ATLANTA - Seven actresses from across the country tell the FOX 5 Atlanta I-Team that a nationally known, Atlanta-based Hollywood acting coach lured them into making provocative, partially nude audition videos for a TV role that didn’t exist.
One actress filed a Federal Trade Commission complaint accusing the acting coach of coercion, fraud, and revenge porn. All the women tell our I-Team they are upset because their audition videos were shared with other actresses.
They are actresses from across the country. From Los Angeles to Houston to Atlanta. All with Hollywood hopes and dreams.
Though they didn't know each other personally. They shared a common bond. At one time or another, they studied acting with a nationally known Hollywood director and acting coach, Troy Rowland. Rowland made a name for himself coaching Hillary Duff in "Lizzie McGuire."
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And more recently he could be seen on his Instagram account on the set with former Destiny's Child singer now actress Kelly Rowland.
He coaches in LA, Houston and right here in Atlanta. The FOX 5 I-Team went undercover to see what he told students he could do for them.
But it's what happened outside of class that caught our eye. The I-Team talked to 7 actresses who studied with Troy Rowland. They all say he urged them to try out for the role of a stripper in a TV series. He told them to record a sexually charged audition tape. Later, they were horrified to learn the role never even existed.
One of those actresses, who did not want her name used, filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. In her complaint, the actress told the FTC Rowland was guilty of "impersonation, coercion, fraud and revenge porn."
Rowland told at least seven actresses the role of a stripper named Keisha was supposed to be in a spin-off of the highly popular TV series "Power." Rowland sent a script for the audition tape to each one. In the script, Keisha is described as "sexy, nice body, sexual and sensual."
Rowland gave them a scene to shoot in a Strip Club private room. Instructions were clear: "she turns and shows him all she has" and she gives him "the best lap dance he has ever had."
"He saw me as vulnerable and an easy target," said Kaitlin Bryant, one of the actresses Rowland invited to audition.
"He just made everything up," added Houston actress Janika La'Shae.
Over an eight-month period beginning in 2020, in multiple cities, Rowland invited actresses to audition for this same role.
Atlanta actress Danie Coleman said his instructions were clear: "Be seductive. Wear something revealing. Don't be shy."
Rowland texted one actress and urged her to wear "See-through lingerie as well as stripper attire."
To urge them to be sexier, they say, Troy Rowland sent them provocative audition tapes made by other actresses.
"Do it like them, do it better," Dani Coleman says she was told.
"Wear something a little more revealing in this area. Show off your assets. Stay open," said Los Angeles producer, writer and actress Erika Davis.
"Everyone was like, do a little more. She did this, do a little more," said La'Shae.
Janika La'Shae from Houston and Erica Davis from California were stunned when one night in January — while they both happened to be in the acting in the same movie they compared notes and ultimately unraveled the scheme.
"It was devastating. Heart dropped. I was shaking. I didn't want to go home," said La'Shae.
"Something in me still wanted to know, what was he planning? What was he trying to do?" asked Davis.
They reached out to "Power" casting director Rori Bergman who confirmed their worst fears. There was no Keisha. No part at all. And POWER had no working relationship with Troy Rowland.
Rori Bergman told the I-Team the auditions were "reprehensible" and that "I want this guy to never be able to do this to anyone else again."
"No one had a clue that behind closed doors he's preying on women like this," said Davis.
As they grappled with what to do and who to tell, Janika La'Shae and Erika Davis realized they were far from alone. There were other women duped into provocative auditions.
"And then another girl, then another girl, then to know that my video was shared to bring these other women in," said La'Shae.
They identified five more women. The I-Team talked to all of them. 4 Kaitlin Bryant is the only one who didn't go through with her audition after a friend warned her it didn't seem right. She was stunned when she learned about the deception.
"It put me in a place. I went dark, not real. I thought it was just me.," said Bryant.
All the rest, who recorded auditions that were forwarded to other actresses share the same fear.
"Where is that video at? Here’s me in lingerie and nudity. Sexual dance. It's sick," said La'Shae.
"That was the scary moment. What are you doing with these videos?" asked Davis.
We tried to talk to Troy Rowland before one of his acting classes. He jumped in his car and speed off. He also didn't answer our earlier emails, phone calls, or texts.
Atlanta actress and producer Dani Coleman thinks she knows why.
"I think his strategy is to operate as predator, because of the strategies he is using to get women on tape. And that is wrong," said Coleman.
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