The Road to Nashville

Kourtney Horner

For this Drake alumna, it’s paved with success

Sometimes you have to take a chance and see what comes of it. That’s what Kourtney Horner, AS’03, a theatre alumna, did in 2008 when she moved to Nashville to see if she could make it as an actor. She has. Not only is Horner a correspondent for CMT Insider and the broadcast personality for the Nashville Predators, the city’s NHL team, but she also scored a supporting role in the ABC TV series that shares the name of her new hometown. Drake Blue talked with Horner about her recent success.

How did you land the part of Emily, assistant to Juliette Barnes, on Nashville?

My talent agent arranged the audition—he convinced the casting agent and me that I would get the role. When I auditioned, it was for a pilot; there was no guarantee the show would be picked up. I kept thinking, “I’m from Des Moines. There is no way I will be involved in something this big.” When I watched the first episode, I couldn’t comprehend the extent of its reach. It is so crazy.

Connect with Kourtney

Kourtney Horner, professionally known as Kourtney Hansen, is one of Drake’s very own TV stars. To connect with Kourtney and watch her in action:

What have you learned from the experience?

Television is a different world than theater. Short scenes, camera work … and the number of people working on the production is incredible. I’ve learned to trust my training. I credit my acting and theater classes at Drake for how far I’ve gotten in my career.

What changes has your work on Nashville brought to you personally?

Financially it’s nice—but it’s not exactly stable. My character is not a regular on the show, so I’m always wondering if Emily will be in the next episode. But I’m getting more offers to do things, and I seem to get greater consideration for auditions. The best part is people I haven’t talked to in years are telling me they are proud of me.

What has been your biggest surprise about the entertainment business?

People aren’t as ruthless as I would have thought. If you are genuine and honest, then people will help you and look out for you.

What advice do you have for actors starting their careers?

Be in it for the craft, not the money. Don’t get discouraged. Have faith in yourself and keep going.

What is your favorite Drake memory?

Meeting two of my best friends. Every show that I did. And Deena Conley. All my professors were wonderful, but Deena sticks out. She was easy to talk to and gave us realistic scenarios. She didn’t sugar coat anything. That has helped me a lot in this business.

What do you do when you visit Des Moines?

I go the University Book Store to buy something Drake to wear around Nashville, and I enjoy time with family (who are almost all in Iowa) and friends.

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