Los Angeles Triggers My Eating Disorder, and It Sucks So Hard

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I got back to LA a little more than three weeks ago. I was so excited to be home! I have loved this city since the minute my plane landed at LAX the very first time. I love the ocean, the palm trees, the people, the nightlife, the history, the mountains, and god I love the film and television industry.

I love being an actor. I love it so much. I love making movies and TV shows. I love booking the role, being on set, promoting the film. I love meeting other creative people on the job. I love telling stories, stepping into another person’s shoes. I love making people laugh, or making them think, or giving them a break from thinking too hard. I love doing 20 takes and discovering something new on the 21st. I love knowing I’m in the same union as Meryl Streep and George Clooney. I love this business with all my heart.

I’ve been acting for 25 years. I’ve never wanted to do or be anything else. I knew when I was 7 years old I wanted to do this for a living. My career is what drives me. My dreams gave me the strength to survive a rocky childhood, to get out of my small town, to press on when I could barely see one speck of light at the end of a long, dark, scary tunnel. I owe my life to discovering a passion for performing. I really believe that.

So here I am, finally, back where all my dreams come true. Hollywood. A place my heart feels at home, where I truly belong. Where I’ve always been happiest and most alive.  Continue reading

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Back in the City of Angels

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I’m home. I’m HOME! I’m so happy to be back, I can’t even begin to tell you. My heart is here in LA…. and now the rest of me is, too.

I watched La La Land (finally!) on the plane ride here. My husband and I watched it together, and we were equally teary by the end. I’m not a particularly critical person- I like to like things for what they are, not tear them apart for what I want them to be, generally- but I above and beyond loved that film. Obsessed. Amazed.

 

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That lighting is the reason we all moved here. Magic.

 

 

A love letter to the city I love? An offering of hope and joy to the “ones who dream”? A story of artistic soul mates without a cheesy romanticized ending, where they learn some crap like “love matters more than everything you ever wanted”?  Continue reading

When You Feel You’re “Missing Out” on the Bigger Things

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I dropped out of college after about two and a half years. I say “about” because I sort of just stopped showing up somewhere during my fifth semester. I wasn’t being lazy or giving up- quite the contrary. I was working several jobs to make ends meet, so when I started booking paid acting and modeling work, I didn’t have time to fit in everything. I figured I didn’t need a theatre degree for my career as an actor if I was working as an actor, so I let the need to finish school go.

(Side note- I am not advocating the idea that one should take dropping out of school lightly. However, I also don’t think anyone should finish college and get up their eyeballs in debt if it doesn’t make sense for their lives. Another blog post for another day.)

Since I left school before most people I knew at the time who were pursuing the acting life, I suddenly had this feeling that I was a little bit “ahead.” Not as a person, or an actor, definitely not in experience or financially, but just as far as time was concerned. It was like I had two “free years”, where all acting credits and experience were “bonus”, where I could slack off or not, and it didn’t matter. Continue reading

Volunteer Trip to Ecuador!

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I have amazing news- an upcoming project I’m incredibly excited about!!

I’ve been cast with a group of actors and artists going to Ecuador this summer. We will be living there for 30 days, participating in a series of workshops, lectures, and incredible experiences.

The BEST part is that we get a chance to give back and make a real difference. Our group will work within disenfranchised communities and with indigenous people, empowering the local youth with theatrical education. We will help them find their voices through the magic of acting and playwriting, giving them the tools to tell their stories.

This will all culminate with the creation and performance of our own original pieces inspired by our experiences in Ecuador. Our casts will preview these works in Quito before performing them in a festival in NYC the following week. Continue reading

Modeling Post-Eating Disorder

Ever since I shed the oppressive weight of my eating disorder, I’ve assumed my modeling career to be over. Not just because it’s impossible to stay at or under 110 lbs on my frame in any healthy way, but also because, naturally, I’ve been getting older at the same time.

Modeling was never the end game- I always wanted to be an actress forever, a model for now. It was a way to make money without waiting tables. I liked getting photos in beautiful clothes and being spotted by friends in magazines, and I liked having my hair and makeup done and getting into character in front of a camera, but, if I’m honest, really the whole experience was hell.

I was always, always, always hungry. No matter what, I starved before every shoot. Sometimes, when I was busy, I was eating 300-500 calories a day for weeks. I will never forget that first bite of food in the car or on the train coming home from a job- usually a pop tart or something equally bad for me. It was the only food I ever felt I deserved. I worked, I starved, I posed, I was sweaty and shaky- this food was earned. Continue reading

Should I Join SAG-AFTRA?

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Easily the most frequent question I get from other actors is this-

“Should I join the union?”

It comes in many forms. “Am I ready?” “Is it worth it?” “Will I still be able to work?”

This blog post is dedicated to helping you answer that question. After all, you’re really the only one who can make this decision for yourself. Let’s explore all the elements you should consider before plunking down a hard earned 3,000 bucks! Continue reading

Day Designer Review: Favorite Planner Yet

New Year = New Planner.

Basically, that’s the most exciting thing about the new year to me. As December slowly melts away, I’m closer and closer to a fresh, clean planner full of dreams and promise. It’s like getting brand new school supplies, but for grownups.

Judging by the countless hours it took me to choose my new planner online, I am not the only person who feels this way. There were so many options! So many blogs dedicated to reviews! So many videos! Bright ones, serious ones, artsy ones, structured ones, planners for every taste and every need.

So how is it possible that it took me, a (self-labeled) planner expert, so long to choose the right one? I’ll tell you why- I wasn’t sure exactly what I was looking for. Last year I used the Spark Planner (now known as the Volt Planner) and I really thought it was perfect for me. Weekly and monthly goal pages, writing prompts, 30 day challenges- all this stuff I think I want to do, but, it turns out, I don’t. The planner is definitely right for some people, as evidenced by many great reviews, but for my scattered, ever shifting life, it became one more thing to do, instead of something to contain the doing. Continue reading

On Being (and Not Being) Carol in Mamet’s “Oleanna”

From time to time as an actor you find yourself truly falling in love with a role. There are certain ones that just speak to your soul in a way you can’t undo. You become woven into the fabric of each other, and you come to care for them in a strange way- strange only because, by nature of being a “character”, they are fictional.

These characters don’t truly exist, and they are subject to the opinions of those artists playing and directing them. Of course. We know this….

Still, I can always tell when I’m head over heels for a character I want to play because the same thing happens to me every time: I become desperately protective of them. I’m suddenly worried that no other artist in the world could possibly understand them the way I do, and that, out of my control, they will become terribly misunderstood by the entire world.

More often than not, it is the nature of our business that we do lose those roles. There are vast numbers of actors feeling this way, and just the one role.

Such it has gone for me. In a few weeks time I met, studied, deeply understood, became wildly obsessed with and overly protective of, auditioned for, went to callbacks for, and subsequently lost the role of Carol in a production of David Mamet’s OleannaContinue reading

Acting Basics- 3 Things to Bring to an Audition

Getting started in the world of acting can be intimidating. There are a lot of skills, terms, practices, and tools you need to know to put your best foot forward. In this “Acting Basics” series, I’ll introduce you to some easy tips, explanations, and checklists to help navigate the overload of information out there.

If you choose to study acting in a college or conservatory setting, you will of course learn a lot of the basic things you need to know right away. That’s a major benefit of choosing to pay for school, as well as starting out with a network of fellow artists before you get moving on your professional path. However, you don’t need a degree to be an actor, and this can be an expensive way to obtain these things.

So here, free to you, is my blog. I plan to load this baby up with great resources for actors. I’ve been a professional actor for many years now, and have worked across theatre, film, television, etc, at all different levels, in many different locations. Through this blog, I’d like to pay forward some of what I’ve learned, as so many have for me over the past decade and a half!

Let’s start with the very, very basics. A few things you will need to go to an audition without looking like you have no idea what you’re doing.  Continue reading

Photoshoot Flashback

Wow! Something so strange just happened….

I had an audition this morning. When my agent sent the info, I read through everything, but somehow skipped over the word “photoshoot.” They usually send me a lot of commercials, so my brain filled in the gap.

This morning as I double checked all the info before leaving, I saw it. “Photoshoot.” Simple. Something I’ve done a hundred times, probably a few hundred by now, a go see or casting for a photoshoot.

However…it’s been a minute. See, I used to be a full fledged model. Legit, working a lot, making money, the whole thing. And back when I was a full fledged model, I had another little thing: a full fledged eating disorder.

Part of being an actor involves doing photoshoots. I’ve done some recently, sure, especially for publicity photos, new headshots, and a job like this here and there. Not nearly the way I used to, however. A lot of times the castings are in regular casting rooms, little things with a small lighting setup, a quick few photos snapped by a casting director or assistant, close up, full, profile, hands, smile, out.

Today’s audition? In a studio. An actual studio. Like I’ve worked in a million times.

A full lighting setup. A legit photographer. Backdrop. Huge space. Echo-ey. Dark in the cavernous space beyond us….

Something surprising happened. I flashed back to that time in my life. To being hungry. To contorting my body into crazy angles to hide my “fat rolls” or my “round face.” To dreaming about the meal I would finally let myself have once we wrapped, something decadent and terrible for me, something that would taste extra amazing because I had eaten maybe 1,000 calories in the past 5 days.

But here I was, at an audition, for the role of “Mom.” Not in a bikini. Not about to pass out. Not sucking in and twisting around….

I heard the photographer ask for some simple shots. Smiling. Mom stuff. But I was frozen. I couldn’t remember how to do it. It was cold and huge and the lights were in my eyes and I wanted to run. I just forgot everything.

Thankfully, I snapped out of it. I’m not totally sure what I gave him, but I managed some smiling shots, and remembered to put my hand on my hip…

I walked out quickly, in a daze. It’s crazy, when the beast of an eating disorder hits you. It really never totally goes away. It’s a constant conversation. Mine rushed back, today, all at once, and said, “you aren’t this person anymore, and you can’t do it.” It told me I could only function in this space if I invited him in along with me. It hissed, “they all see you don’t deserve this type of work anymore.”

Now, I sit in my car in the parking lot, and I write this blog, because I refuse to sit quietly with a little demon in my ear. If I write it down, I take away its power. If I shine light on it, it can’t live off the darkness it needs to survive.

It’s a lifelong journey, an unpredictable one, but I can confidently say, I’m slowly growing into a confidence ninja. Jump out at me from around a corner??!

WHACK! Bye bye, little demon. No thanks. We no longer require your services here.