Folks of Fairview: Melanie Star Anderson

Melanie Anderson Fairview

“When I was a little girl, I would come here with my dad,” Melanie Star Anderson says of Fairview. “Dad helped an older friend in Gerton; so, we would go from North Asheville where we lived, through Fairview to see her,” she remembers fondly. “On the way, we passed Sherrill’s Inn in Hickory Nut Gap.” Anderson, “horse-obsessed” from her earliest days, was mesmerized. “The animals, the land, the beautiful house—I loved it!” What she did not know as a child, was that one day, that enchanting place would be her salvation. 

Movies on repeat

melanie anderson fairviewAnderson was born in South Carolina and raised by her dad, George Anderson. As a toddler, Melanie suffered from asthma. George, eager to help his daughter, learned that mountain air could be therapeutic for asthmatics. As a result, he moved his young daughter to WNC, her symptoms improved, and the little family made Asheville home.  

An only child of a hardworking single dad, young Melanie was frequently alone, with just her dog, Ginger, and her pony, Misty, for company. She watched a lot of TV and often took the bus to the theater downtown where she would watch the same movie on repeat. “You could get away with that back then,” she says with a laugh and then adds, “There was something utterly magical about watching the images onscreen as human stories unfolded. I desperately wanted to be a part of that world.”  

Hollywood bound

In fact, Anderson was so determined to get to Hollywood that at 14, she gathered camping gear and supplies for her and Ginger, saddled up Misty, and headed for Los Angeles. Luckily, before she got too far along her 3,000-mile journey, she stopped at a phone booth and called her dad so he wouldn’t worry. Anderson explained to him that she was simply riding her pony to California, no big deal. Naturally, George Anderson soon caught up with her. “He calmly pointed out the flaws in my plan and promised that one day, I would get to Hollywood.” He was right. It just took a few decades for his promise to be fulfilled. 

Grown and gone and back again

Time passed. The idealistic little girl became a grown-up with bills to pay; the mountain kid grew into a young woman who saw business college as a more realistic path to financial stability. Anderson traveled east, leaving her beloved mountains, for a job in central NC.  

Years later, a single mom herself longing for home, Anderson moved back to WNC. She and her 8-year-old son, David, found a house just off Garren Creek Road, not too far from Sherrill’s Inn. Their place was quiet, isolated from neighbors and traffic, so they were surprised when a teenager walked over to welcome them. She introduced herself as Karen Brookshire and invited David to ride horses with her.  

Home at Hickory Nut Gap

“And that’s how I got to know Annie Ager,” Anderson explains. “Karen worked with her!” Anderson’s eyes shine at the memory. “David and Karen became big buddies; he went to Hickory Nut Gap Farm [HNGF] every day.”  

At 13, David became a counselor for HNGF’s horse camp and Anderson became the camp administrator. “That was 2002; I just retired from there after 20 years,” she says, smiling. These days, Anderson boards her own horse at HNGF. “When I first met Annie, I was broken in many ways. She may never know how she saved me,” Anderson says, blinking fast. “Annie is the most loving and generous soul I know. She provided a haven, a healing sanctuary, for me and my son. I’ll always love her for that.”  

Like mother, like son

melanie anderson 3 fairview
Melanie and son at the Beverly Hills Hotel

As David grew, he was drawn to theater and film just like his mother had been. He took acting lessons at Flat Rock Playhouse, played in local productions, and auditioned for bigger roles when he could. His dedication to the craft led to a fortunate break: in 2011, David was cast in a Hallmark movie, under the stage name David Topp, opposite young Danielle Panabaker. He was a minor, so his mother accompanied him through it all.  

Anderson recalls, “When I stepped on that first set, I thought, ‘This is my world; these are my people!’” She began volunteering, learning film making from the ground up. 

Determination leads to opportunity

Her initiative paid off. Anderson’s innate understanding of the film industry along with her son’s raw talent caught the attention of a producer who offered her the chance of a lifetime: to co-write, direct, and produce her own short film. Anderson, professionally called Melanie Star Scot, contacted a friend who had written a screenplay and the project took shape.  

Production required long days in record heat, but at least Anderson was in her favorite spot; much of her movie was filmed right there at Sherill’s Inn and HNGF. Upon its release, her short film, The Box, starring her son and produced by the newly created Topp Scot Production Company, met with myriad accolades and critical acclaim. At last, in November 2012, Melanie Star (Anderson) Scot finally made it to Hollywood—to watch the preview of her first film. 

Award winning film and beyond

The Box won many awards, including David’s prestigious Young Actor’s Award. For Anderson, it was the start of seven or eight years of dizzying success. She wrote, produced, and directed three more short films. She and her son traveled to LA numerous times. They even lived there for a couple of years working in the industry before returning to Anderson’s heart home in Fairview. 

During the last few years, Anderson has faced obstacles that slowed her pace. Despite that, she never gave up her love of storytelling through motion pictures. Now she is back at it, searching for representation for new projects. Her contacts in the industry tell her to stay the course, that her scripts have great promise. But no one needs to tell Melanie Star Anderson to be persistent. “So many things have disrupted my journey. I want this to be my year.” No doubt, she will make that happen. 

Read more about Melanie’s work at  

Watch her films, including The Box, at 

By Aileen MItchell Lawrimore

Aileen Mitchell Lawrimore is a mother x 3, wife x 35 (years not men), minister, speaker, writer, retreat leader, and lover of beagles and books. She has a lot to say.