How my dream roll changed my life!
Years ago I saw Rock of Ages on Broadway. It was my first time staying in NYC ( I was rehearsing for my first professional show at the time!) It was the second Broadway show I had ever seen and I will never forget it. The feeling I got when they revealed Sherrie at the end of the first number. I inwardly gasped and thought “Oh my god. It’s me!” Then after watching the whole show, and being slightly worried that my body wasn't up to par, I still felt deep down that it was meant for me. I was told, by my peers and boyfriend at the time, that I was much better suited to the comical character. My energy and voice were more her, so go for that role. I was young, and in-experienced, so I believed them. Deep down knowing they were absolutely wrong. Fast forward a few years and I was playing Sherrie on Norwegian Cruise Lines and my life was changed forever!
Now first, I played Regina (that comical role I was talking about). Did I have a blast, eventually.... yes! But it was a journey to get there. Comedy doesn't really come naturally to me, and that's ok. However, it did make the beginning years of my career rather tough. Since I was rather loud and energetic, I would often get typed into the sillier roles. I had a hard time convincing people that I was suited for something different, when I was short, loud, and had less than 30 seconds in an audition room to show them my true self. Playing Regina was opening a door for me. And I will say, that that was a pivotal time in my life as well. Little did I know, it was setting me up for major discovery. I was rather self conscious during the majority of that run, but that cast lit me up! I was with a group of people, so different from me, that my perspective shifted. I learned so much from them. They loved me more than I realized and set me on my way to becoming my highest self.
That contract was pivotal for me in so many ways. Near the end of that contract, my first long term relationship ended. It was honestly such a blessing. I was young and clinging to a relationship that no longer served my growth. I was being boxed into be someone that I no longer was, and I realized later on how much I let my inner self and professional life be stunted by love. So then....came the year being single. It was hard, but it was so necessary. It was the first time in a long time that I looked inward and dealt with my shadows. I took care of, and invested in myself unlike ever before. This is when I first really committed to Tone it Up!
Nearly a year later, my body and my mind were righter then ever and the universe delivered. I was signed on to another contract, that seemed rather dreamy to me, when I got the offer for Sherrie. I hadn't even auditioned! They needed a last minute replacement for the role, and they thought of me! I was so excited and I knew deep down immediately that this was the right choice. This was my moment. After all those years prodding and poking and attempting to convince people of who I truly was.... someone finally took a chance! It was meant to be. I still remember exactly where I was when I got the email! Walking to the living room in the Astoria apartment I shared with my college bffs. I stopped in my tracks. It's still clear as day.
Once I started loving myself, my whole world opened up.
The contract was a dream! The difficulties I had faced during my first contract floated away. It all felt so right. Everything just flowed. I met my best friends during that contract. The greatest humans I know. My voice was stronger than it had ever been. I was so energized and motivated to move my body and get in shape. Add my counterpart into the mix, and it was magic. In case you didn't know, Robby (my now husband) was playing my romantic interest on this contract. This is where we met! At a rehearsal studio in Tampa, FL. (Well technically we met at the gym, but that's a story for another time!) I compliment him on helping me to become a better actor because working with him was the most natural thing I had ever done. I had been told for years, by multiple teachers and casting directors, that I couldn't act. I almost turned down this role because I was afraid that I couldn't carry it. I was letting other convince me of what I was capable of, and I'm so grateful that I shoved that aside and took a leap of faith! Everything fell into place with this contract and I learned exactly how and what I needed to. Our characters were falling in love on paper, and I was falling in love in real life. It was a seamless transition and an absolutely magical feeling. Now I'll save the details of our love story for a different blog post, but I just had to share to show how life changing this time was!
I will never forget that feeling of gratification stepping out on stage in full costume for the first time. It honestly felt like home. I felt so completely free within myself. The greatest sense of permission to just be me, and be me BIG, I had ever felt.
I've been thinking back to this time in my life a lot lately. It was the most validated I had ever felt in so many ways. In my career, my body, my skills, love, my friendships, my lifestyle.... It was golden and never to be repeated.
Each contract I've done, and every roll I've ever played has had an impact on who I am in some way. Some taught me very hard lessons and some, like Sherrie, gave me freedom I didn't know I could have.
So be yourself and be yourself big. You know who you are at your core better than ANYONE! No matter their title or position. Just because they are an "expert" in a field, does NOT mean that they are an expert on you! Only you are. And that is truly your super power.