Story and Interview by Miwa Sakamoto
It was kind of a no brainer for me to make the jump to acting. I never really felt like I fit into the modeling world and when it was suggested to me by a photographer that I take an acting class to help open my up in front of the camera, I jumped right in. I fell in love with it and never looked back. In my first few years as an actor, I had the great fortune of training with a great teacher and incredible actor himself, Rus Blackwell.
When I look back on my move to LA, all I think is “Was I crazy?”. I had graduated high school 6 months early, gotten myself set up with an LA Manager (who is still my manager today, 11 1/2 years later), packed up my car and drove to LA. I was such a baby, so young! Sometimes I still can’t believe that I came out here all by myself like I did. I didn’t know anyone here minus a friend of my mom. It was a little challenging at first to make friends. LA can be a tricky city! But now, I have the best friends in the world. I have been very fortunate to have found genuine beautiful people out here who have become my LA family. Auditioning can be very draining and quite grueling, so without a good core of people to help distract me and take my mind off things sometimes I am not sure what I would do!
Audition waiting rooms are very interesting to say the least. You have a lot of different energies flying around the room. Some actors are friendly and say hi while others don’t even look in your direction. You can never take anything personally in waiting rooms though because you never know what someone’s process is. I always try to be respectful of the other actors’ processes. I keep to myself while waiting to audition.
You do see a lot of the same people over and over again. Sometimes rivalries come up, but thats true in any profession. I try not to pay attention to the rivalries or give them any energy. I’m a strong believer that there is enough for everybody. Rivalries stem from lack and thats not a place where I want to live.
I quickly booked a couple of little co-starring roles with just one or two lines. My first job after moving to LA was 2 lines on Dawsons Creek during their Love Line episode. I had to ask Dr. Drew an embarrassing question about a vibrator. It was definitely not my dream role, but I was excited none the less! I didn’t book my first leading role till about a year and a half after moving to LA. It was a TV show called Beautiful People. I have so many favorite roles for so many different reasons, but that show will always hold a special place in my heart because it had so many firsts for me! My first time starring in something, my first time doing real press and my first time having to re-locate and film everyday for an extended period of time. I learned so much during that year. I feel like I have been really lucky with the projects I have worked on because I have made so many wonderful friendships and met so many amazing talented people.
First and foremost meditation is key for me. My practice of meditating twice daily is the most important part of my day. I have noticed that, for me, whenever I put too much attention on how I eat or how I look it ends up driving me a little crazy and causes me to be self distructive. I am a firm believer in everything in moderation. And though moderation is a word that is very difficult for me, I try to make that a part of my ‘ways to stay healthy’ habits. I also just love to stay active. I have never been a fan of working out but I love going on walks, hikes and I love taking things like dance classes and yoga classes whenever I have the time.
I joke with my friends that I probably get rejected at least once a day. It can take a toll if you let it. That is why my meditation practice is so important. It helps me stay centered in the midst of a very fickle industry. When I walk out of an audition, no matter how good or bad it goes, I try not to think about it again. The more attached I am to a part, the harder it is to recover from a “no”. At the end of the day, rejection serves as powerful feedback. If it stings, I know I have to work on letting go. I don’t want to pretend like I’ve mastered non-attachment, but I will say that now, when I get rejected, the sting doesn’t last as long as it used to.
Yes I still play. Playing for me is a great outlet and helps to take my mind off of auditions for a moment. It provides for me a creative outlet that no one can interfere with. I don’t have to wait for someone to hire me to have an sublime moment with music. Its just me, my bow and my violin.
Africa was one of the most eye opening, incredible experiences of my life. I went over with a team of people to film a documentary called ‘Road to Hope’ . Road to Hope is a foundation started by The National Hospice Foundation here in the US and The Palliative Care Association of Uganda (PCAU) that helps take care of child care givers. There are so many children who have to take care of their parents while there parents are dying of AIDs and other horrible diseases and once the parents are gone there is no one to take care of the kids. They have had to drop out of school and have no where to live and no money for food. Road to Hope finds these children and helps get them back in school and a place to live and food to eat. The documentary follows these kids and tells their stories. Getting to meet them and hear their stories was incredible. When I asked the kids “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, pretty much all of them said they wanted to help take care of people in one way or another, because that is all they have ever known. The strength inside these kids left me completely awestruck. This definitely won’t be my last trip to Africa. https://www.facebook.com/roadtohopefilm raodtohope.org
Everything. I really was so blessed with having an amazing childhood. We got to do a lot of traveling around the world with my Dad when he was on tour and I got to grow up in a household filled with lots of love, dancing and music. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.