This past October 10th was Mental Health Awareness day. With the weather changing, and the holidays rapidly approaching it really made me think about ways to keep your mental health in check.
1. Call a friend who makes you feel understood. We all have that one friend or loved one we can be completely honest with. We can talk about our financial struggles, memories of carefree times, or our goals for the future. Reach out to that person to schedule a time to talk for an hour and genuinely listen to each other. Every time I do this I feel ready to go out and kick ass.
2. Go for a walk at lunch. I do this literally every day. So many people sit at their desks all day and it can make the day feel like one long florescent light dream. Going for a walk in the middle of the day clears your head and makes the second half of the workday fly by.
3. Journal. Sometimes you just need to write out what is bothering you. Then you can rip it up, burn it or throw it away. Whatever you need to feel relieved.
4. Talk to a therapist! Check your benefits at work, some offices include a certain number of therapy sessions for free or a smaller fee of 35 dollars a session. There are therapy apps like Better Help that have online counselors you can message.
5. Pray. When in doubt the good old Serenity prayer is always a favorite of mine. When you relinquish your struggles to God you instantly feel lighter. For My yoke is easy, my burden light – Matthew 11:30.
6. Work out! Endorphins make you happy and happy people don’t kill their husbands.
7. Laugh. Watch a comedy show, read old memes you saved in your phone, Youtube stand up comedy or old episodes of Ridiculousness. Whatever will make you laugh.
8. Take a day off of work and do something you love. Treat yourself to a baseball game, a new art exhibition or something as simple as your favorite sandwich.
9. Remember that all feelings are temporary. Joy, sadness, feeling blah. It is all temporary which is great because you can change it!
What are some things you do to stay mentally healthy?
I joined a phenomenal new acting studio back in April. This has been the most supportive and fulfilling acting experience I have ever had in my life. The last time I felt this challeged and secure was my sophomore year in high school. This studio thinks completely outside the box and has a way of challenging and transforming actors. This past week’s acting class was about intimacy.
A word that can strike fear in the hearts of many an actress. Why you might ask? While we make a career out of being emotionally vulnerable in front of the camera, the thought of being physically exposed as well can be emotionally draining, exhausting and terrifying. All you can think is ugh, now I have to bear my soul and potentially my body to 60+ crew members made up of, make up, hair, AD, grip, producers and ect.
Since you often have a lot of people around when filming, even on a “closed set” which should only have crucial crew members. Our fabulous instructor took the time to ask us what we feel comfortable showing? Nothing? Your butt, side boob or topless? It was interesting to hear each woman’s opinion on what she feels okay with sharing to the world depending on if it seriously supports the characters development and arc throughout the series or not. We all agreed that the amount of topless nudity just for the sake of being topless in film and television is absurd. There are so many bro movies out there that just have women topless for the sake of adding sex to the film while all the men are fully dressed and the women only have two lines. There should be some criteria for if the role has to have nudity, or inplied nudity to support the character.
If it was a series regular or guest star reoccurring role; then it would be worth it for the screen time. If the character grew up being a tomboy, runs her own entrepreneurial businesses, surfs or is a total hippie; then it would fit the character more. Some surfers are comfortable running around pretty much naked, which we the audience could believe. Still we discussed how to choreograph a scene much like we would in stage combat for fight scenes or a dance for a musical number. While intimacy coordinators are becoming more popular you can not rely on them/every set to have your best interest at heart. There is a huge learning curve right now and some directors are more cautions of assisting the scene because of the #metoo movement. Most of the time they expect the actors to figure out the intimacy scenes on set on their own. So we women (and men) need to take intitive to choreograph the scene ahead of time with our friend or scene partner. Making sure to cover what we do not feel comfortable showing, but offer an alternative. Of course which body parts are being shown of camera is discussed and negotiatied before we have even accepted the role and set foot on set.
My favorite part of the class was seeing how beautiful it is to be powerful and in control of your body. Seeing each set of scene partners play both roles (the class is all women and we each took turns playing the man and the woman in the scene), take tips on how to help your guy partner in the scene. How to break the ice when this could be your first day and scene with your partner. How badass it is to be confident because confidence is the sexiest thing you on and off camera.
Now that you’ve found yourself on this post you are probably thinking what is a Hype-man? Well in the past it was a hip hop singer who tries to get the audience excited about the performance. However here in Atlanta (the rap capital of the world) a Hype-man is another word for people who are pretending to be bigger and more successful than they are. This could be in the music, film or fitness community. These are also they type of people who try to get you to join their MLM (Multi Level Marketing) scheme. Talking about how quickly you can make money through selling leggings, weight loss coffee, tea and vegan supplements.
They post frequently on Social media about the big project they have coming. I’m talking everyday, for weeks at a time 3 stories and a minimum of 2 feed post about a BIG PROJECT COMING SOON.
They use phrases like, “ya’ll better support me now, cause I’m about to blow up.” Or “Feel free to sign up now to be the first to get my newsletter so you can get on my level.”
However, when the day of the big project comes there is nothing to be revealed. If you ask about it you get blocked.
They post casting calls stating they cannot pay you now, but will pay you, after they sell the series to a major network. Even though they have no connections to a network studio and can’t even afford to provide food or water on set for their actors and crew. Which is a requirement of all sets.
They talk about certain music studios, movies and celebrities like they are best friends with them. Then when you Google the movie they claimed to be in or the music studio they claimed to record a song with a certain rapper at, you can’t find their name or evidence that the rapper ever visited there.
When they say they were in a specific movie role as a lead with an A list actor, but then you can’t even find them on the listing of the film on IMDB or Deadline.com. The two reputable film sites for announcing television and film information.
They mention always being on set and are posting photos from crafty. Instead of focusing on their work, line changes, stage combat or intimacy choreography like most working actors would.
You support them by liking their post asking if they need help with anything, but you never see any of the footage, or music. Just an endless stream of lifestyle selfies and request for you to follow their fan page on Facebook.
Have you ever encountered any Hype-men? If so do watch from a distance or just ignore them all together?
As an actor, things have changed so much over the past ten years. Before you could Google “commercial or film auditions in (insert metropolis here)” and you would get a list of auditions. The posting would include when, where, what time, an email address and a contact number. Your agent would send you auditions to go to as well. You would either schedule a time slot to audition or show up and wait, cattle call style. You get your sides there or before. Bring multiple copies of your headshot with your resume stapled to the back and go dazzle the casting folks!
Today you need to be on casting sites. On each of these sites, you should have your headshots, demo reel, sizing, contact information for yourself and agency.
Headshots – You need two headshots at the very least. One commercial headshot which should show you in a cheerful friendly way. Think friendly and approachable, and the other is your theatrical headshot. This shot should show no teeth and have a serious expression. You want to show your range as an actor and your personality.
Demo Reel – This should be made up of the best clips of your on-camera performances in film, tv and commercial work in less than 90 seconds. If you only have enough powerful moments for 30 to 45 seconds that is completely fine! 90 seconds is the max, two minutes can feel longer than you think.
Slate shot – A Slate shot is a short clip of you stating your name. Actors Access does a great job of showing slate shot examples here. The purpose is to show your personality and give the casting director an idea of what your voice sounds like.
Sizing – Grab a measuring tape, because you will need to list your chest, waist, hips, and sometimes inseam. Your weight, height, shoe size, and hat size as well.
Once you have a profile set up on these sites, you read through the breakdowns and submit your headshot, demo reel, resume and size to be considered for an audition. If the casting person thinks you fit the description they send you a link to sides for the audition for a self-tape and request a slate shot. Then they will hire you based on your self-tape and slate shot, or they will bring you into the casting office for a callback. Finally, you wait to hear if you got the job or silence.
If you want more experience for your demo reel, you should check with your local universities film and communications departments. These students often have multiple film projects to work on during the school year and need actors. The work will usually be unpaid, but you gain experience, and IMBD credit if they submit their work to a film festival.
Actors Access. This is one of the main casting sites. The site gives you the option of checking breakdowns for the Los Angeles, New York, Vancouver, Eastern Canada, Southeast U.S., Florida, Texas, Chicago, the Northwest and more. You can look at breakdowns for each specific region or just select all breakdowns fit for me. Actors Access also allows you to add a video clip from each project you worked on to your resume page. It is an extra charge but looks incredibly professional if you have the means to do it. If you are looking for theatre work there are casting calls for national tours on here as well.
Casting Networks. Fox is casting exclusively through Casting Networks, which was formerly known as LA Casting. This site has network tv auditions for principal roles, featured roles and commercials. There are also theatre and student films on Casting Networks. One thing I love about this casting site is they list if the job is paying, how much and the type. So you know how much you are going to make, and if it is a commercial or short film before you even open the casting call.
IMDbPro. Internet Movie DatabasePro is perfect for when you have a couple of professional credits under your belt. A lot of the castings on here will say for name talent. Meaning a well know actor, someone people will recognize on the screen. I do not think the ranking system or “STARmeter” matters much to casting directors, but they do want to see professional credits under your name. The STARmeter just tells producers and casting who is most popular currently or most likely has a project coming out. When you pay for IMDb pro, you also can see a list of talent agencies, contact information, message boards, projects in preproduction and ongoing.
I am so sorry I have been away from you for so long. If you follow me on Instagram you probably noticed I have been to New Orleans and London in my time away from you. I plan on doing an upcoming review on those two fabulous cities and a post on how to take a great headshot! I talked to a casting agent about the ins and outs of headshots and what casting agents see when they look at certain ones. I am going to try and post twice a week so bear with me. Tuesday and Thursday are going to be my new posting days. Without further ado let’s get into get into one of my favorite spring colors and gorgeous souvenir from London!
When I think of spring colors mint, fuchsia and lavender always come to mind. This lavender shift dress is from Francesca’s! (If you are interested in checking it out you can click the highlighted Francesca’s affiliate link). Usually, I would not find this shape flattering for my body type. Shift dresses normally make my chest look even larger and create a maternity mumu affect. I loved the color so much I decided to ignore my anti shift dress prejudice and try it on. Luckily the scalloping keyhole and racer back combination made this dress incredibly flattering! Racerback tops and keyholes are always more flattering when you have a large chest. People think you should wear a high neck, but I always disagree V-necks and keyholes are always more flattering than a crew neck top.
I was in London earlier this month the weather was a little chiller than their typical April, but I really wanted to wear this dress. So I put black tights underneath, my black ankle boots and my friend’s black motorcycle jacket to make this look a little edger. Sadly I did not take a picture that day, because of all the rain and time we spent laughing/catching up on one another lives. Luckily the weather was lovely in Atlanta so I got to take these photos!
I’m not usually one to spend a ton on sunglasses, but I fell in love with these while in London and got them at a discount plus VAT so I HAD to do it. I am now the proud owner of these cat eye Bvlgari Serpenti sunglasses. I circled the Sunglass store about ten times and kept coming back to these light rose gold mirrored sunglasses. The thing I love about Bvgari is their attention to detail. The pinkish purple around the frame and the white that mirrors the appearance of a snake is stunning in person. I’ve worn these sunglasses so much in the last two weeks and every time people stop me to tell me how gorgeous they are and I have to agree. I have not seen anything similar and I love that it is a modern take on the cat eye.
Here is a close up of these
I have missed you all and cannot wait to catch up with you! What colors come to your mind when you think of spring?
First and foremost Happy Valentine’s Day darlings! I think Valentine’s Day is a beautiful reminder to appreciate the ones you love. Even if that means just calling them to say two things you love about them.
I picked up this fabulous off the shoulder side tie red dress from Abercrombie and Fitch. Which is on sale btw! This looks completely different than the Abercrombie and Fitch I worked at eight years ago, so shout out to their new buyer this linen dress is so beautiful!
I recently finished reading a book called The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo and it made me rethink my perspective on love. At one point in life I thought love was very black and white. Now I know there are tons of gray areas with love. Times where you are so drawn to someone that it is entirely magnetic and other times when you just get butterflies. Then just complete admiration for another person. You can read some of the reviews here to get a good summary. By nature I am a complete hopeless romantic. I love nothing more than great conversation, when a guy plans out a unique date and remembers the little things I even forgot I said. This always shocks my friends, because I’m often single and dating longer than I am in a relationship. I’ll be honest with you all, it’s because I have been afraid of commitment. Why? When I am in a relationship I am one hundred percent invested in my person. I use every spare minute I have to do what my guy wants, shop for the perfect birthday gift for him, plan a party, hang out with his friends and sometimes his family. The thing is in the past this has not been reciprocated. My ex’s have often been insecure due to rumors their “friends” made up, comments about me being out of their league or allowed their families to dictate who they can date and make racist remarks to me. The only thing I wanted was quality time with my man, who loves and trust me unconditionally and would stick up for me with his family/friends.
This past year I have taken the time to completely fall head over heels in love with myself. I have planned trips, taken acting classes, laughed with old friends over lunch, gone to viewing parties for my fellow actors, had drinks with some interesting people and honestly loved every minute of it. Ironically I had a four-hour conversation with a stranger about love, life, and marketing. Our conversation basically reminded me that through everything, I still completely believe in love. The kind that is patient, magnetic, passionate, selfless and comes when you are completely happy with where you are in life.
This year my Valentine is my fur baby who loves me unconditionally and I am completely fine with that! Do you think there are different types of love?
The 75th Golden Globe’s was a complete blackout. Usually the red carpet is full of vibrant colorful dress, suits and accessories. This year MOST celebrities showed up wearing all black. I have never been so proud to see this industry unite with Time Magazine for the Times Up initiative. A few celebrities opted to bring sexual assault activist as their dates. Why now, you might ask? Why now are all these people coming forward about sexual assault after being silent for so long? Why is Hollywood speaking up now and listening to activist? The climate we are living now. I’ve had this debate with a family friends dads who know I am actively working to be apart of the film and television industry. I pointed out to them that women have been harassed forever, but we often do not come forward because we are belittled and slut-shamed. What were you wearing? Are you sure you didn’t want the attention? Did you drink? How much were drinking? Why were you alone? Well did you lead him on? Are you sure you didn’t want it? Well were you a virgin? How many partners have you had? Well what did you think was going to happen?
None of these questions justify the perpetrator’s behavior. No one has the right to touch you or make a sexual advance to you without your permission. I believe the reason why Times Up has become a huge movement in Hollywood now, is because of our current president. To have a political election where one candidate is over-qualified for the position has decades of experience as a politician and public servant consistently answers all question about what they would do if elected. The other candidate belittles reporters with disabilities, ignores questions, does not submit their taxes, does not resign from their companies, has been accused of sexual assault, is currently being sued for sexual assault and harassment by multiple women. Then, is quoted saying, “grab ‘em by the pussy” wins over the over-qualified female candidate. This tells women they are not equal, they are not important and they do not have control over their own bodies. Add the lack of equal pay and well you’ve completely handicapped an entire sex.
The 75th Golden Globes has been the most powerful because they did not try to sweep the uncomfortable elephants in the room under the rug. Jokes were made using Harry Weinstein and Kevin Spacey names, calling them out for their crimes. Natalie Portman also pointed out that in the director category only men were nominated (even though there have been many great female-directed films and tv shows this year). Debra Messing called out E! for lack of equality – in reference to paying Jason significantly more than Catt Sadler. Oprah accepted the Cecil B DeMille Award and gave the most eloquent speech since Obama was in office. My hope is that this momentum will continue and all workplaces will promote a safe, respectful, equal pay environment we all are owed. I can not wait for the day women and men do not have to say #metoo Did you watch the Golden Globes? If so do you think the blackout showed unity or just a fashion statement?
I know I have been away way to long. I just wanted to say Merry Christmas!
To me, Christmas has always been about the joy of spreading kindness to others. Whether that is buying gifts for Christmas Angels through the Salvation Army, holding open the door for others or tipping your fabulous server 50 percent of the bill. This time of year so many people get caught up in the gifts I think its important to reflect on doing something kind for others. Two scriptures to remember this time of year.
A reminder of unconditional love and sacrifice
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
A reminder that patience and kindness is free, something we should all aim to practice year round.
1 Timothy 1:15-16
“15Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.
16But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.”
So I hope your Christmas was filled with love, joy and laughter!
I apologize for being M.I.A., I have been rehearsing for a showcase, updating my resume, getting my costumes together and such. I just realized yesterday (October 31st) makes two years since I left South Florida (to pursue my dreams of becoming an actress) and drove out to Los Angeles. The drive itself took about three days, but that’s a story for another time!
Two years later I am still pursuing acting now in Atlanta. I am proud to say I don’t regret going to Los Angeles. I have some great connections out there and am more familiar with a variety of areas in Los Angeles.
Four things I have learned over the past two years about pursuing your dreams.
1. God laughs when you make plans.
Meaning everyone always says you need a plan. While a plan is important you also need to be flexible. I am a firm believer in walking by faith. Every time I said, “Lord I am going to let your will be done. Please guide my path in neon lights so I know which way to go because I am completely blind!” As a result, he has always provided a way. Even when I was freaking out and down to my last ten bucks a job opportunity would appear and a new opportunity to work in the film industry would arrive.
2. Moving is a great way to find out who your real friends are.
Often times we make friendships of convenience. Sometimes it’s a friend we grew up with, lived near or ate lunch with so we wouldn’t have to sit alone in the cafeteria. Sadly every friendship is not for a lifetime. That does not mean this person was not important to you it just means you each grew into different people, with contrasting views of the world and probably could not agree to disagree. Looking back I realize a friend who never celebrates your victories is not a friend. A true friend is shouting from the rooftops all your accomplishments along with you. Instead of belittling your accomplishments and then expecting you to celebrate their own. When I moved my friends constantly tagged me in Memes on Instagram, called, texted and help reach out to any connections they had. These people are part of my tribe. I have continued to keep in touch with them even through different time zones. I’d like to thank Instagram DM messages and WhatsApp voice recordings for keep my group and I connected.
3. Ignore the naysayers
There will always be people to play devils advocate. Misery loves company and sometimes other people are afraid to pursue their dreams so they will try to hold you back from yours. You have to live your life for you. You only get ONE make it count!
4. When Plan A doesn’t work make another Plan A.
Put your heart into Plan A. Think of every possible negative and positive outcome. Then think about why you want to pursue this. Is it because other people told you too? Is it because you actually want to jump out of bed in the morning to pursue this industry? Or is it for financial gain? Is this your passion? Would you do it for free for a little bit, if it meant turning into a long-term career? Next evaluate each method, select the best and execute it as plan A. After all the A stands for Astonishing. Definition: Extremely surprising or impressively amazing. Because when you achieve your dreams everyone will stare at you in astonished silence, because that is exactly what you are, astonishing.
I’ve wanted to see Cirque Du Soleil for years, but never had the opportunity to go. My mom gifted me with tickets this year for my birthday and I must say I will make it a priority to go from now on! Cirque Du Soleil was founded in 1984 in Canada. The entire concept was to think of how a modern circus would be, they used juggling and fire breathing to create a spectacle.
The colorful detailed costumes. At the beginning of the show, these two beautiful birds came out with long wings that they fluttered. The bright emerald green, cobalt, and violet. There was a butterfly whose giant wings spread across and fluttered in the wind. Ever costume moved with the performer seamlessly.
The breath-taking stunts. The sheer athletic ability of these performers is worth going! I know you’re thinking it’s so expensive, but when you see how many performers are swinging from the ceiling, flipping off their friends’ backs and shimmying up poles you’ll honestly think they deserved more $$$.
Every Cirque has a different storyline they have done shows based on Avatar, the Beatles, Crystal and the Luzia one I saw.
Cirque brings back the childhood feeling of wonder. How do they come up with these ideas, colors, storylines, and script?
They use the five of the elements of drama: plot, theme, characters, music, spectacle. There is also a mystical use of water and wind.
You will come out inspired and energized to do new things. Whether that’s writing, working out, acting or singing.
Unlike other circuses, you don’t need to worry about animal abuse. There are no animals in the show!