The life of an actor is fraught with rejection, depression and poverty. For these and many other reasons I was immediately drawn to it. In my high school it was actually somewhat cool to be a part of the drama club and even cooler to be the secretary of said club, which I was.
Thanks to a really fun drama teacher my friends and I spent the majority of our time hanging out in her classroom and doing backstage work for fun. She failed to mention, however, that after high school being an actor isn’t nearly as cool or fun.
These facts ring especially true when a na퀌�ve student such as myself comes to the realization that being an actress means being lonely and poor and making sacrifices. It took a move to New York and a bizarre hook up with an acting coach for me to realize that my future was not on the stage but rather as far away from it as possible.
At 19, I was like most kids in that I didn’t know anything about life. I decided after becoming bored with community college that I would find a way to move to New York. Incredibly enough this turned out to be one of the easiest things I have ever done. Instead of saving money and finding an apartment, I decided to get a job as a nanny on Long Island. I had a connection through a family friend and my new employers flew me out about a month after I hatched my plan to get the hell out of Oregon.
Upon arriving in New York I was greeted with two children who left a lot to be desired. They were incredible brats to say the very least. In order to not kill myself, or them, I went to about five movies a week after my 12-hour workdays and spent the rest of my time watching television.
While trying to find the closest movie theater, I stumbled upon an ad in the yellow pages for acting classes. The school only offered one class on Long Island and it happened to be in my neighborhood. It was fate. I was destined to become an actress after all.
I immediately called the number and signed up for the class. My first session was a bit uncomfortable because not only was I the youngest person in the room, I was also from Oregon which made them all stare at me as if I were a science project. I had no idea when I arrived that people on the East Coast would think that I was a total bumpkin because I was from a state that they could not pronounce correctly.
To make matters worse when I told them where I was from the coach asked me in complete sincerity if I “knew Ken Kesey.” What the hell? He really thought that if you lived in Oregon you had to know every other Oregonian because it was so small. It was a miracle that I made it through the first session, but after that it got a lot better.
I was succeeding in my scenes and everyone thought I was hilarious. The fact was the only thing that was keeping me from running back home to Oregon was the class. Eventually, though, I realized that no amount of escapist hobbies were going to make me stay.
The last month of my tenure as nanny/actress I received a phone call from a gentleman in New York City who had been at one of our performances. It was the highlight of my life up to that point. He wanted to meet me, and represent me. I was in shock but I was also leaving. The ability of the children I worked with to make me miserable was so powerful that I was willing to give up a once in a lifetime opportunity in order to get away from them. I was also 19 and incredibly homesick. So, instead of becoming an impoverished actress with only a waning interest, I took the next flight home and began the rest of my adventures.