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Sudanese-Minnesotan Juggles College, Hollywood

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(credit: CBS) Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – As Kuoth Wiel wore her Augsburg College robe, she looked antsy like many grads. Her graduation day emotions may seem typical, but what’s going on in her life right now, and what happened in her past, are far from it.

She was born in the Sudan, but escaped with her parents during a civil war which claimed the lives of two million people.

“Because of the war, we went to Ethiopia because it was safer than where we were,” Wiel said.

A rescue organization brought Kuoth and her family to Minnesota. And a lot of hard work brought her to graduation day.

“I’m studying social psychology. Once I get out of school, I wanted to work for the U.N.,” she said.

But that will have to wait because Kuoth already has a job. In fact, she’s spent the last six weeks of college out of class and on-location of a Hollywood movie starring Reese Witherspoon.

She’s been emailing her assignments to her professors from the movie set in Atlanta.

Kuoth says a friend told her filmmakers were looking for Sudanese actors. She had no acting experience but had done some modeling. She auditioned online.

“I met the director over Skype, and then they flew me out to Atlanta to go to rehearsals,” she said.

“The Good Lie” is about a suburban mom who takes in orphans from Sudan. Kuoth will play one of the children.

“Basically, I’m having a good experience so far. All the actors, Reese Witherspoon, Corey Stone and Sarah Baker have been tremendous and they’re really great. They’ve helped me be more open,” she said.

Soon she will travel with cast and crew to South Africa to finish the shoot. Hours after walking the stage at her graduation, she flew back to stand in front of the camera.

Kuoth isn’t sure if acting or international relief will be her focus. But whatever road she takes, it seems a Hollywood ending is in store.

“I just want to see where it goes,” she said.

“The Good Lie” is still in production, but may hit theaters by December.

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