When did you first get started? How did you know you wanted to pursue acting as a career? Why the engineering degree? Do you ever plan to use your degree if acting doesn’t pan out for you?
These are all valid questions that I get at least once a week when explaining how I got to where I am today. The easiest answer is that hard work really does pay off and, if you set your mind to it, dedication to your craft can take you to the next level.
I should probably start off by saying that I love my engineering degree and it was a dream of mine since I can remember to become an engineer. It used to be that I wanted to focus on nanorobotics technology and start my own tech company right when nano-tech was coming into the market. But, after my first year at Georgia Tech, I realized that was not the path for me but I wanted to keep with my major to have a technical background after leaving college.
The middle two years of my college path was marked by a focus in business while also pursuing my degree in electrical engineering. During this time in my life, I worked at Turner Broadcasting System and then Codesigned as a project manager and then a business analyst. At this point in my life, I figured I would pursue working my way up the ladder in business and help bridge the gap between engineers and marketing. But, then life took another turn I wasn’t expecting.
The summer before my senior year at Georgia Tech, I met my acting coach through my straight husbands’ girlfriend (at the time) during one of her lessons. Weird, I know, but just go with it. During this lesson, I was asked by Brenton, my now friend and acting coach, “What are you doing in Atlanta?” to which I replied… “I have no idea.”
Shortly after that, he helped me grow the skills I had and I booked two professional shows during my senior year of college. I also went to my very first cattle call audition and accepted an apprenticeship at Georgia Ensemble Theatre (GET). All while also graduating, traveling to NYC for the Shorty Awards, and directing/choreographing my own variety show at DramaTech Theatre.
This is probably a good time in my story to mention that during my time at Georgia Tech I was a part of DramaTech Theatre and worked with them during all four years. This theatre, under the guidance of Melissa Foulger, helped shape me into a better actor, singer, dancer, and all around person. Those people left a huge impact on my life and will never be forgotten.
Oh, speaking of dancing, the reason why I love dancing so much was because of how I randomly was part of a week-long ballet intensive at Flint River Dance South in Camilla, GA before I started my senior year of high school. From that, I performed in two of their shows and they trained me in ballet for an entire year. I also was going to Darton College, while still in high school, at the time and performed in multiple dance shows at the college which focused more on styles revolving around lyrical, jazz, and modern. Needless to say, my senior year of high school was full of dance which has influenced me today in my career.
After graduation, I found myself as an apprentice at Georgia Ensemble Theatre performing, taking classes, training, cleaning up after shows, building shows, traveling on tour, and making new friends every step of the way. GET to this day still is one of my closest theatre families in Atlanta and remain a strong supporter of my endeavors all around the country. Without their training and mentorship, I would not be in the same position I am in today.
Once my apprenticeship was over, I found myself for the very first time without any set path before me. No school with a set a schedule. No theatre having me work on shows around the clock. Just me and my own drive now taking the helm of my career. At this point, I realized that I need more training because I wanted to gain a deeper understanding in a certain school of thought when it came to acting.
After a few months on my own choreographing, performing, and working, I landed an offer from Atlantic Acting School to come join their summer conservatory program in 2017. With this school, I would get training in practical aesthetics and learn from industry leaders what it takes to make it in this world. This school is based in New York City and is directly connected to Atlantic Theater Company, an off-broadway theatre.
After the summer intensive, I decided to join their evening conservatory program and continue my training with them for the next year. This program has shaped me more than I even imagined it would. Atlantic continues to surprise me by how honest they are making me with my own skills, fears, and dreams and over the next year I plan to continue to push those fears and dreams even further to see where I further my growth as a performer.