Why have I chosen the crazy and unpredictable career of being an actor? Wouldn't it be easier if the soundtrack of my life wasn't the loudly resounding "no" that I hear bouncing off the walls of my skull? No matter how hard I try to move in another direction, I'm always led right back here. Back to sitting in my bed pouring over scripts, back to having schizophrenic conversations with myself in the car while memorizing lines, and back to the long days at work so I can afford to ride the emotional roller-coaster that is being an actor.
Being an actor isn't a choice. I never had a choice in the matter. I think it all started the moment the OB-GYN first saw me in my birthday suit and stamped "actor" on my forehead. I danced on over to the maternity ward and I have been putting on a show ever since. As much as I wanted to kick ball change my way through life, growing up wasn't all sunshine and lollypops. My teenage angst drove me all the way downtown to a small but reputable theater called Valley Youth Theatre where I got to sing to the birds, be massacred by a giant peach, and prance up the magical staircase to the Heaviside Layer.
If I could bottle one memory from my childhood, it would be my final performance of CATS. A youth theater doing a production of CATS, you ask? Yes, that's right. We had a New York director/choreographer, Tony Spinosa, we had the touring set, and we had the heart. I'll never forget standing as Grizabella on the stage of the Herberger Theater Center, giving every ounce of my 17-year old self to the song, "Memory." On the Herberger stage, singing in full cat garb, I was able to fix something inside myself.
From there, I did what most theater-loving high-schoolers do: I applied to various undergraduate musical theater programs. My father flew me all over the country to visit and audition for top-of-the-line theater machines. When he'd finally had enough, he yanked opened the doors and pushed me out right as we passed over Philadelphia, PA, where I made a four-year pit stop at The University of the Arts. Guess we've all got to fly on our own sometime!
I graduated with Honors from The University of the Arts with a Bachelor of the Fine Arts in Theater Arts. I took my diploma, framed it, and carted it along to my 500 square foot hole-in-the-wall that we New Yorkers call an apartment. While my diploma has lived on various walls in the last five years, it has always remained safe and sound. I have cherished my education like I have cherished that diploma.
When I first got to New York, I went early to every ECC and EPA hoping to get seen in the non-union pile. With a lot of persistence and a little luck, my Equity card came in the form of a show called SPANK! The Fifty Shades of Grey Parody. The musical parody was written by Second City in Toronto and opened up the world of comedy for me. I learned that I'm funny sometimes. When I returned home from a year-long tour, I started my journey at The Upright Citizen's Brigade. It is here that I became best friends with Amy Poehler. One day she will learn of our friendship as well.
In the hopes of becoming one of the greats, I did class after class, met with casting directors and agents and went to countless auditions. It's a big city, and eventually, I lost my footing. I was walking around on auto-pilot hoping Siri would tell me when I had reached my final destination. I was just about to give up when I heard her say, "your destination is on the left." I looked up and I was standing right in front of the MN Acting Studio. Matt Newton, the founder and head coach, saw my potential and helped me see it as well.
That, ladies and gentlemen, was the beginning of a budding film career. Matt Newton gave me the tools to swim through shark infested waters, scale a ridiculously high castle, and dramatically rescue my damsel in distress… but when I finally arrived to the fairytale ending I had so longed for and looked out over my city, I realized that my heart no longer beat for the skyscrapers of New York, but rather, it longed for the palm trees and clean eating of Los Angeles, California.
As "I hopped off the plane at L.A.X, with a dream and my cardigan," I almost immediately experienced a massive earthquake: my good friend passed away in his sleep. I thought moving from the Big Apple was going to be life changing, but this shook me to the core. The only way to climb out of the dark hole I was living in was to write. Writing became an incredibly spiritual process for me. The impossible no longer seemed impossible because of what I had learned from losing a loved one.
So here I am, a superhero in the making. I fight to tell my story through all forms of art, so that one day, I can help someone else climb out of their own dark hole.