March 17, 2009

The Road to Where I Am Today In Acting and Modeling

Well, I don't want to make this endlessly long so I'm going to condense it as much as I can while still being descriptive. I began acting when I was 14, I'll be 22 in about 2 weeks so I guess that would be close to 8 years now. WOW. I don't really count the first 3 or 4 years because I didn't learn much, haha. I performed in several plays, but as far as technique goes, I didn't really learn anything until I moved to NYC in September 2005 after enrolling in Pace University. 

I studied the Stanislavksy technique at Pace, and while I enjoyed my meager 3 hours of acting class per week I was miserable there. The bulk of my week was spent doing crappy freshman duties on set and in costume and I felt I was not getting the education that my nearly $35,000 per year tuition should have provided. I got the chance to perform in some really great plays, including The Vagina Monologues, but it wasn't enough. So I withdrew after being accepted into SFT (The School for Film and Television), now known as The New York Academy of Dramatic Arts which is a two year conservatory specializing in Meisner technique. 

I  LOVED this school. I was in a great section with some really great students and I very much enjoyed the curriculum because it was all acting, all day, every day. Heaven. Don't get me wrong, it was very hard work, but I was having a blast. The downside is that it was very demanding. Too demanding for me. I was struggling through what was the most difficult year of my life. I was going to school full time and working two jobs in order to support myself because I had to leave the dorms when I left Pace. I was living on my own and I was drowning. I had no choice but to leave school and take some time to get on my feet. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do and I wish I could have stayed. However, I needed to move on and withdrew in December 2006.

I got a set of crappy headshots done and decided it was time to start submitting myself for indie films and student films. I got a few auditions here and there and finally booked an indie feature film titled Pressure. I would be playing a principal character but shooting would not be for at least 6 months. By the time Pressure was ready to begin shooting, I had booked two short films. One titled It Wasn't For Love in which I was playing the lead (yay!), and another titled Drug Related where I was playing another principal. Awesome! 

Around that time, I decided that it was time for some better photos and after getting new headshots taken, I went to a reproductions office called ModernAge in midtown Manhattan. While there, I met an employee named Peter Gravina who also happens to be a pretty awesome freelance photographer. He told me that he loved my look and asked me if I'd ever considered modeling. Well yes, I had thought about it, but I never thought I would do it. Pursuing acting is difficult enough, did I really want to add another unpredictable profession to it!? So, long story short, I took his card and we set up a shoot (haha). A few weeks later we shot some really cute photos and he told me about a website called Model Mayhem. It's a social networking site for those involved in the modeling industry. Basically everyone from photographers, models, hairstylists, makeup artists, etc. He told me to put up a few of my photos and headshots.

I put up about 4 photos and within weeks, my inbox was flooded with requests from photographers all over NYC that wanted to shoot with me. After a couple of months of TFP shoots and portfolio building, I got a phone call from the marketing coordinator of Shake-N-Go hair who wanted to PAY me to model hair extentions, wigs, and the like!! Yes! Now, this was only the beginning for me. I shot three films and began doing paid modeling gigs throughout the rest of 2007. 

After taking about 6 months off in Texas for personal reasons, I came back to NYC in April of 2008 with a whole new mindset for both businesses. I was smart enough to keep in contact with all of the people that I was working with prior to my hiatus and was able to jump right back in to modeling. In regards to acting, I decided that I was not at the level that I needed to be at and felt that it would be foolish to submit myself for projects. So, I put acting on the back burner and decided to set myself up financially with modeling so that I wouldn't have to wait tables anymore. In September 2008, I submitted a few of my modeling photos online to Gilla Roos, a boutique commercial print agency, and less than two days later I received a call about freelance representation. Within a month of meeting them in October, I booked my first major job, an ad for Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo birth control pills. In December, I shot an online ad with Carson Kressley (Queer Eye) for Caress Skin Care. You can see the link in the side bar under "My Work". In January, I booked a major hair ad for Kaneka Hair Care. In between all of this, I've done many hair shoots for Shake-N-Go and have several pages in various hair magazines. 

So this brings me to where I am today. There are a few recent events that I will touch on in one of my entries over the next few days. 

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