It is by no mistake that all of the greatest actors, writers, comedians, and artists around the globe have to grapple with all of the internal highs and lows that come with crafting their craft and cultivating their artistic style. In an effort to move and impact the world and people around them, artists slave to achieve an unshakeable emotional rawness. But how can an artist remain so emotionally open and raw when the next rejection may be just right around the corner? We’ve all heard the stories of now very famous actors like Danny DeVito or Jim Carey who had to endure hundreds of no’s before getting one yes. My goal was to set out on a mission to figure out what keeps an artist motivated despite having to deal with so much rejection and emotional turmoil.
One of the first things I did was sit down and talk to my roommate and fellow New York actress, Tanya Everett who has been hitting the city pavement and auditioning professionally since graduating from Columbia University in 2006.
You are an actress, and is that how you introduce yourself to people?
I introduce myself as an actress and playwright as I feel like both are important to my artistry.
How long have you been in the business of acting?
Well, I started acting and auditioning professionally when I was 10 years old. Pretty sure I never booked anything, but there were some really awkward auditions when I was a kid where they would ask me to take my clothes off.
And how long have you been an writer?
I would like to say maybe the last 4 years I’ve been sharing my writing, but if you ask my parents they’ll say I’ve been writing since I was 9.
Did you keep a journal as a kid?
I did and – writing is actually, if you ask my parents- that is what they want me to be.
Do you consider yourself more a writer now than before?
More than I did, yeah. Just because it’s afforded me new opportunities and I think right now in the landscape of theatre and film and TV- we’re seeing these hybrids. These really exciting hybrids. One of my friends is Jocelyn Bioh- she is on Broadway right now in The Curious Incident [Of The Dog In The Nighttime] but she has several plays, one which is a musical being produced by Ceelo [Green].
What is one thing that brings you happiness everyday?
I am practicing meditation, which is- I’m learning how not to let the ebb and flow [of life] not affect my general space. Because, the thing is, you cannot change the outcome of your daily work. In no other profession do you have so many slammed doors all the time, you hear so many more no’s than yes’s. So, yeah, I think developing a practice of meditation.
Do you think that helps with your writing as well?
Sure, I think it’s clarity. It helps with the anxiety of not knowing what’s next. The self-doubt. You know, journaling that out, and having a purpose to the work that I am doing. So, somebody wrote, this actress that I’m kind of inspired by actually- Yasha Jackson- “An artist is a creator, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be creating something everyday.”
Do you find a certain struggle in trying to maintain a fresh, creative mind?
Sure, I can’t stick to a product. I have more ideas than time in the day. So, it’s keeping along with those ideas and finding an end to them.
When you leave an audition room, what is the one quality of you that you hope you leave behind?
I’m really cultivating light. If I leave an audition and I leave light in that room then that brings me joy. Those people are going to remember my light. And what else is there?
How does your lightness affect how you approach a script?
I’m not quite sure I’m completely conscious of it, but I would say that- I know I understand something when I start to paraphrase something and it becomes mine. I’ve noticed in my last few auditions that- Oh, that’s really how I say that. That’s how I feel.
What is your salvation when it comes to rejection?
It’s not about me. It’s really not about me. A film, and a TV show, and a theatre production is a machine that [I] am only a part of. And [I] am usually added last. And that shouldn’t seem demeaning, it used to feel demeaning to me, but now it’s like- when it works, I’m part of the machine. I am a part of what makes it valuable.
Finish the sentence: A good day ends with me-
Being compassionate with myself. Life is bigger than just perusing a goal. I love what I do, but I am not what I do. I am a person with a family, a person with a friend, I am a person currently with a great boyfriend, fingers crossed… I am not an actor. I am a person that is in love with art and finding ways to do it more and on a bigger canvas.