Rewrite The Script & Get On With The Second Act…
I grew up twirling batons in Mardi Gras parades, performing in school recitals, writing song lyrics and choreographing my own routines. I didn't know the definition of a #TripleThreat back then, but I'd later find out. My unorthodox ways and desire to creatively express myself made people think I was crazy. I've been called 'Over The Top' a billion times. Do you really think you can do that? Stop living in a fantasy world. What's so special about you?
If you have dreams of singing, dancing, writing , acting or expressing your unique gifts and talents, I know you can relate to 'Over The Top' me.
When I loaded up a Uhaul with less than a $1000 to my name, I had 3 goals on my accomplishment list.
I love getting my makeup done and lights shining down on my face.
I wanted to 'strike a poise' for the camera.
I am a woman of action (let me explain...)
BUT...Lights.Camera.Action gave me 50 percent satisfaction. Another reason why..."Discounts are for the mall, life is not meant to be lived half-off" is one of the most poignant phrases I ever created.
As much as I wanted Hollywood to fulfill me on the outside, I wasn't fulfilled on the inside.
You would think I was living full out, 100%. I booked commercials, print jobs, acting jobs, worked with some of the most glamorous celebrities, recorded a CD with a female girl group, had a stint as a video vixen & became a Brand Spokes model. Momentum was building and my agent and manager were very optimistic. They ensured me a BIG BREAK. I guess you could say, I was drinking the purple kool-aid (I loved grape kool-aid when I was a kid, don't drink it anymore).
Back to the story...
When less than 1% of all working actors make it "BIG" in Hollywood... I never realized that I had to be equipped with more than beauty and talent. It takes raw talent and a ferocious mental game to thrive in a town that puts your flaws and idiosyncrasies front and center. If you were a mind reader, you’d seethe words… (Am I ever going to make it), playing over and over again…Was my name ever going to appear in lights? What if it never happened? Was I going to be happy with myself or my life for that matter?
Stop in the name of #SelfLOVE
This little girl from the Iberville projects in New Orleans wanted to be a star, to make a lot of money and have a beautiful life. But when I walked into auditions, I wasn’t confident enough, I wasn’t secure with myself and I settled for lesser parts. Not to sound too 'Woo-Woo" – I walked into the room and energetically said “I’m not good enough.” And guess what – I never got the BIG parts. Plus, I worried way too much about what other people thought of me. I didn't have the confidence, self-love or inner self-image that I do now.
Don't leave home without confidence...
I can vividly remember the day I walked into a casting office on Sunset Blvd for an audition for a Janet Jackson music video. All I had to do was free-style (dance without choreography). I was excited to learn I would get to improvise, choreography intimidated me (and not to many things intimidate me). It took me longer to learn dance routines and I was always 1- 2 counts of 8 behind. Talk about a mental block, you should have seen when I auditioned to be a Laker Girl...oh well, I played a cheerleader on a few TV shows.
Okay, back to my "All For You" audition, I got a call from famed Casting Director Scott Lazarus of 'Scotties Bodies". He was "the man behind the glam" in Hollywood for music video talent. A brilliant talent casting director. Most noted for casting the dancers and principals for music videos and commercials. I was sitting on pins and needles waiting to hear the news. Did I get the part? (One of the most popular questions in Hollywood) Here's what he said "I'm making you the double". What? But I wanted to free-style in the music video, go on tour and perform "If I Was Your Girl" choreography (I didn't say that to him). Hay, I dressed up like Janet Jackson for Halloween in high school. Some might call that LOA (Law Of Attraction). What you focus on expands, let's just say my dance moves helped me manifest meeting JJ.
I was grateful and in shock (shaking my head). A Body Double, me...the girl that has to stand straight to reach 5’3” ...I couldn't believe it. It also was a huge financial win because it positioned me and opened up more doors. I became a highly sought after Hollywood Body Double/Stand In, Productions Fit Model & Photo Double. Over the years I doubled for some other famous faces and stood in for legendary Eartha Kit in the Andy Davis film, Holes. I earned between $500-$1500 a day. Yes! I made money off my A$$ets and to avoid innuendo, I leased my hands, feet, top, bottom and sometimes my entire physique.
What did I learn from this part of my Hollywood journey?
A Body Double is a shadow and I learned to step into my own light (but not without answering the hard questions).
- Why do you beat yourself up inside?
- Why do you compare yourself to other people?
- Why do you think you are not good enough?
- Why can't you just focus on your unique gifts and talents?
- Why do you listen to those that don’t believe in you?
It was not only a lesson but a blessing in my 20's. After working with some of the most beautiful women in the world, I realized that we all have issues about what we see when we look in the mirror.
If we're tall, we want to be short.
If we're curvy, we want to be skinny.
If we have curly hair, we want straight hair.
And the list goes on...
The only thing left for us to do is make the most of ALL our parts (and I did).
What can this Body Double Teach YOU?
Instead of trying to shadow someone else, or trying to emulate someone else’s life. Step into the starring role, be “YOU” and take the stage; your life is playing live right now. Go for it! Create your own BIG Break. Don't wait...waiting is a waste.
Don’tallow other people to change the plot. It’s your production & you won’t be able to put on a great performance if you’re plagued by stage freight, because you’re worried about what the audience will think.
And if the characters that play in your scenes aren’t supporting players. You can always find someone else to audition for the part. NEXT!
Remember, you can always start a second act; you can even re-write the script and if you fumble your lines, you can give a break-out performance tomorrow.
Instead of waiting for Hollywood to discover me, I discovered myself.
The show must go on AND it did!
Love, Beauty & Hot Success,
P.S. This article was originally published in 2009 on Ungenita Beauty Blog