Ethnic Ambiguity 

Today’s post is inspired by a Facebook friend of mine that was mistaken for being Latinx when she is Caucasian. I feel for her because I have been in that same boat many times in my life. In a previous post, I mentioned I am Interracial. My heritage is African, Middle Eastern, Native American and European. The biggest question I get is “What are you?” That’s when I take a big sigh and run off the list.

Most times though I identify as being a Black woman. My mom is Black, I look like her, I am black. End of story. (Obama is mixed too. Everyone called him the first Black President, not the first Mixed President. Ok?)  However, when it comes to the entertainment field, there are some advantages and disadvantages to not being immediately identifiable as far as my race is concerned. 

Pros:

Anything in theatre or film and television that take place in modern day, will take me on as an actress. Because I look Non-Descript like many others and can be fluid in many roles.

I have played a Middle Eastern character before (it’s not a far stretch since it makes up part of me) and could probably take on more roles like that in the future. (Side Note: I really was a little pissed of at people getting mad at Gigi Hadid for wearing a hijab for a magazine cover. Especially when she is made up of half a Middle Eastern race and religion. Her freaking last name is Hadid! How do you get accused of appropriating something that makes up half of you?)

Cons:

I’m pretty much tied to doing more modern day plays, Shakespeare and modern timelines in film or television. Anything that is period sensitive tends to lean towards someone who looks like the race they are (ex. Caucasian or African American.) 

Speaking of African Americans in film or television; I am often passed over for parts because I’m not “Black” enough. Which is funny, because to a bigoted White person, I have been called the “N-word” so uh, I’m plenty Black enough for them. 😒

There are Latinx roles available. But due to the fact that there are plenty of Latinx actors and actresses available, I won’t take those roles.  Because that would be cultural appropriation. So I pass over those roles quite often.

So there it is, the story of my career in a nutshell. One of these days I hope to do more work that incorporates more ethnically ambiguous people like myself…when they become available. But I’m not holding my breath.

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More Hard Decisions

I had originally posted for a few months now that I was going to audition again for Arden and A Midsummer’s Night Dream. However, with the rehearsal schedule and upcoming trip to Vegas, I have decided to take my hat out of the ring. This came at a hard price since the Gild is so good to me and gave me my first theatre part really. But I really need a job, I need to prepare for school and I need to see my friend that I haven’t seen in roughly two years. In addition to the fashion show at the University, this is another thing that had to fall away. After doing tech for Eurydice, Titanic will be my last show for a while. In the meantime I’m still doing stage combat training which will get me certified to choreograph and get paid for fighting. I will be active on the theatre boards and I will keep writing and do more social media marketing. I’m really sad but it’s all that I can do.

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. 

Near The End of Year Review 

                              (Hmmm…)

I really put myself to task this year and for lack of a better word, I would call it hectic. Not saying there hasn’t been good moments; but even with the good I felt like I was pretty much getting my ass kicked. Truth be told, I wasn’t alone…

Let’s start with what was crap first so I can lift myself up with the good after:

•It took me most of the year to recover from my car accident. Winter time was the worst for my aching muscles and bones. 

•Because of my accident in the beginning and then my pursuit of my career, I had to cut down my hours significantly at my job and eventually having to resign because I couldn’t do the job anymore without calling out. This would have eventually led to me being terminated so I’m glad I resigned instead.

•My love life is still crap and I did try dating (to very little success). There was someone that I admired secretly, but he turned out to be a twat so…no to that. (I can’t even stand to see his face it is so bad. And I still have dreams about him, ew.)

•Financially this year was much harder than last year (mostly due to the accident) but also due to picking up more gigs. (Not a horrible thing but still very expensive with travel and all.)

•Because I’m a stress eater, my weight kinda came back up since my weight loss post, but now for some reason it’s going down. (Mostly due to being so stressed out that I’m now not eating.)

•Practically the whole world is in turmoil and like a lot of other people, I’m at a loss on how to solve it. (I love solutions, but no one seems to want to move in any direction.) My faith in humanity is all but shot at the moment.

•I’m losing some of friendships because of my career change.

•Prince and David Bowie are gone and never coming back.

•I’m still not where I want to be. (This is just me whining though.)

And now for the good:

•I made a ton of new and genuine friends, who are so funny, intelligent and talented that I want to grow up and be just like them. And along with them, my existing friendships are still just as strong.

•I booked a lot of paying jobs this year and ended up being featured background on National TV.

•The independent feature film, MUDA, by the Liberian production company Ducor Media had been nominated for 13 awards at the African Oscars. They won 3 including People’s Choice for Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Screenplay.

•I was cast in my first Shakepeare play and I’m a member of the board for the Arden Shakepeare Gild.

•I had the lead role in “Carmilla” and stayed with Reedy Point to help with “A Christmas Carol.”

•Because of staying at Reedy Point I’m now doing a staged reading at Bootless Stageworks for a play called “Body and Sold.” I will have an individual post about this production at a later time.

•I’m cast for at least one designer at the moment for Philadelphia Fashion Week and also Synergy (a fashion show hosted by the University of Delaware fashion design students.) I hope to work as a volunteer at NYFW and have been keeping my finger on the pulse for that.

•There is also some film work now booking in Philadelphia that I submitted for so I’m still splitting my time between both major cities. (The City of Brotherly Love, that Never Sleeps lol.)

•I’m finally cleared by my medical team to move around like a normal human again (though I still have some physical limitations.) Just in time for winter so I don’t have to suffer in pain like I did last year.

•I had to push back my start date for my education in Ireland due to being booked out until February and possibly March. Not a bad thing work wise, but I am a little depressed that I’m not in Dublin right now.

•My teacher gig is pretty cool and my students are sweet. Though I think this will be my only semester due to working to get myself back into school.

I still have goals that are now rolling over into 2017, because they were not accomplished in 2016. I hope soon to deliver better news and less complainy posts.

Taking a Break 

This has also been a very long and busy week. Much of it though involved me working at my other survival gig which is cleaning houses part time. As far as work pertaining to the entertainment industry, this is what I have going on so far:

•I got accepted to walk in Philadelphia Fashion Week in February 2017.

•I am working as both an actor and tech person for A Christmas Carol for the Reedy Point Players.

•I may be walking in another fashion show sponsored by the University of Delaware, but I have not heard back from them yet.

•I may be helping with the Young Actor’s Workshop for the Arden Shakepeare Gild in January.

And that’s about it.

Thankfully I have the house cleaning gig and the teaching gig to keep me alive, though I wish I could do some more castings. I pretty much put out for everything that I could at the moment with nary a callback. So since this is basically a brick wall at this point, I’m going to take a step back and just get ready for the holidays. If you need me I will be knee deep in mashed potatoes.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Keeping a Work Journal

           (I’m a bit of a notebook addict)

Last week during the class that I teach, I was explaining to my students about the importance of keeping a work journal. As to be expected their eyes were a little glazed over and started doodling on the notebooks provided instead. Still I gave them some simple rules:

•This is a journal that is simply used for information regarding your career. This is not to be used to write down your deepest darkest secrets, but as a memory keeper.

•You write down any job that you have worked (paid or unpaid though the former is preferred.) This includes the date, the nature of the job, the cost incurred (if any) to do the job and of course the payment for that job.

•Any event related to your career should also be documented. (Date, cost, what the event is, who you met, etc.)

•Classes and Workshops: While I would expect there would be notes taken for any lessons; the same rules still apply like the jobs and events (date, cost, subject, who you met, etc.)

•One last thing I would also include in the journal are random items as well, regardless of whether they cost money or have to directly do with an upcoming job or event. This would include: Films watched. Books and/or magazine articles read and why the information was valuable. Cosmetic items purchased. Clothing or costume items purchased. If you move to an area that is greatly beneficial to your career or places traveled in general. People you met or people you saw that inspired a character. Odd jobs that contribute investment money into your career. Even previous experience before embarking on this career that shaped you.

For instance today: I spoke with my modeling agent about my upcoming fitting for a show I am in. In addition to that she asked if I could volunteer my time for a charity show that is presenting next week. My journal entry looks as such…

10/22/16

Spoke with Shawna about upcoming fitting for Eleganza event. Must contact Colleen or Alex at Claire’s Boutique for fitting time. Bring formal and business footwear during fitting. Dates for fitting are 10/25, 10/26 or 10/27 from 2-7pm for one hour. 

Also Shawna asked if I could volunteer for another show at the Chase Center on 11/3. I agreed. Fitting will be on 10/31 in Greenville (check email for more details.) Show starts at 6pm. Call time is 5pm.

That’s about the jist of what a work journal would look like. On the day of the fittings I will write down my travel, who I spoke to, what I’m wearing, etc. What I love about work journaling is that it helps me keep my head together. I hope this helps.