Sep 2, 2015

Ch-Ch-Changes

I took my first acting class when I was 3 and it was awesome. I was awesome. I signed with an agent and started booking industrials and commercials right and left. I mean, look at my crimped hair in this comp card...

Seriously, look at that crimped hair. Oh, and the child-size bunny.

Nothing pleased me more than when I got to leave school early and tell everyone it was because I was going to film a commercial. Bad ass! I had the bug. The theater bug. And I had it bad. Though I left the agency when I was 9, I never stopped loving performance. Some of my best childhood memories and friends are from summer theater camp. In high school, I sang in choir, auditioned for every play I could, and performed with a musical theater performance group. It was like show choir on steroids, and we were good. Like really good. Like "some of my friends are on Broadway and stuff" good.

When I arrived at Ole Miss, I intended to pursue a degree in Education with a minor in Theater. That lasted maybe one day before I declared my major as a M.F.A. in Musical Theater after my first meeting with my theater department advisor. After that day, it was off to the races and I never looked back.

Last day of Studio '07 . Guys, look at us!  

After college, I headed straight for Chicago. Oh, Chicago. My love letter to you would be long and embarrassing and would smell like cold water off of the lake and chocolate from downtown. Chicago theater is the best theater. Seriously, there's nothing anyone could ever tell me or show me that will convince me otherwise. It's risky here. And it's work. Like really hard and beautiful work. 

Brewed (The Ruckus and Tympanic Theatre 2013)- Susan Myburgh, myself, and Erin Myers (<3)

I write all of this to say one thing: I'm an actor. 

I've always been an actor. I love being myself in other characters. I love the audience. I love the storytelling. I love the vulnerability of standing on stage in front of people and knowing that that is enough. That that is brave. 

Cooking took me by surprise.

It started out small. Cakes for birthdays, treats for a fundraiser, then dinner parties...And, finally, the biggest surprise. MasterChef.

MasterChef: Season 5. Holy shit.

I spent years and years being just versions/fractions of myself, trying to be other people in show after show, and the thing that got me the most exposure was being myself. 

Talk about a wake up call.

Over the last year, I've fallen more and more in love with food and cooking. There's nothing that pleases me more than finding a pure white streak of flour in my hair after a day in the kitchen. It's how I want every day to end. 

So, I'm moving. 

I'm moving back to my hometown of Birmingham, AL at the end of October in pursuit of a new and scary dream.  

Dat booty, Vulcan.

I wanna smell like cakes, and hard work, and cookies, and long hours, and brownies, and achy feet, and, most importantly, pie.

There are so many things about this move that make me scared: leaving behind my friends who've become family, missing out on the best theater scene in the country, living in my hometown for the first time in 12 years, making new friends, making a HUGE career change, and maybe one day, starting my own business. Talk about risky. But, it's also incredibly exciting, because....what if it works? 

I used to worry that people would think I was giving up here in Chicago. Wait. Hold up. I used to worry that that's what I thought about myself. Occasionally, I still wobble on this question. But, I've come a conclusion: just because I'm pursuing another career, doesn't mean that I'm not an actor. Being an actor is something that lives in your bones. It's who you are. And, I can be both. I can be a baker and an actor.  Baker= career; actor = person. As my friend Elizabeth says, embrace the slash.

So, here I go! Birmingham, I can't wait for your humid hug. I really hope this works out between the two of us. I know I haven't been the best about keeping in touch, but I'm sure going to need some friends when I get there and I hope we can hang out. Also, do you know anyone who might need a former reality TV person in their pastry department... 

And, Chicago, I'm here for another two months, so I'm not saying goodbye to you yet. Or ever for that matter. Let's wring every ounce out of the next few weeks. I love you.