Oh, you're an actor? You must LOVE being the center of attention!
I heard this phrase often growing up-- and as the picture at right attests: yes, sometimes I did.
Then there are the times I ate lunch in the girl's bathroom in high school, so no one would see that I had nowhere to sit.
Both of those young women are still a part of me: the one attempting to act out "Les Miz" for first grade show-and-tell, and the one sitting at the back of the class not raising her hand.
Many people assume actors are naturally outgoing. In my case, though, social situations have never been simple. For me, performing has always been a safe, structured place to express all parts of myself.
One of the coolest things about training as an actor is that it helps you develop skills you can use in all forms of communication. I learned to expand my physical presence by playing gutsy musical theater characters, so I'm aware if I start to hunch at a job interview. I developed all registers of my voice in order to act Shakespeare, so I can speak with clarity and ease when I'm teaching. You never know what might happen onstage, so I learned to be present in high stakes situations. Above all, I learned about the incredible power of vulnerability: how it can connect you to your scene partner, and to the important people in your "real" life.
I still get nervous before a performance, party, or interview-- and sometimes I still want to hide in the bathroom. But I also know the joy of feeling deeply connected to yourself and others simultaneously, and of using your “instrument” (your body and voice) to share information that matters to you. I am committed to a lifetime of developing the skills needed to communicate with truth, depth, and freedom; and so honored that I get to share what I’ve learned with others.