2018: The Year I Loved And The Year I Lost

It’s really hard to summarize my 2018, but I’m going to try anyways. This year, some of my wildest dreams came true, but also this year, things happened in my life that took courage, strength, and lot of good cries to get through. 

In 2018, I rang in the year watching the ball drop from my office in Times Square, I signed my first lease in New York City, saw my name in a Broadway Playbill for the first time, attended 6 Broadway Opening Nights, sat in on Hamilton auditions in Puerto Rico, rode in a car with Glen Close, watched a few friends make their Broadway debuts, took a spontaneous trip to London, filmed and photographed countless celebrities, celebrated 2 weddings, and grew relationships with incredible people that I know will be in my life for a very long time.

Also in 2018, I got cavities filled, read too many heartbreaking and frustrating news stories, grieved with the OCU community through the loss of our friend Tevyn, spent a few months unemployed, lost my grandpa, let some people down, didn’t fulfill promises to myself, and began to accept that I really don’t know what I want to do with my life.

So real talk, yeah I had a lot of really amazing things happen in 2018, but I also spent a lot of time sitting on my butt with absolutely nothing to do wondering how I got to this place and when I would feel passionate about something again. (Which, side note, I think a lot of my young adult peers feel the same way. We’re not pretending to have it all together, but we’re not necessarily letting the whole world see the many moments we don’t have it all together.)

I’ve encountered so many conversations over the past few weeks about how horribly awful 2018 was. Most of the people in these conversations agree, and frankly, I think I do too. But I also recognize that many things started in 2018 that make me so freaking excited for 2019; I started new relationships, new traditions, began pursuing new opportunities, and started embracing a new outlook on my life. All of these things I started with the hope of continuing in the years to come. There’s no guarantee that 2019 will be better, but what I can do for myself is reflect on the things that made me excited, embrace the things I started, and hope for the future of what those things will become.

As cliche as it seems to look back at the end of the year, it’s so important to help us move forward. It’s a chance to take stock of the good, the bad, and the ugly, and begin a plan for what we individually can do to make sure the next year is a little better than the one we’re leaving behind. I’m looking at 2019 with an excitement for the unknown. This year, I vow to jump bravely into new experiences, go on spontaneous adventures, make more time for valued relationships, and explore new parts of New York City. I hope you too enter 2019 with excitement for whatever you started, and the things yet to come.

I know 2018 wasn’t ideal for many of us, but when does life ever give you exactly what you want? This December, I’m choosing to both reflect on the hard times that came my way, and also celebrate the good things, the milestones, the dreams achieved, and the great relationships that made the hard times a little easier to bear. One day a few years from now, I know I will look back at this year and see that good or bad, 2018 was a very important chapter of my story, whatever that story may be.

 

 

 

 

Interning in the Big (Scary Creative Life-Changing) Apple

*This was written in February of 2018 so some elements of the below information may have changed. However, I have done my best to update it to the best of my ability.

It’s that time of year! Cover letters are being prepared, resumes updated, and summer internship applications have begun! I still remember the shock I felt the day I found out that this guy I knew from school was going to be interning for one of my idols in NYC. I too had applied for that internship, more as a joke and a big dream, but when I realized that someone I personally knew and someone getting the same education as me was going to be working for her, everything I ever thought about the theatre industry in NYC was changed. It always seemed a little out of reach, or that I would always be a little under qualified. But my now friend Matt Redmond proved me wrong. And that’s why I’ve put together this blog.

Internships are extremely helpful in launching you into the theatre industry, no matter what your skillsets. So, I’ve convinced a group of my friends, most of which are very recent college grads, to share their experiences interning in NYC. We cover everything from the application process to how much money you’ll need to survive. Hopefully we can pull back the curtain a little and show you how exciting and 100% accessible a summer internship in the theatre industry can be!

First, I’m going to break down 5 different internships that my friends completed. This is just generic information, but it’ll hopefully preface the rest by showing you what exactly being an “intern” in the theatre industry means, from the viewpoint of 5 different professions within that industry.

And then, I’ve compiled our budgeting tips and generic takeaways and advice from interning in this industry so make sure you read all the way to the end!


BREAKING IT DOWN

Generally, most internships can be found on Playbill.com/jobs and you’ll probably want to choose the “internship” category. I always suggest starting to look in the fall for summer internships so you know what types of internships will be coming up and can plan extracurriculars, spring classes, and trainings accordingly to make sure your skillsets align with the jobs that you’re going for. Applications for summer internships start coming out in January and will be listed all the way up into April. I highly suggest checking every morning or at the very least, once a week, as jobs move fast and deadlines will be coming up before you know it! After you read this blog, I highly suggest checking out the website so you get a better feel for what’s out there.

CASTING – Telsey + Company (others include Tara Rubin, Stewart/Whitely, Stephanie Klapper, Binder Casting, Michael Cassara)

Working hours were Monday-Friday 10am-6pm. Daily tasks include observing casting sessions/auditions, answering the phones, filing headshots and resumes, and sometimes even calling agents and scheduling appointments for actors.

What was the application/interview processCover letter/resume > Skype Interview

What qualities/skills “got you the job”: personality, professionalism

How much did you get paid: $150/month stipend

How many internships did you apply foraround 6-8

“The connections you gain are priceless, you are truly immersed into the industry, and they truly give you the insight into the life of a casting director.”

JOURNALISM/THEATRE PUBLICATIONS – Entertainment Benefits Group (others include Broadway.com, Playbill, Theatermania, BroadwayWorld, TodayTix, The Broadway Briefing)

Working hours were three to four days a week, from 9am to 5pm. The job included learning how to utilize WordPress and copyedit on strict deadlines, writing blogs and features, and formatting stories for an e-commerce website, focused on entertainment in New York.

What was the application/interview processwriting samples/resume > 2 phone interviews

What qualities/skills “got you the job”: 5 previous internships, writing-intensive major, previous interviewing and production experience

How much did you get paid: one-time stipend for entire summer

How many internships did you apply for: had already accepted another offer when this one came up

“My favorite memory comes from a huge feature my editor let me mount — I interviewed eight separate Broadway talents, a feat I had not done at 19 years of age. The biggest perks of the internship came from the access — I was able to truly dive into interviewing some pretty big names of the theater, names to whom I had looked up for years.”

STAGE MANAGEMENT – Bay Street Theater (others include Atlantic Theater, Playwrights Horizons and Second Stage)

Working hours were 60 hrs/week working on all aspects of being a production assistant/assistant stage manager.

What was the application/interview process: It was abnormal… I got the job for the first show, then the company manager offered me the rest of the shows.

What qualities/skills “got you the job”: I would say it’s what I had learned so far but also a lot about the contacts I already had.

How much did you get paid: $100 a week

How many internships did you apply for: Every summer in college I applied to probably more than 15 jobs

“Internships can be hard but also very rewarding. Get ready to work harder than you ever had before yet you’ll meet some amazing people.”

 

THEATRE MANAGEMENT (sort of) – 54 Below (others include Roundabout, Lincoln Center, Signature Theatre, Ambassador Group, MCC, Manhattan Theatre Club)

I worked almost every day, sometimes 11-6 or 6-10. In the evenings I worked with artists on their shows, and during the day I worked with the programming staff in planning shows, carrying out contracts, and recording various data.

What was the application/interview process:  I was lucky to have a connection. It was a casual, informal interview with Jen Tepper and I was offered on the spot.

What qualities/skills “got you the job”: My versatility in the business, my people skills, and my passion for the industry.

How much did you get paid: $100/week stipend

How many internships did you apply for: I didn’t apply for anything else.

“Do it. Just do it. Intern. Be the bottom of the totem pole. Take in everything. Take notes. Watch everything. Be curious and open. Remind yourself you don’t know everything.”

 

DIGITAL MARKETING – Marathon Digital (others include AKA, SpotCo, RPM, Serino Coyne, Situation)

I was in the office three days a week for about six hours each day. Beyond daily tasks like checking Google Alerts, my job included copywriting for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and well as helping with opening nights.

What was the application/interview process: cover letter the length of 2 tweets > in-person interview

What qualities/skills “got you the job”: it was a combination of passion, in-depth knowledge of theatre, and a high recommendation

How much did you get paid: unpaid, able to receive college credit

How many internships did you apply for: probably 15-20

“One of the most interesting tasks for me was going through show scripts and b-roll to find potential material to use. It was just so interesting and creatively fulfilling to find gif-worthy footage or a quote to use as a show’s hashtag.”


BUDGETING

Okay so now that we’ve introduced you to a few types of internships in NYC and what they entail, let’s talk about the toughest part: budgeting.

I personally spent 3 months in a completely unpaid internship and budgeted $2,000/month including rent, which was definitely more than I needed to survive, but I agreed on the number with my parents and worked to pay them back little by little. I also ended up getting a part time job selling merchandise at night 4-5 times a week after my 10-6 internship. I made the sacrifice so I could spend the other 2-3 nights a week doing fun things and seeing shows. I know that everyone’s budget and resources can be vastly different, so here are a few opinions from my fellow intern friends on how their budgeting went during their internships.

“For the entire summer, I had a budget of about $3,000 — it was an incredibly tight summer. Almost all of my funds went to my living arrangements. I never ate out, and I really learned how to cook for the first time! That summer taught me the importance of saving often and remaining mindful of even the smallest expenses. (AKA — make your own cup of coffee each morning!)

I would highly suggest saving some money two – three months’ prior you embark on the internship journey. My budget per week was around $250.00 – this fluctuated because sometimes I would spend more and sometimes less. (NYC is quite expensive.)

“Don’t be afraid to eat ramen and dollar pizza a lot… no joke. Just walk it off. Also don’t stress, things work themselves out. Make sure an internship that doesn’t pay well at least leaves you time for a part time job.”

“My budget was very sad and living in the Hamptons was hard with no money… But eating at home and not drinking out would be my biggest suggestions.”

A few facts to keep in mind:

  • For a sublet in Manhattan, expect to pay at least $850-$1000/mo plus utilities
  • A monthly unlimited MetroCard is $127 (about $4/day)
  • Minimum wage in NYC is $15.00/hr
  • You really can get a large slice of pizza for $1

WORDS OF WISDOM

Because we all need them.

-Internships can be hard but also very rewarding. Get ready to work harder than you ever had before yet you’ll meet some amazing people.
Don’t stop applying!! A lot of jobs won’t get back to you… But don’t lose your spirit, keep finding places to apply to and eventually you’ll find something.
-Be kind to everyone. You never know what opportunities can rise from people knowing and trusting you and your work ethic.
-Once you send in that application or walk away from that interview, just let it go. Don’t worry about what the result will be, and know your worth no matter what happens.
-If you don’t get that internship, use the time to help yourself grow as a person both professionally and personally. Learn a new video editing software; start a blog about a passion; learn as much as you can about the industry you want to work in; expose yourself to as much art as you can. It will help fill up your tool belt of skills, have a creative outlet, and could even help with your resume and portfolio for the next time you’re applying.
Begin your work now before pursuing an internship. Don’t wait until senior year.
-The world is your oyster. Take advantage of every opportunity out there.
-Trust the process. Don’t freak out if you don’t get your dream internship or even any internship at all. Everything works out the way it’s supposed to.
Life in New York is hard. The entertainment industry is hard. But if you are willing to fight through the ups and downs, the stresses and the successes, you will find your way.

JUST DO IT

Interning was one of the best things that ever happened to me. And if any of you reading this are even remotely interested in an internship in NYC, the least you can do is look at the application. I can’t guarantee that you’ll get the job, but I can guarantee you’ll come out with a little more knowledge and a little clearer idea about the industry you want to be a part of and the footprint that you want to make. I applied to 20-25 internships and heard back from a total of three. 1-2-3. Of those 25, I had three dream internships and didn’t hear back from a single one of them. I didn’t know during the application process that the internship I got would lead me on the path that it has. Heck, my mom was convinced my internship with Marathon was going to be me simply hitting “retweet” of “favorite” on twitter 9-5 Monday-Friday. You truly never know the opportunities you’re going to get. And the ones you don’t get are a little extra time to prepare yourself for the opportunities you really want.

My biggest personal advice when you start this process is to trust yourself. You have more valuable skillsets than you probably think you do, but at the same time, your skills on paper will never be as valuable to a company as your personality and overall work ethic. Don’t be afraid to apply for things you really want, but may only be 90% qualified for. The worst that’s going to happen is they say no, and you know exactly what 10% to work on to apply again later. And you have to know that you are never too young to be an intern. Some of our company’s best interns had just finished their sophomore year of college and still come back to help up from time to time because they were so awesome at what they did and absorbed so much in their short time here.

I hope all of this craziness was helpful in some small way and if you have ANY questions about interning, living in NYC, or any of the specific branches of the industry mentioned in here, please contact me and we’ll chat. If you’re committed enough to read this all the way to the end, you’re already taking a big step in starting your intern journey. And this industry needs more people like you.

See you soon in the Big (hopefully not as scary now) Apple!

When Friendships Become Inconvenient

Graduating college was amazing, exciting, scary, and heart-breaking all at the same time. I spent 4 years surrounded by the most wonderful, giving, supportive people I’ve ever met, and suddenly I had no choice but to leave them behind for what could potentially be forever. The traditions and day-to-day activities I reveled in for 4 years would now be things of the past. But I thought I had plenty of memories to last me a lifetime.

And then I moved to New York.

The thing I love most about being an OCU grad is that the alumni community in NYC is huge. I knew so many people living there before I even stepped foot off the plane. That being said, New York is busy, and the growing realization that my closest friends weren’t just a quick walk away anymore was jarring. Weeks and then months passed and I learned very quickly that if I wanted to hold on to the joy I felt with my friends back at school, I was going to have to be inconveniently proactive.

Proactive (adj.) creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened.

Wouldn’t we all would love to be proactive all the time? Control a situation, make the most of it, and move on with our now bettered lives? That’s the dream. And when I first graduated, it seemed like being proactive in my friendships would be a piece of cake. After all, I didn’t really have a social life outside of OCU, so surely my OCU friends would be at the forefront of everything I did anyway. But as you probably guessed, it wasn’t that easy.

We graduated, moved all over the country, started various jobs in and out of the performing arts, and began to write our own definition of the word “adult.” The once daily face-to-face conversations turned into weekly calls, and then monthly short texts. As I started settling into my new life and career, keeping up with friends was suddenly time-consuming and really inconvenient. But I still missed them. So I decided to try being proactive.

At the beginning of November, I went on a business trip that took me to Los Angeles for roughly 24 hours. I was strictly there for work, but my best friend from home, my AXO grandbig, and multiple of my OCU friends all lived in LA. I could’ve said I didn’t have time. I could’ve been selfish and used my free time to sleep, or see a show, or explore LA. But I couldn’t help but think back to graduation day when I was sure I was saying goodbye. This was my chance to change that. I got breakfast with my best friend, went to work for a few hours, spent my two-hour break catching up with my grandbig who I hadn’t seen in 2 years, went back to work for a few hours, immediately got dinner with a friend who had graduated last December, and then stayed out until midnight (3am in New York) getting a drink with another acting friend who recently moved to LA. Then I got up at 6am the next morning to head back to New York.

 

Throughout November, I took 3 additional business trips, this time to Chicago. Aside from New York, Chicago has another large population of OCU alums and some of my closest friends. There was no way I was going to leave the city without seeing them, sleep or no sleep. So I chose to spend time with my friends…and twice within two weeks for that matter! I ate deep dish pizza with my best buds, saw a friend perform in her grad school’s opera, and downed some really great ice cream at midnight the night before I had to be up early for a long day of work.

 

None of these encounters in LA or Chicago were convenient. There were so many things I could have (and probably should have) been doing instead, but I was given a rare opportunity to be physically present with some of my closest friends and I chose to be proactive. I made the calls, sent the texts, searched the maps, paid for the transportation, and made myself present. In return, I made memories with people who mean the most to me, and returned to New York with a greater desire to be inconvenienced by my friends. I also realized that while being there in person was great, technology has allowed so many opportunities for me to connect with these friends that I’ve ignored. All it takes is a little sacrifice of time.

In the new year, try being inconvenienced by your friends every once in awhile and see what amazing memories are made in the process.

 

 

Coffee Dates

This year was certainly one for the books. In 2017, I graduated college, moved to New York City, and started my first full-time job. I also tried to blog regularly which turned into like once a month at most so that obviously went well, but hey you’re reading this now so something’s working. Through this year of change, the most important thing I learned was the importance and value of friendship and I feel like it’s worth writing about.

Friendship, for me, is not just the people I talk to on a regular basis. It’s not just the people I call the moment something exciting happens. It’s the person who told me a joke in the caf the day I really needed a good laugh. The person who smiled at me every single morning in my dreaded science class.

At the beginning of 2017, I made a New Year’s resolution to get coffee (or Cuppies or Alvin’s or drinks) with a different person every week. It couldn’t be someone I already felt extremely close to, someone I talk to regularly, or someone I’ve talked with extensively before. Now, I’m going to be honest and tell you I only ended up having about 12 of these coffee dates, but boy did it change my whole way of thinking. I am a people-person and nothing satisfies me more than a real, genuine conversation about literally anything so I thought, why not just ask people to sit down and talk with me? I was graduating soon and there were so many incredible individuals I’d only encountered in passing, or in a quick hallway conversation. I spent so much of college admiring people from afar, but I knew that my time was running out it if I ever wanted to form a meaningful friendship with any of them. At the very least, I didn’t want to graduate with the thought that “I wish I could have spent more time with _____.”

So I got coffee.

It was far from consistent, but it was consistently refreshing and rejuvenating. I learned so much about people’s passions, their dreams, and their current reality. I had the most wonderful conversations about what makes us tick and why we care so much about the art we create, or the other careers we choose to pursue. I had some of the most engaging conversations I’ve ever been a part of during these “coffee dates.” I learned more about myself in talking to a near stranger than I ever thought possible. And somehow, I always ended the conversation with a new friend. A new face to smile at on the sidewalk. A new lovely memory to put in my mental scrapbook. And another person I could mark off of my would be “I wish I could have” list.

So that’s my suggestion. Get coffee with someone you admire. Ask advice from a peer you’ve never spoken to before. Make a list of people around you that you want to get to know better and make it happen.

I don’t regret it a single bit, and I promise you won’t either.


 

 

I will fear nothing.

One year ago, I completed my first and only performance credit at OCU, as Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible. That experience was something I never could have imagined I would do, but (spoiler alert) wow was it exactly what I needed. I think about it and the people it brought into my life nearly every day, so I decided to put my thoughts and feelings down in writing as an ever-present reminder of one of the happiest times in my life. For all of those people out there who saw me happy and thriving senior year, it wasn’t always cupcakes and mac n cheese. Going into senior year, I had convinced myself of two things:

1) I was never going to get cast in a college production.

2) I no longer really wanted to perform.

I can’t tell you how I got cast in The Crucible, or why, or what I did to prepare for that audition. I honestly don’t remember much of the audition or callback process at all, because I had pushed any hope of getting cast so far down that I was simply there doing my job as a student. I do however remember the moment I found out I was cast. Because in that moment, my entire world was flipped right side up and for the first time in what seemed like forever, I felt worthy of calling myself an actress. I felt genuine joy that someone believed in me and the talents I had been waiting 3 years to share.

The experience that followed was straight from a dream.

At the first rehearsal, my jaw dropped as the designers presented their months of hard work and described the visual (and award-winning) masterpiece that our show would soon become.

The movement rehearsal we had during the first week of rehearsals is still to this day the coolest theatrical experience of my life. And it’s also the most free and open I’ve ever felt as an actress. The people in that room were honest, daring, and made me and everyone else feel so safe to create and share everything our souls needed to say.

Our 6 weeks of rehearsals were full of play, discovery, and so much intellect. I remember one specific instance I was talking with Nick (John Proctor) and Kally (my double Elizabeth Proctor) and we made a big discovery about our characters’ family that wasn’t blatantly obvious, but hidden in the dialogue. It was one of those giant “ah ha” moments that will stick with me forever. The feeling I got knowing the thought Arthur Miller put into this show and the honor it would be to collaboratively portray this genius’ work on stage was and still is the feeling I strive for in every piece of art I create.

Our version had a unique feature where the entire cast was seated to the sides of the stage throughout the production. On my “off-nights”, I played the obviously incredibly important character of townswoman. But, having been in the rehearsal room, there for the entire process, nothing brought me more joy than getting to sit there essentially as an audience member and watch my peers bring to life this 3 hour masterpiece we worked so hard to create.

Every day for 6 weeks I was like a kid at Christmas. I don’t think I had ever really known what theatre was until The Crucible. Never in my life had I been in a production where every single person wanted to be there, wanted to perform, and took it so seriously. Being in a company of actors with mutual respect for the work and each other is indescribable.

If you’ve made it this far, you were probably either in The Crucible with me, or you genuinely want to know why I felt the need to write a super long blog about something that happened a year ago. So in conclusion, here are a few things that meant the most to me from my experience.

-I had never had a conversation past “hello” with probably 50% of the people in that cast (who I had gone to school with for 2-3 years), yet they have now become some of my favorite people and best friends. Making art together can be a very powerful thing.

-You will be told over and over again that your time will come, that you’re so talented, that someone is “really sorry” you didn’t get cast, but I will never tell you that you have to be okay with that and get over it. Because those painful emotions are the thing that makes us want to keep trying.

-A year later, I could probably think of multiple ways I would change my performance (because I’m older and wiser, right?), but there is nothing I would change about the experience as a whole. It made me a better, braver person.

-I will never for a single second take this experience and the impact it had on me for granted.

I guess the purpose of me writing this is to remind myself how much I love theatre and how it has influenced my life, but also as a reminder that I really do love performing. And for everyone struggling with not having an opportunity to perform right now, may greatest wish is that you and the people around you will make it so worth the wait. Even though I may not be auditioning, and who knows the next time I will, I will forever have memories like The Crucible that have given me enough fulfillment to last a lifetime.

 

another day, another destiny

Two weeks ago, I was able to visit Providence, RI for work. While there, I observed an interview with Alain Boublil & Claude-Michel Schönberg, the original lyricist and composer of Les Miserablés. It was an amazing experience, but one thing Claude-Michel said really stuck out to me. When asked if he had a favorite part of the show or a moment in the creative process where it all seemed to click, he said “No, I can’t.” He went on to explain his philosophy that everything you write or compose or create, you must believe with your whole heart that it is the best thing you’ve ever written and crucial to what you are making. If you don’t believe it’s great, you won’t write it down, and you’ll never start.

Claude-Michel admitted that later on they would realize things weren’t quite right, or make adjustments here and there, but he knew that they had to believe in themselves and their own creative instincts to will the piece into existence – no regrets, no hesitation, just creating.

I think this is incredibly relevant to who we are as people and creative professionals. I recently read a book called “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear” (I highly recommend it) that expands on the notion of creative ideas just waiting to be created and needing you to have the courage to make them a reality. And it may not always be easy, but think of the reward!

We spend so much of our time trying to convince ourselves taking a creative risk is worth it, half the time the risk never even gets taken. One of my favorite quotes is this:

“What if I fall?”
“Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?”

This week, I encourage each of you to believe 100% in at least one of your creative instincts and will it into existence. You could fly! And if you want an extra audience for whatever you create, send it my way! You’ve got this. Like literally, it’s yours, just sitting inside of you waiting to be believed in.

Okay so we’re doing this.

Like every twenty-something experiencing real adulthood for the first time, I’m starting a blog. And not necessarily because I want to, but because I need to. There are too many thoughts in my heads just waiting to get out. I’m not the best writer and I don’t know if this will actually be read, but to the me looking back on this 20 years from now, hi. You’ve lived in New York for almost a month now, you’ve eaten at least 2 meals almost everyday, and you have a comfortable bed to sleep in. You’re doing just fine.

I’ve had a unique experience in the performing arts industry that gets more and more unique everyday, so I’m hoping something I share can help other artists as they find their own unique path to fulfillment and joy.

In May of 2016, I began an internship with a Broadway social media marketing company. Today, I have completed 3 weeks of employment with the same company, including 12 video shoots, 2 show closings, a meet and greet for a new show, and a whole lot of emails. And this week I’m going on my first “business trip.” I just graduated college a little over 4 months ago.

Yes, I’m doing my dream job, but the key message I want people to know is that I didn’t know it was my dream job until I was doing it. I wanted to be an Olympic gymnast. And then I wanted to be a P.E. teacher. And then in middle school I dreamed of performing on Broadway. And then in high school I dreamed of performing on Broadway. And then freshman, sophomore, and junior year of college I still dreamed of performing on Broadway. And admitting to myself in 2016 that I probably wouldn’t get to perform on Broadway anytime in the near future was really really scary. And that’s why I wanted to write this blog.

As an actress, I was often told “if you can see yourself doing anything else, do that instead.” And WOW did I hate hearing it then, and I still do now. I don’t know about you, but the actors and actresses in my community are not single-talent artists. We take photographs, we write songs that are not meant for cast albums, we write fashion and lifestyle blogs,  we can cook intricate meals (I definitely can’t, but like you get where I’m going with this). Why would you ever tell someone they have to give up these skills in order to have a career in the theatre? And why would you ever turn someone away from the performing arts, just because they have another hobby or even career that they enjoyed first?

This is why giving up my “dream” of performing on Broadway was so very scary. Because I didn’t want to encourage this notion of actors “settling” or even “giving up.” I still love performing, more than I can begin to explain. But last summer, I asked myself that fated question: why? Why do I love performing? What is it about being on a stage that puts a sparkle in my eyes, a spring in my step, and a big fat smile on my face. And I got my answer.

I love performing because theatre magic is a real thing, on and off stage. I love the type of people willing to sometimes act a fool on stage in front of hundreds of people, and sometimes share their entire soul to the same crowd a few moments later. I love the familial atmosphere created the second the usher takes your ticket and you, along with the people in front of you, behind you, and all around you are transported to another world. I don’t just love performing, I love the performing arts and everything it entails. The performances, the process, and most of all the people.

Finding my why was so crucial to allowing myself to do something else. And what did I do? I found myself a job in the performing arts that isn’t onstage, but gives me the same artistic fulfillment I’ve always craved.  I learned to make art in a different way, while still using the same passion and drive I got from performing for a live audience. I get to be surrounded by the best people in the best industry, doing something I genuinely love. And I get to witness a whole lot of live theatre.

My message to all of my fellow artists out there: do what you love. And if you love more than one thing, do them all until you choose not to do them all anymore. Don’t let anyone say you have to choose one, or give up the other, or even rank them by priority. We are all artists and we get to make art however and whenever we want. So what are you waiting for? Find your why and just keep making art – in whatever form(s) that may be!