When I was a pre-teen, my mom signed me as her first and only client. She ran “the company” out of her walk-in closet. The agency was called “Faith Based Management.”
She would wait for the mailman to submit old copies of Backstage magazine and highlight all of the potential auditions I could go on. We got glamour shots from Barbizon and the Garden State mall. She sent me to theatre camps, voice/piano lessons, and community acting clubs. She was the Jamaican Mama Rose.
I remember there was an audition for “Lion King” on Broadway for the role of Nala. But, the role required you to wear an animal printed body suit. My adolescent, rolls and pudge didn’t exactly make me a strong candidate for a latex onesie. I was not a skealthy pre-teen (hybrid of skinny-healthy) and my overside belly would make me look like an MTV teen mom in that one piece.
Theatre has always been my passion in life. I’m not going to be a cliche and say: “Theatre is the only skill I have.” That would be a bold faced lie. I can answer phones. I can file. I can teach. I can deliver for Postmates. I can do anything I put my mind to, but theatre is and always will be my life. I’m good at it. I’ve trained in it. I’m at home on stage.
At the beginning of every year I write a dream list.
The list contains things that scare the crap out me and that require extraordinary faith. One of the things on the list was audition for TV and film. TV scared me for years. I’ve been in this industry since I was a teenager and even when I was rocking a 150 pounds, with my neck bones clawing out of my body, I was still too FAT for TV during those times. Now TV has changed a bit, but not by much.
In last 10 years I have religiously given my life to theatre. Turning 28 this year required a change that freaked me out. It was time for TV. It was time to embrace TV. So 2016 marked the start of my TV auditioning journey.
After Body/Courage closed, I screen tested for HBO in LA and it changed my life. For the screen test, HBO plucked me out of Chicago, flew me on a special plane, put me in an even more special hotel, on the beach I might add, and threw me in front of HBO’s top comedy producers.
Although, I didn’t book the project it changed me. LA is a dream making monster of a place. I’ve always been afraid of moving to LA, because, in my mind, it was the land where skealthy people thrive. I never felt like there was a place for me. But, my best friend, Lateefah, is KILLING IT out there. She is a curvy actor of color and has given me so much hope and faith that it will be alright.
This was going to be a faith move. I’m broke as hell. My Grandma Aunt Dor is currently on life support. I had no idea how any of this was going to happen.
- In April, I prayed after the HBO screen test and said: “If this is the will for me to move, let it be clear and as stress free as possible.”
- In May, I secured representation.
- In June, I booked an understudy position at Geffen Playhouse for the play Barbecue, by Robert O’Hara, under the direction of Colman Domingo. This is an all star cast y’all.
- My husband’s law firm is allowing him to work from home whilst in LA.
Y’all. 15 minutes ago I paid a down payment on the move. The movers will be here to move us across the country on August 12. Two days after our wedding anniversary.
Chicago has been such a home to us. I came here, after grad school, to find community, and was blessed with so much more. This is a special kind of town. The artists here are hungry and are always prepared for anything that may come in there way. There is a toughness and resilience that comes with being in Chicago. Dreams can be made here only through hard work.
I will never forget you Chicago. You allowed Body/Courage to have a life beyond what any of us could have imagined. You have supported me in everything.
I will always remember and love you with all my heart.