Many of you I see daily, others of you, I love from afar. I have been blessed by a network of loving, caring, championing friends.
If you know me, you’re likely aware that I always knew I was meant to be a performer. To act. To sing. To make art in whatever way I could. My life has had more than a few difficult journeys. I was lucky enough to have made my living as an actor and singer, beginning right out of college. I was “on the edge of a huge breakthrough” 😣 for years. But I got so tired, frustrated, and worried. The self-doubt was exhausting. And after a series of… well, acts of God, really, I made a choice to take a contract working with my band that would keep me in Las Vegas for six years, effectively ending my acting career.
Don’t get me wrong, singing with a phenomenal band at the Bellagio was pretty great. But I felt unmoored for awhile — like I had become disconnected from my purpose. How many times have we asked ourselves, “How did I end up here?” And how do we find our way when life starts to look so foreign from everything we’d always planned? Adulting can be hard, right?
The good news is that I now feel more aligned with my purpose than ever before.
After returning to Los Angeles in 2009 and through an unexpected turn of events, I began teaching acting at Lesly Kahn & Co and then at the college level. I continue to teach and I’m the chair of the theatre department at The Young Americans College of the Performing Arts here in Southern California. I cannot begin to convey what a beautifully unexpected new level of meaning and perspective working with my students brings to my life. I see so much of myself in these college kids. Watching them struggle with the same demons I did, while so open-heartedly yearning to make a career out of their art, but (also like I was), unequipped for the slings and arrows of the entertainment business… a new dream was born for me.
I obtained my Master of Applied Positive Psychology degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s premiere program under Dr. Martin Seligman. I worked with the founders, leading researchers, and luminaries in the field to learn everything I could about the science behind resilience and well-being. I developed an evidence-based model for performing artists and creatives called The Resilience Compass. (If the subject interests you, I hope you’ll read my thesis on the Penn Scholarly Commons website).
The new irony is that it looks so easy from where I’m standing over here, with my (now) maddeningly objective point of view about what it’s like to pursue a career in the performing arts. But I still remember how it feels. Which is to say… entirely different when life is an octopus wrapped around your face. You lose a little perspective then.
When I look back at the winding road of my career… at the wins, the losses, and the near misses; at all of the times it was between myself and one other person for a huge project & I shot myself in the foot; and at how I was not equipped with the mindset or practical tools for being resilient; and then finally, how the sum of all of those parts was that I WALKED AWAY TOO SOON… I am determined to make what I now know available to other actors and performers who are still on the path toward their entertainment careers… especially the ones who are a hair’s breath away from giving up.
That’s a thumbnail sketch of my story and it’s the reason why I started The Invincible Artist. We offer live workshops, private coaching, and online programs to bolster resilience & well-being for performers. I am also writing a book on the subject as well. Ultimately, I am on a mission to get positive education, well-being, and resilience training into arts and conservatory programs. Our institutions do a wonderful job of teaching artistry and craft, but these other necessary subjects are largely unaddressed. Our artists desperately need this training as well. Let’s explode the idea that you have to suffer for your art. I believe you get to be an actor AND love your life at the same time. Please join the movement and help me spread this idea!
The Invincible Actor Intensive begins on June 12th. Please click the link below if you have questions and would like to set up an insight session at no charge.
Thank you for reading this long post. Again, I am incredibly grateful to have such loving, supportive people in my life. If you or someone you know could benefit from this information, I hope you will sign up for the intensive or pass this information along.
Wishing you love, well-being, and just a little more bounce,