Upcoming Shows and a New Focus 

It’s been a very busy week for me with fashion week going on in Philadelphia. I have also taken this time to contemplate what I can do as an income producing activity while I support my career that’s flexible. In the meantime I have good news of upcoming shows that I will be a part of.

In the next week and a half, the Wilmington Drama League will be presenting Eurydice, written by Sarah Ruhl and directed by my friend Sean McGuire. I will be working as a Backstage Badger for this show as an assistant tech so I will not be seen on stage at all (which is cool.) After that it’s full blown rehearsals for Titanic: Tragedy and Trial, written by Pat Cook and directed by my friend Gail Wagner. In that production I will be performing as more than one character, (much like what I did for A Christmas Carol where I played two small parts.) She’s bringing in a British Dialect coach so I can tighten up my Standard British Accent for one of the characters and I will also be playing a Swedish woman (another part of my ancestry which would be fun to play.)  And of course the Arden Shakespeare Gild is hosting auditions for A Midsummer’s Night Dream I can’t possibly miss that! 

As far as my new focus. I’m doing more skills in my stage combat class (I even had to drop out of a fashion show so I can complete my required hours.) With the level of dedication needed to perform those skills safely and effectively, my fitness needs to be up to par. I’ve already mentioned some of the activities I would like to get back into. Roller Derby is one of them and they have a skating assessment coming up in a couple of weeks. I think getting back into pole dancing will be a huge asset due to the incredible amount of strength I need to build as well as flexibility and fluidity in my movements. There is a ballet studio down the street that I can take classes at and some additional martial arts classes that I can do on my off time. The biggest obstacle is the lack of money and transportation. So I’m going to have to get crafty with training as a broke girl.

I’m going to have to put modeling on the backburner. I have to relinquish my teaching job because of the hectic schedule I have currently. I’m going to have to let go of a lot of things in my life and work with the bare minimum to be able to achieve my goals. But I can do it.

Awards

        (Source: Emm Roy and Facebook. It’s entirely accurate for me.)

I have not watched the Oscars tonight due to the fact that I do not have a traditional television, and I’m completely reliant on my phone for entertainment at the moment. So far I have been watching Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries on Netflix and has been pretty excellent. I won’t jump into the pretentious mode of saying that awards are not important or self-congratulatory. What I will say instead, is that I have won enough awards in my lifetime that it does get boring after a while. Recognition is great (and truthfully what many people want is to be valued) however, what I want most in life is to recognize myself more. Not in an egotistical way at that. I just don’t want to continue to kick myself down when I’m doing the best that I possibly can. It’s not possible to receive a trophy for that. It’s something that manifests from the inside. 

Last Day of Fashion Week

I’m seriously riding the struggle bus right now. Besides being highly caffeinated, my knees and ankles are starting to show their age when I’m walking. The garments that I have worn so far are extremely beautiful and the hair and makeup were definitely on point. However, it’s going to take everything I have to punch out this last walk. But first, here’s a photo review of what I’ve worn so far…

Everything, minus the denim and shoes, are courtesy of Janell Wysock Textiles. This was worn Tuesday night at Sugarhouse Casino for Fashion Week Kickoff.

The entire outfit is VonRay Designs by Latasha Henderson (Project Runway s. 15 contestant.) Shoes by Creative Reaction. Worn Thursday night at 2300 arena.

Outfit by Tretu Designs by L. Smith. Bra and shoes provided by me. Worn Friday (last night) at 2300 Arena.

The cool part about fashion week is the the thought that goes into what the hair and makeup should look like. You should see the massive team of stylists and makeup artists that put in the work to make us fit the designer’s vision. I also discovered a new liquid foundation I love in the process (yay!) 

I’m looking forward to what tonight’s outfit will bring. And I will have the photos available on Instagram as soon as I finish walking.

I Need A Vacation 

I just drank a large energy drink and I’m still tired. My weariness comes from serious pressure to stay focused. After everything I’m going through with work and my personal life, I think I deserve to take a vacation.

The last time I went anywhere out of state was 4 years ago when I went to Texas (a man that I loved lived near where I visited.) 3 years before that I went to Japan with my best friend. It’s very rare that I travel somewhere that is not work or event related. Much of this is to do with the fact that I can’t really afford a vacation and/or I’m in full work mode and can’t seem to take the time off. And that is much of what it will be in the future. The only break I really have is just a couple of days to sleep and watch movies. However that is not enough to keep me from hitting what I am doomed to face soon…massive burnout. 

Even if it’s only for a few days, I would like to get out of Delaware. Hell, I wouldn’t mind getting out of the United States for a bit. Maybe to revisit Japan. There were some places that my friend and I missed the last time due to the heavy tour schedule. The first thing I have to do is get my money right. Then we’ll see.

Sundays…

I’m looking at my calendar for March and April with huge regrets. I’m overcommitted and the sad part is if I didn’t have combat class on Sundays, I wouldn’t be so stressed out. Now what should I do? I’m participating in two shows that need my attention more than anything. The stage combat class is my love and I’m trying to get certified to book more paying work as a fight coordinator. I can’t miss too many hours or it affects my adjudication. Ugh! 😰 It’s days like today I wish I had Naruto’s ability to perform Shadow Clone Jutsu.

Fashion Week and Personal Grief

Before you get confused about the the meme, let me tell you that I am excited to be a part of Fashion Week. It just also happens to be the week that I’m going through the most stress and grief. At this time it’s best not for me to really open up as to why I’m blue. What I can talk about is how to maintain the “mask” of happiness and energy needed to make it through the job.

The best thing not to do is to lie to yourself or other when saying “everything is fine” when it’s not. That will lead to a public breakdown of the worst kind (this has happened to me.) Nor are you in an environment or platform to really explain what is going on in your life.


(Seriously, it’s really awkward and uncomfortable.)

So what do you do? First, do your best to avoid chatter about your personal life and keep the discussion very surface. (Ex. talking about upcoming projects, talk about the weather, talk about other things within your profession. Never politics.) If someone asks you how you are, instead of saying “good” I usually say “I can’t complain.” (Sounds weird but this actually works. I learned it from an old customer at a previous job.) If the person is really probing to find out how you are or they can tell something is off, be partially honest. “I’m not well, but I don’t want to discuss it.” They usually are very respectful and will respond with “Well, I’m here if you need me.” And that way they give you the space you need without being intrusive on your boundaries and no tears. If they are really pressing the issue, I hate to say it but they are an asshole. Stop talking to those people and walk away. They thrive off of causing you pain and drama. After that, find a way to channel the pain into your work. Since I’m walking in a fashion show  I will make my walk really strong.

I know this was really personal, but it’s relevant and I hope it helps.

Graduation 

(Source: The Backstage Badger Tumblr Page and Pinterest.)

So my kids graduated yesterday and I couldn’t have been more proud. This session was very interesting. Some of my shyest students were able to sparkle a little more when they found out being shy is ok. They all have improved on how to walk on a runway and present themselves with poise. I will miss my babies and this is probably the only session I will have under my belt with the school. The satisfaction that I have was that I had the best kids, and I know they will grow up to do great things.

Dreams

In an earlier post, I wrote about the spooky dream experience I had while on the set of Homeland. I also had a post (since deleted) about how my dreams do pan out to reality in some way. The reason why I’m coming back to this subject is due to the fact that the dream I had last night is relevant to a pitfall that might happen in my career. Think of this post as more of a journal entry that helps me stay accountable as to what might happen to me along the way:

I’m hired to walk someone’s dog. While we are at the park, a couple passes us by on the left and another couple are approaching toward me. The two couples know each other and they happen to be zombies. Their weirdly casual conversation was about how they died. The couple that were approaching me and the dog told the other couple that were passing us, that they had died by eating this platter of poisoned meatballs they had in their hands. (I could smell the meatballs in my dream and they were rotten. All I could think to myself was “no wonder they’re dead!”) Both couples saw me and the dog trying to make a quick getaway and they chased after us and force-fed us the meatballs. We both quickly spat it out, but the taste was left in my mouth and it was horrible. This is when the dream ended and I woke up sick to my stomach.

Since I’m familiar with having dreams with cloaked meanings, this one was very easy to interpret. It’s easy interpretation is also the reason why I’m using the meme above. 

For starters, food of any kind in my dreams, represents money. This may not apply to other people; but since what little I make goes towards feeding me, it makes sense. The fact that they were meatballs is important. I’m a vegetarian, so I avoid any meat product in my daily life anyway. They are poisoned, so not only is this a meal that I would avoid getting nourishment from, it would also actually kill me. (Destroy my career, leave me broken.) The people talking about these poisoned meatballs, were dead. (So they know that what they did was wrong.) And still tried to force feed me with what destroyed them (put me on the wrong path and drag me down to their level). Me and the dog were spitting out the food and trying to get out of there quickly. Dogs are a symbol of love and loyalty. Whom ever hired me to walk their dog has pure intentions for me as opposed to these dead men walking. 

Now I have to stay on high alert, I’ve already been almost dragged into a scam once. Stuck with people who run their business poorly and had to let go of friends who wanted to distract me from my path. It sucks because I just want to be left alone and not have to put up with anyone’s craziness. I deal with enough shenanigans just living.


   (Source: Rebel Pin-Up Facebook Page)

Cheer is Life

(Indeed it is and recognized by the IOC as a Provisional Sport.)

I figured it was finally time to discuss my other love: Cheerleading. I happened onto it purely by accident. My love began at the beginning of 8th grade when a few of my friends wanted to tryout for the squad and asked me to come along. At this point my whole idea of being a cheerleader was associated with someone who was kind of dumb and usually blonde. So I happily joined my friends as a bit of a joke since I knew I was not going to make the squad.

But I did make the squad.

“Ok” I thought. This could be be something to do when I’m not in Tae Kwon Do. My martial arts friends kind of gave me some flack for it but whatever, they didn’t go to my school so I didn’t have to see them. And cheering in 8th grade was really easy and typical of how cheerleaders were portrayed in movies at that time.

The real work didn’t begin until I got into high school. Prior to starting my freshmen year I had a look at what extracurricular programs I could be a part of. Band was one of my options and cheerleading the other. The band wasn’t go great, but the cheerleaders were phenomenal! So that influenced my decision and I tried out again. I made the team again. And not without a lot of blood, sweat and tears.

Over the course of those 4 years, my team won several competitions including State Championships and 4th place in regionals. Individually I earned the title of UCA All-Star and performed in London, England for their 2001 New Years Parade. After graduating high school, I stayed on as a freshmen coach and cheered for the Collegiate Open Team my high school coach Lisa created. We won a National Championship under the coaching of Jeff, who left that program to take over Wilmington University’s program and lead them to 5 National Victories. (He has since retired and the team won a sixth title this past January!)

Things I have learned from being a part of this wonderful sport and how they prepared me for my career:

•Being part of a team and knowing that every person on the team is important.

•Persistence. Those routines are tough on the body and took up a massive chunk of our schedule. We didn’t always win a trophy or place at all. When you work so hard only to come up short it can be disheartening. That’s when we had to dig the deepest and continue to show up.

•Stage presence. I would be much more fearful of a live audience in theater if I didn’t have cheer experience first.

•Voice projection. No one can hear “Go Big Blue!” over a large crowd if you’re talking at a normal decibel. 

•Adaptation.  My coach changed her mind a lot, so I’m used to going with the flow.

•Being easily coached. When you’re in theater you have to take direction from the director. Having to be part of a sport where taking direction can make or break a routine makes that a cake walk.

•Toughness. Stunts are dangerous and because I was a Backspot, I was responsible for making sure my flyer didn’t end up in the hospital or die. I got clobbered often as a result.


                      (Source: Pinterest)

•Broken Stereotypes. I quickly learned that all cheerleaders are not dumb and blonde. I learned that dumb isn’t sport or hair color specific. And blondes are very nice people. 

All in all, I still love my sport even though I’m no longer in it. Maybe someday in the future I’ll do a season on an open team. But for now I will just remember it fondly.

I Love Lawyers 

(Source: Artist Unknown, but Phoenix Wright character courtesy of Capcom.)

While some people out there in this big blue marble called Earth may not be big fans of lawyers, I know I certainly am. And while I may have received some good news from my lawyer today, my love for them started way earlier than just me being involved in an accident.

To start, I am related to a couple of lawyers, they are the sweetest men you could ever talk to. I have also had the pleasure of serving many lawyers while I worked at Starbucks. They usually came in with a song in their hearts.  Asking how my day was and since I was just starting my career in the entertainment industry, they often were my biggest cheerleaders. Much of this has to do with the fact that there is a bit of theatrics that come with being a lawyer, especially when you have to present a case in front of a jury. Actually, the love for the theatrics runs so deeply, I have found that some of my favorite cast mates in community theater were lawyers during the day. And of course, I cannot forget about the amazing group of lawyers from the ACLU, fighting for the people just trying to start a new life in our country. Please donate to them here if you can.

To top it all off, my favorite video game series is the Ace Attorney series produced by Capcom (which further cements my love for Capcom.) In these games you are the acting defense attorney on a case; which you have to investigate and present evidence during witness testimony. How you win is proving your client innocent. Though the storylines for the games are often a little winding and combined with the fact that they are produced in Japan so they always have some supernatural element to the game. I find them to be so much fun!

All in all, I love lawyers, to me they’re safe and if you have the right ones they will fight for you.