Ever since I can remember, I’ve always wanted to perform. From playing dress-up with my friends, to making up small skits in the living room, and then finally taking my first steps on stage, I have known it to be a part of me.
Even my parents knew that performing was in my future. My mom likes to claim that I came out of the womb singing. I can recall a very specific day when I was young (probably one of my earliest memories): my parents were in the worship team where we attended church. That particular Sunday, the pastor came up to me and asked if someday I wanted to sing in church. I quickly replied, “I want to sing today!” And with that, I had my performance debut at a church singing Tomorrow from Annie.
Fast forward a few years to high school. I was in volleyball and shows, sometimes at the same time (man was I tired). The good thing was that volleyball took place in the fall and the musical always took place in the spring, so there was rarely any conflict. Though I was not trained at all, I sailed through my auditions with flare (or what I thought was flare at the time…lol).
Graduation finally came and I was ready to start my college career…in graphic arts. Yup. Not what I expected either. My parents were never sure that acting was a stable enough career. So, I decided to try my hand at something else that could feed my creativity and could also land me a decent job coming out of school.
My first semester was great. Amazing, in fact. I was rooming with my best friend, I was finding my individuality, and I was in drawing and painting classes which I passed with ease. Spring forward to second semester and things got exponentially……..worse. I was in a computer graphics class which was not my forte: I barely knew how to use Adobe photoshop and we were moving at rapid speeds. One day, I realized that everyone in that room had a better chance than me at making it in that business. Also, why should I compete with people who are passionate about it when I am not? It would be exhausting on both ends. Luckily, at the same time, I was in an acting class (I needed the credits…so why not?). This stimulated my creativity more than anything than I had ever experienced.
When I was at my lowest point, I went to my acting professor and asked, “I’m really thinking about acting as a career. Do you think it’s possible for me to be successful?” He replied with, “I think you have the look and a lot of potential. If you put the work in, you will be successful.” I was shocked with how real and encouraging he was. I was immediately overwhelmed with a feeling of warmth and serenity. I knew that I was in the right place.
In my final semester of college, I played the role of Hesione in the musical Triumph of Love.
That production earned me a nomination to compete at the Region 3 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. I had been nominated other years, but this year was going to be the one where I made waves. Much of what I did at this festival was audition. There were so many opportunities! But I did not receive any of the scholarships, so I was bummed and thought the festival was a dud.
Fast forward to now. Within the last month, I have received two really amazing emails; one from the Open Jar Institute in New York and one from the Gaiety School in Ireland. I have an open invitation to Gaiety and another audition opportunity for Open Jar. Wow. I was and still am truly grateful!!
So, what’s the point? I regurgitated this synopsis of my life for a reason: to give insight on what it feels like to be on the right path. These opportunities would not have come about if 1) I did not have full faith in God, and 2) I had not worked my tail off for the last six years. When a sequence of training leads to good auditions which leads to casting which leads to nomination which then leads to amazing opportunities, I’ve got to be doing something right. I 100% believe that if I was not on the right path, these opportunities would not have presented themselves.
How can you be sure? I only figured out that I was on the right path recently by doing a couple of things: reflecting on my past, reevaluating the steps it took for me to get here, and setting out a plan based on what I have already experienced. I’m not any sort of life coach, but through a lot of trial and error, I have found that doing these things really helped me through my journey in knowing I’m on the right path. But here’s the thing, everyone’s story is different. It took a long time for me to figure everything out, especially after going through a lot of rough seasons. But my personal faith in God has helped me to sustain and grow into who I am and where I’ll go.