I came to Los Angeles when I was seventeen years old. I had a chip on my shoulder because I didn’t like when adults told me that my dream to be a working actor was too big and that finding success would be too hard. Their discouragement made me want to succeed even more.
I went to acting classes with the mindset of a perfectionist. If I did well in class, I was good. If I didn’t do well, my self-esteem would plummet. One teacher told me, “The world isn’t out to get you. The world, at best, is indifferent to you.” I experienced that indifference in Los Angeles and found it deeply lonely.
At that time in my life, cuddling wasn’t on my radar. I just remember being sad and stressed a lot of the time. I had a desperate need to figure out how to be successful. I tried casting director workshops, student films, joining a theater company and getting an agent. I sent out promotional postcards, did plays, got headshots and rewrote my resume. One day I even held up a handmade sign in front of a movie studio: Will Act For Food. I wish I could tell you that it was a fun experience. Not really.
If I could go back in time, I would have taken myself by the hand and sat myself down for a conversation. I would tell myself about the benefits of a good hug. I can image that my younger self would roll her eyes. She didn’t value the tender things in life. With years of dance classes under her belt, she valued discipline as the tool to gain success. She believed that success was all that mattered. I would look her in the eyes and say, let me take you somewhere where what you do for a living doesn’t matter. Join me for an experience where you are accepted and cared for simply because you’re a person. Perhaps there would be another eye roll. Maybe my younger self wasn’t ready to hear that message. I wonder.
As you can tell from my story, I brought a lot of baggage with me to Los Angeles along with my desire to act. If finally found ways to bring acting into my life that felt empowering. I also gave myself permission to let my many other talents shine. It was a long road.
If you are an actor in Los Angeles, I hope you’re having a better time than I did! I hope you’re feeling creatively challenged and have found other actors – great people – to be part of a supportive tribe. And if you’d like to hang out in a safe, nurturing place where you can fill up with hugs and connection, I’m here for you.
And I hope you get that pilot!