like before I got on. So I guess that was a good thing."
Matula, meanwhile, was getting impatient for a different reason.
"My first episode filmed right before Thanksgiving," she says. "I worked at the very end of the week. Then we had two weeks off for Thanksgiving. So I got to work and then immediately had to stop. Then we went back for two weeks and then three weeks off for Christmas. So I kept getting so antsy, because I we kept having vacation time when I desperately wanted to be working."
Before Matula took that leap of faith and moved to L.A. last year, she was with the Kim Dawson Agency in Dallas, booking various Texas-based acting jobs while half-heartedly attending classes at the University of Texas-Arlington.
"I had taken three semesters at UTA," she says, "and they kept failing me. Weird, right? But it was because I kept booking jobs. So I wasn't going to class."
Eventually, she knew it was time to go west, time to take a chance.
"I had been thinking about coming to L.A. for about a year before I actually moved," Matula says. "Finally, I decided, 'If I don't do it now, my only reason is that I'm just too scared,' which isn't a good reason. So I did it. And it was the best decision I ever made. Now I'm doing what I love to do every day."