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

A Blogger in Ecuador: Technology Wars

Ok, I have SO many blog drafts started, but I’m having some major technical issues, so I wanted to give you a quick update from Mindo! Many more posts to come, with details and photos and stories and joy, I promise. Hang with me, friends! 

Things I Want to Share Quickly: 

1. At orientation, we were told it is best not to bring laptops. I am a rule follower, so I listened. I sincerely regret that decision! (If you are googling and searching the internet, as I did, for tips on traveling with Dramatic Adventure Theatre, here is one: if you want your laptop, bring it!)

2. I brought my iPad with a keyboard case thing as a compromise. Day 1, I plugged the keyboard in to charge, and it never, ever came back to life. Considering it only cost $20 on Groupon, I consider it a win that it lasted a year or so. Still, its untimely death was truly unfortunate, because….

3. It’s impossible to find most things at most stores in Ecuador. I certainly haven’t stumbled across an electronics store yet. It was an epic journey just to find a bag of nuts and some curl creme. (Mine exploded in the bag on the way over.) 

4. This trip has without a doubt been one of the most challenging experiences of my life. More detailed blogs to follow, but let’s just start by saying I’m being stretched and pushed and challenged in terrifying ways ALL the time. They say a DAT day = three regular days, as far as how much happens. I have to agree. 

5. Ecuador is so beautiful all the time. I can’t take it. 

6. The kids we have been working with in the different communities, from mountains to island, are more amazing than words can express. I will definitely try to find the words for future blog posts, I promise.

7. I’m really, really proud of the work we’ve done so far. 

8. I miss home like crazy, even though I love it here. 

9. There was no phone connection and only the tiniest, weakest wifi the entire 11 days I was in the Galapagos. The wifi on the mainland is super hit or miss- mostly miss. My phone connection comes in and out, but it isn’t cheap to keep that turned on! 

10. I really, really want to post some photos in this post, but I’ve learned the hard way they when writing a blog post on my phone, the pics take SO long to load over this connection, it freezes the post and I’m lost in no man’s land. 

11. I have a couple of friends with laptops here I am certain are kind enough to share, because all the other actors I’m traveling with are absolutely amazing, wonderful human beings. Talented, brilliant, loving, open….I’m so happy to be a part of this group.

12. Worst case scenario: If I can’t organize a laptop, blogs start rolling in when I reach NYC in a week. 

13. I’m exhausted. 

14. I am grateful. 

15. We have SO, SO, SO much in our country. So much opportunity, so much convenience, so much stuff, so much food, so MUCH. 

I haven’t forgotten about you. But the internet gods DID forget about ME. Stay tuned…. 

(We can still accept donations, and they are, in fact, badly needed! Please click below for more info and, if you are able, share the link! Thank you!)

https://www.gofundme.com/SabrinaInEcuador

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

Being the age

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

“Get Out” – Why I Still Can’t Breathe

Film Title: Get Out

 

Holy SHIT guys.

I just (finally) watched Get Out– Jordan Peele’s incredible, insane, amazing, terrifying, thought-provoking directorial debut. That’s right…debut. Like, “oh, I’ve never done this before, but lemme just give it a shot, and DO IT PERFECTLY.”

Oh, he wrote it, too, because he is a film robot. He’s the Tom Brady of creating content. Comedy? Sure. Horror? Why not.

I had to blog because I have to talk about this! It’s consuming my brain! It’s like it moved into my mind, rented an apartment, and is just sitting there, like, “remember THIS scene?! THAT scene?! How about the BINGO SCENE!?!?”

This blog is probably a safer read if you’ve seen the film already. I don’t know if there will be spoilers yet, but probably. I’m just free writing what the film alien that has taken up residence in my mind tells me to write.

I have to get it out of my head.  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

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.