My story begins in a small central Illinois town. Born and raised to love your neighbor, play outside, and maintain good grades in school, I have always had an adventurous side. I got a great sense of joy or pleasure going to new places and meeting new people. In a personality test that I took (I was bored), the result said that I rarely have any trouble meeting and talking to new people. Ain’t that the truth!!
In college, I joined a touring theatre company, From the Branch, and for four years I spent a large amount of time on the road performing in front of 1000s of teenagers. In 2007, I spent my summer interning in Cooperstown, NY at Glimmerglass Opera. When the producers and directors found out that I was an actor, they asked me if I would like to be in two (four were in rep) of the operas as a supernumerary. Even though I wasn’t singing, it was still an amazing experience to be on stage in front of over 900 audience members every night and meet fantastic people.
Another exciting experience happened to me in 2007. I had the privilege to study in Moscow, Russia, for three months. I also visited in St. Petersburg for a week, and spent most of my time visiting museums and walking the streets of the ‘Venice of the North’. My time spent in Russia, in my opinion, is the reason of my desire to see and do more outside of my backyard and comfort zone. After all, comfortable is too easy.
Right before graduating college, I signed with a talent agency and was almost immediately cast in my first feature film, The Genesis Code. That was quite an experience. Unfortunately that excitement eventually faded away, as I would not be cast in another film for three years. Nothing in Chicago or Dallas but countless auditions with a few callbacks. Callbacks were great but they didn’t pay the bills.
During this whole time while living in Chicago, Dallas, New Orleans, traveling with From the Branch, and taking vacations with family and friends, I was constantly pushing away the desire to go back to Russia. In my spare time I was learning about Russian history, culture, and learning the language. Eventually I got tired of being unhappy and made the decision to go back.
I did some research on the best way to make my triumphal return to the Motherland, and the easiest (and legal) way was for me to get a job. If you want to live in Russia you need a job, and in order to get a job you need a work visa. I received my CELTA (a Cambridge English teaching certificate) and found a job teaching English to adults.
My time in Russia was absolutely amazing. Not only did I visit St. Petersburg again, but I visited a true Russian village, Paris, London, Milan, Turkey, Munich, Vienna, and more. I think one of the best things that happened to me is being able to travel and meet so many interesting people and places.
Teaching provided me with an income and a place to stay. It also gave me the opportunity to continue to do what I love. That is entertaining. And I will continue to entertain and share not only my thoughts and news, but also my friends and other various things.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s life is too hard to live it by yourself. The help and support of other people does indeed make a difference. That’s what we entertainers and actors do… make a difference!