Though this is a very personal subject, I no longer feel it is a part of my life I need to, or should hide. I feel it is important to share my story, and by doing so, I hope others will feel less alone. With this feature, I hope to increase the visibility of depression and to reach out to others who are suffering.
I was ten years old the first time I remember feeling depressed. Ten years old. It was years before I accepted my depression, and even longer before I ever saw a therapist. For the nine years before I sought help, I just assumed I was a weak and worthless person.
Even after years of therapy, and occasional periods on anti-depressants, I still suffer from depression. Thankfully because of the therapy, I know what my triggers are and how to handle them. I am aware of everything I eat, how much I sleep, how much exercise I get, and even the roles I choose. All of these things factor into my mental health. A year ago I stopped consuming alcohol of any kind to try and reduce my risk of breast cancer (which runs in my family), and because of how quickly alcohol can trigger a depressive episode. I try my best to stay off of medications, so I have to make specific lifestyle choices to make that happen.
This winter was particularly hard (thanks, Seattle weather). But now that I am at a place in my life where I can confidently own my mental illness, I thought, “Why not express this artistically?” I emailed my friend Dawndra to see if she would be interested in helping me, and she agreed right away.
We wanted to capture the feelings of despair, aloneness, and sadness that come with depression. Here are some of her breathtaking shots:
If you or someone you know is battling a mental illness, there is hope, and do not hesitate to reach out for help. Here are some great resources:
You can also call your insurance provider to find therapists in your area that accept your coverage.
Most importantly, know that you are not alone: one in four adult Americans suffer from a mental illness. Together we can find the lighthouse through the storm
All my love,
PS. For a humorous, yet very accurate, interpretation of depression, please read this post by Hyperbole and Half.
And please feel free to leave a comment or your reaction to the photos.
If you know me, or follow me on twitter or Facebook, you probably have discovered that I have a tenuous relationship with Los Angeles. Yes, it is the heart of the entertainment industry and offers the job opportunities I desire, but actually being there is a challenge for me.
First let me say that, of course, there are nice, grounded, generous people in LA. God Bless them. But so often you see those that aren’t so nice, grounded, or generous. I just got back from a week long trip and I saw both types of people.
I started my week with an orientation for a very well renowned acting studio. As events transpired, I was appalled by the behavior of the instructor and some in the class. I won’t go into specifics, but let’s just say that I will not be taking a class from said instructor. It was my second day into my trip and already I was feeling hopeless about the quality of people in LA. Luckily, a dear dear friend of mine from college invited me to volunteer with him.
Drew has been one of my dearest friends since we did a show together at the UW. He’s one of the nice, grounded, generous types. So before we got to visit, I met him at the food truck for the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition. Here is a description of what they do from their website:
“Every night between 6:15 and 7:30 a community comes together at the barren street corner of Sycamore and Romaine, along the border of Hollywood and West Hollywood. On the one hand – on one side of the table – are the volunteers of The Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition, a broad-based grass-roots organization which for the past 25 years has served a hot, fresh, and nutritious meal every night to the homeless and hungry. On the other hand are between 150 and 200 men and women who have somehow or other fallen through the cracks, and for whom the meal they are about to eat, sumptuous as it is, might well be the only meal they have all day.”
I was one of the people serving food to those that came for a good meal. No questions were asked about need, or how they got into their situation. We just fed them as much as they wanted and sent them off with a smile. Not only was there plenty of food to offer, but there is a mobile clinic run by UCLA students for those that can’t afford medical attention. There was also a legal aide to help those that need it but can’t afford it. I was amazed by the whole operation. Everyone was treated with dignity and respect.
I am so glad I got to have this experience. It is so easy to get caught up in the superficial and selfish world that exists in the entertainment industry. Admittedly, I am not immune to it. The GWHFC reminded me what is really important: making the world a better place for each other, be it through a good meal or a good story.
And if you have a bit to spare, please consider donating to GWHFC or to your local food bank.
Marlene Dietrich has always been the epitome of glamour to me. I had never even seen any of her films until recently, but the iconic press photos of her have been emblazoned on my memory since I was a kid. She was a Movie Star: sexy, beautiful, glamorous, and one look at her and you knew she had It.
Ten minutes into Morocco it becomes clear that she would have eaten Angelina Jolie for lunch. All her roles have a ferocity to them; a woman that can’t be tamed. She also had a colorful personal life. Ms. Dietrich had the credit of bedding three members of the Kennedy family among many others… She was a woman that lived by her own rules, but kept us wrapped around her little finger.
I have been looking forward to the next chapter of my Screen Icons series (you can see my last installment here), and I have wanted to do Marlene from the beginning. It was thrilling trying to embody her: I felt like a little kitten trying to be a tiger. Just channeling her I felt more powerful and sexy. Also, I learned that tuxedos are far more comfortable than traditional ladies formal wear. So, you may be seeing me in a white tie and tails again sometime!
Here are my favorites from our session (all done with the ever-fabulous John Ulman).
****DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT SMOKE OR CONDONE SMOKING. THE CIGARETTE USED IS A PROP CIGARETTE*****
When you have numerous auditions without bookings, when you feel like you aren’t good enough, when you wonder if things are ever going to get better, it’s hard to remember that you are enough.
You. Just you. As you are, right now.
As I write this, I still struggle with feeling that I am enough. It’s hard in this business of rejection, and when you don’t get any feedback how can you know for sure? All you hear over and over is “NO”.
That is hard for anyone.
So for you and for me, let’s remember:
I have the great good fortune to have so many talented friends. The first time I met Dawndra was on the Revelation set. She later shot our Reveal All photos for the film, and that was when I really fell in love with her. Her photos are so honest and artful. I have started calling her the “Annie Liebovitz of Seattle”. In addition to her whimsical portraits, she has done some really impressive work for Homeless in Seattle, which brings a true look into the eyes of homeless persons in the city.
In December we finally found a time in our crazy schedules to meet for some photos. Dawndra sent me an inspiration image and we went from there. It is so fun to start with an idea and see where it goes! I also finally had the chance to use these awesome fake lashes my friend, The Geeky Hostess, gave me for my birthday.
As we went through different poses and costumes, I insisted that Danwdra’s dog, Bruce, join me. He had been sitting and watching patiently the whole time, and he is one of the handsomest models I have ever worked with!
Please enjoy the photos and leave a comment with your favorite one!
My first big project of 2013 is The New Play Festival at the Seattle Repertory Theater! I am very excited to be working for the Rep again after doing a reading of The Weatherman Project with them last year. The play I will be working on, The Weatherman Project, is a piece about the radical anti-war group “Weather Underground” and set amidst the turmoil of the Vietnam War. It’s written by local Seattle playwrights, Elizabeth Heffron and Kit Bakke, and features five young actors. It is so nice to do a play that features young people-they are few and far between on professional stages!
Tickets are very reasonable and will sell out: we only have three performances! So get your tickets and I’ll see you at the theater!
Have a very Happy New Year and a great start to 2013. I am so excited for the coming year and I hope you have many special things in store as well.
I’m not a huge New Year’s resolution person, but I do often put a few things on my list. Sometimes it is just about finding peace in the coming year, sometimes it is about specific goals (getting on network television- thank you Grimm!), sometimes it is just about being open to anything that comes my way.
What are you looking forward to in the next year? Did you make any resolutions?
I will leave you with some of my favorite images from pinterest that will help our 2013 be great!
Like everyone else, I can’t believe how quickly 2012 went by! It was a jam-packed year, but you have to believe me when I tell you….. 2013 is going to be even more crazygonuts!
I won’t go into specifics now, but here is what you can expect from the blog in 2013:
- More AMAZING photo shoots
- MIND-BLOWING project announcements
- and more INSIGHTFUL tips for actors
I also will not be blogging every week, but you can expect something at least once a month, and maybe more depending on what I have to share. I am hoping to deliver more in depth, quality posts that will really be something to look forward to!
Thank you so much for joining me in 2012 and have a Happy New Year!
I am almost to my 52 post goal for the year, here at the blog. I have managed to post something every week, and except for a few weeks, every Wednesday this year. It has been a fun challenge and one that I didn’t think I would enjoy as much as I have!
Next week I will talk about all of the big things that are in store for the blog in 2013, but I wanted to go over the highlights of 2012:
TOP POSTS- These are the three most popular posts this year, and I think some of my best!
The post that garnered the most comments was:
And the most popular photos are from my #BeBreastCancerAware Campaign.
What were your favorite posts? Any that really stuck with you? Is there anything you would like me to post about next year?