How did you start dancing?
My mom put me into creative movement classes when I was 2. So I guess I really started when I was 4 [laughs]. But I was in classes doing recitals by age 2 and a half.
At my first studio's recitals, parents could only film the dress rehearsal. At my first dress rehearsal I just sat on the floor in my sequined costume as everyone else danced around me. I don't think my parents anticipated I would choose a career in performing after that.
Were your parents performers?
My mom took dance all throughout high school. She now works at a hospital, and my dad was a firefighter.
How did you grow as a dancer?
I continued dancing. I did competition dance in middle school. And then on a whim, some of my dance friends were doing a musical over the summer. My parents asked me if I wanted to do it, and first summer I wasn’t convinced. Second summer I tried it, and then I did it for ten years every summer after that. Through singing in a musical, I realized that my voice was getting better faster than my dancing. I stayed dancing but focused on singing more.
How did you know that you wanted to perform?
It was hard to decide. I was in many AP classes all in high school and was 14th in my class or something like that. My mom would tell you the exact number [laughs]. But I couldn’t find anything else that I was dying to do. Nothing else was really inspiring me. I decided to audition for college and got chosen by the school. I went to Elon. I auditioned for many many a college, and somehow I got into one of the best ones, and it was the only one. Destiny worked in that way.
How was your experience at Elon?
I love Elon. Anyone who hangs out with me knows I am more obsessed with it than anything. I still keep in touch with my classmates. There were about 24 of us. Most of us live in New York. It’s just a family atmosphere down there. One of my professors, Linda Sabo, basically my therapist and an amazing teacher--I could always go to her for anything, and I’ll never forget that. The teachers push you really hard but will always be there for a hug. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
What happened after graduation?
I worked for the summer at Weathervane up in New Hampshire. Got my EMC card there. Before I had the chance to really move to New York, I had a sublet, but I got a cruise ship right away. Left in October. I traveled the world for a year and a half. I went to like 48 countries. Met my boyfriend. And here I am.
I finished my second contract in January 2014 and moved here at the end of the month. It was like 5 degrees when I moved into my apartment. I’ve been auditioning and working for lululemon and ivivva and pounding the pavement.
How has working for lululemon and ivivva been?
It's a company that really cares about developing its employees. So although it is retail, there is a ton of opportunity to grow and learn. Each store has a library of business books, which I have been known to take advantage of. Now that I am with ivivva, it is a lot of business. We are still really focused on brand awareness and building a community. A lot of times it isn't until people see the lululemon logo on our pinpads at checkout that they make the connection. It's also wonderful that I have a super supportive manager who not only wants me to develop inside the company, but encourages me to audition and follow that passion.
What’s your goal as a performer?
I’d love to be on Broadway. It’s the dream. But at this point, I just love to sing. How I’ll get there, I don’t know.
What was your toughest time as a performer?
College was tough at first. You are the big fish, and then you become the little fish.
I had one day in New York last year—I love to tell this story because I can laugh about it now—I was getting a cold, and it was still cold outside. I went to three auditions that day. I was starting to get sick, and I had this awful audition where my voice freaked out. It was so embarrassing. I wanted to tell them, “I promise I know how to sing. Can I send you a video?” I walked outside and called my mom, and it started raining. I was just crying.
I texted my boyfriend, “Make sure Frozen is on the TV when I walk into the apartment.” I just sat there and drank tea and watched Frozen and felt sorry for myself. And then that was it. It’s like getting a shot. It stings for a second and then you dust off your boots, and you go back to work.
What do you do to get over tough times like that?
You just have to take it with a grain of salt. Life is not really that hard. I am living in an amazing city, surrounded by friends in every neighborhood. My tough day would be me singing and nothing happening. That’s not that bad.
What was your happiest moment as a performer?
I guess as a performer you’re always self-deprecating and don’t think of the happy times as quickly as you think of the sad times [laughs]. Getting the cruise ship right out of college was pretty cool. I graduated and had like $1,000 in my bank account, which wouldn’t have gotten me anywhere in New York City. I was just sending out my stuff and hoping something would bite. The chances of that aren’t great. I got the job through video submission. Getting the email from the casting company wanting to send me around the world was really great. I had to take a minute. And that experience in itself—seeing the world, meeting amazing people—that whole experience was awesome.
What’s your biggest advice?
You just have to let it happen without any expectation. If you have an expectation, it’s never going to go that way. You just have to let it happen and enjoy what it is. I even tell that to myself. You go into an audition—someone is playing piano for you and you have a dance party with a bunch of people who do the same thing as you. Enjoy it.
And people say it to you all the time--it kinda gets to the point where you’re rolling your eyes, “I know. Have fun.” But after I moved here and didn’t have a job and auditioned five or six times a week and totally burnt out, I had to find the joy in it. Otherwise you’re not going to do it. I am not going to schlep to midtown and fight tourists unless I know what I love about it. Even just sitting and seeing a show gives you a kick in the butt and think, “This is why I am here. Not anything else.”
Did you ever have moments where you wanted to throw in the towel?
Oh, definitely. Working for lululemon—it’s very cushy and you have all these great perks that make me think, “I could move to Vancouver and work for lululemon.” It’s not easier, but it seems easier. It seems like there is a defined path to success in the corporate world whereas in theatre, you have to be in the right place, be the right height, sound the right way, and hopefully your name or face doesn’t remind the casting directors of someone they don’t like. There’s no calculation in that, and I love math [laughs]. So that’s hard for me. It comes and it goes.
When I was getting ready for today, I was having this whole moment with myself, “Oh my god, I am not a real dancer,” which is the stupidest thing in the whole world. I’ve been dancing my whole life. But now I feel like I’ve pigeon-holed myself as a singer who doesn’t dance. In reality, in a movement call, I am like, “No, wait. But I dance. Let me actually dance,” just to shake the notions I have of myself. If I do that to myself, everyone else probably does it too.
I think a lot of people feel the same way and often times it’s just in their head.
Yeah. My dance teachers would be mad at me if they heard me saying that I wasn’t a dancer. When I think back, in college, I took ballet with all the dance majors. Maybe they shouldn’t have let me in there, but one of the girls is a Rockette now. I gotta give myself a little bit of credit [laughs].
Any last thing you want to share?
My friends are always like, “Your feet are so flexible and beautiful.” I say repeatedly, “I will never get a job because of my tendu.” So I put it on my resume under special skills hoping one day someone would ask me to do a tendu. And then I’d just point my toe and get a job [laughs].