How and Why Did I Jump the gun?
I'm so excited to have you all over again. MTV, welcome to my crib.
This past week has been so exciting!! I had 7 seven auditions this week and was the lead on an episode for a major TV network! I'll let everyone know when it airs :) This upcoming week I already have 4 auditions set in stone and will be returning to set! To God Be The Glory.
I would also like to take the time to thank those who serve our country. It is important to keep 9/11 in our remembrance and all the lives that were taken on that day. To all the selfless men and women serving our country - Thank You.
First of all I’d like to say thank you to all those who gave me feedback, it has been very beneficial to me. I am beginning to formulate a little roadmap for me in regards to this blog and how I would like the outline to be. Knowing me, I will probably not follow that outline in the least but it still comforts me knowing that I have something.
In order to really dive in on all the lessons I’ve learned and advice I can give, I figure it’s best for me to take it from the top. It was my original intent to explain first how I even fell in love with acting and why I find it the most fascinating thing in the world. But, nah. I gotta leave y’all hanging. An ok friend Roberto Ramos-Diaz suggested to me that I explain how I got to the decision that made me jump the gun. Thanks to Roberto, here I am writing this super awesome blog post.
Acting is the most difficult career to get into. Now this is debatable depending on one’s skill set and perspective but without argument, it is difficult. In 2017, the employment rate for actors in the union was only 21%. Only 3% of equity actors (actors in the union) are constantly employed (Think, Meryl Streep). Now out of all the actors in the whole wide world, only about 30% are in the union, meaning that any non-union actor is probably not getting paid, and if they are it is well below minimum wage. Actors make up the highest rate of unemployment. When I went to Virginia Tech for that very short, very lovely semester, within my first few weeks of acting class the professors spent the whole 70 minutes talking about these stats and making us rethink our career routes. If this is a profession you want to be in, you have to put your blood, sweat, and tears into it day after day, scene after scene, take after take, for about 16 hours a day. 12-16 hours in the usual time an actor spends on set a day. I’ve only had one occasion where my day on set was less than that, but don’t worry, all the hours in traffic on the way home helped balance it out!
Explaining to people that I am an actress or that I am training in acting is the funniest thing. It seems that subconsciously everyone knows these stats, they know the difficulty, and immediately, they have no faith in you. People often show pity for me where no pity is due. It’s the common, “Oh, so you want to be a waitress for the rest of your life?” or “So what’s your plan B?” or “Well if you don’t make it, that’s okay!” Constant rejection from people trying to guide me the “right way”. I completely understand where they are coming from, it’s a complete leap of faith. Thank God for all the faith I have.
Now, you can only imagine how my parents must’ve responded, right? I’ll give you some background first. My dad is a blue-collar worker and owns three businesses, my mom has been an amazing housewife and is now the white-collar side of these businesses. My eldest brother went to West Point and is in the army, alongside my second eldest brother, the magna cum laude of his master’s program, who has been a policeman, is in the National Guard, and now works for the government. My third eldest brother, a Virginia Tech grad, is a very successful real estate agent. My sister, a talented cosmetologist and entrepreneur, is studying retail management at USC. I was en route to follow the impressive routes before me, taking 5 AP’s in high school and driving towards and above that 4.0 all my four years, looking into medical school. Hey mom and dad I want to go to acting school! Hmm.
By the time college came around, my parents asked that my decision be an in-state school. There goes my dreams of a prestigious acting school. So I ditched my dream for just a second and applied everywhere Undecided except for one school, Virginia Tech… so there I went.
I love Virginia Tech!! I loved it as soon as I moved into Slusher Hall in August 2017 and still to this day. Some of my best memories exist there as well as my amazing best friends and amazing boyfriend. If I could’ve pursued the intensive training I desire at Tech, there’s no way I would’ve left. I studied Theatre Arts and I loved every second. I had class from 8am-1:10pm and then rehearsals 6pm-10 every night except for Saturdays. In between 1:10-6pm I found myself at auditions, singing lessons, and meetings with my mentors and under loads of homework. I was already way ahead schedule. After one week of classes, the auditions for the main fall production were taking place. At these auditions, I got called back twice and then cast in an 11 person cast. I felt happy, surprised, proud, and then a little speculative. I continued auditioning and booking things with seniors being my scene partners. I booked the cinema professor’s short film as the lead in a 2 person cast within my first few weeks of being there. I felt so incredibly thrilled with the opportunities they gave me. Because I showed my motivation and desire, professors threw opportunities at me and I was eager to take them. But…something felt off. I didn’t feel challenged. I talked with my mentors and they were the least bit surprised when I told them how I felt. “We are so happy to have you but you could easily get into the top-tier BFA programs.” Suddenly, my outlook changed.
By the first month I was researching like no one’s ever researched. I think I may have read extensively on every acting BFA program in the country, and more. I began to call my parents once a week and fill them on my research, persuade them to pretty pretty please let me transfer! Once they came and saw me perform, they supported me the whole way. Every night I laid in bed tossing from insomnia due to my constant thoughts of a BFA program. I could not shake it from my mind. I had heard a quote, I can’t quote it right, but it said something like, never push away the thing that is always on your mind. I started applications for all my favorite BFA programs and just hoped for the best, until Thanksgiving Break came. The first discussion I had with my parents when I was back home was on my education. They came to a smart but heart-breaking suggestion that I leave Virginia Tech before the start of the next semester as to save money towards a BFA program. They gave me this decision. Caring about finances, I, along with my parents, decided this would be the best decision. I had applied, auditioned, and gotten into the New York Film Academy New York campus to begin classes in January. The first night back to tech I announced that I would be leaving to attend NYFA.
After about a few days of conversing with my mentors we decided NYFA wouldn’t be the right decision for me. Well here I am, submitted the papers to leave Virginia Tech and no where to go. I said to a mentor, “I’m thinking of going home, attending community college, working a bunch, and getting an associates degree then moving to a hotspot and doing acting.” She said, “Why spend two years getting an associate’s degree? Why don’t you just get out there and do it?” Unbeknownst to me, those were the words I had been wanting to hear.
My two mentors and I sat down and devised a plan that I would move to LA and get exposure to the industry before spending very very much money into a BFA program.
This was perhaps one of the most difficult decisions I have made thus far. Everything made sense at Tech. I was in the best friend group I had ever been in, with truly amazing, beautiful, supportive best friends. I lived on a beautiful campus which challenged me academically — there was not one professor I did not like. I had straight A’s and was en route to graduate early. I was just far enough away from home while still being just close enough to all my loved ones. Opportunities were being handed to me left and right constantly, and I loved it. There was this super cute guy I was crushing on that was way too good for me but at least he knew my name and that was an accomplishment… I mean, everything was great. Except I knew that that was not the place I was supposed to be. I was so distraught and stressed because everything was working out for me however there was something telling me to just go. It is my mantra in life that life is short. So in every detailed decision I kept that in the front. Upon my major stress-ness, I asked God. Dear God, please show me a sign. The next morning I woke up to seeing chalk on the sidewalks in front of my dorm building saying to follow your dream, that there is nothing to lose, that life is short, take the risk. That day I called my parents and told them in 2 months, I will be moving to LA.
Next week I will talk about why this ended up being a good decision for me and how the good comes with the bad!