My Story: How I Became an Actor

Why should my story matter to you? We’re all looking for someone to see us: our soul. And if we’re honest, I think we all want to find reassurance that we’re not alone.

That’s my mission. My one word for daily inspiration is #LOVE.

  1. Love yourself.
  2. Love others.
  3. And love the One above, the source for life and all the blessings we have.

I think back to the beginning of my love story. Is it similar to yours? I loved to play outdoors as the second of eight kids. I lived in a grey log house with a red tin roof. And it was a happy family, with its issues of course. But happy nonetheless, and that was because we worked through our issues. We talked about them.

One issue I never had to face was a limit to my imagination. In the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, I found space for breathing sweet air. I imagined the dark woods to be a zoo as I pushed my siblings in a stroller or the little Tikes car or the rusty, little red wagon.

Even the low points of my long afternoons outdoors fed the imagination. I loved to roller-blade and careen on the bicycle even if that meant falling every hundredth time going down the driveway. The mountains past the meadow across the meadow sang with the cloud-banks ambling over the peaks. Sunset only meant that the best day of my life led to the next day, no doubt the best as well.

In truth, there is no life without pain.

So the question we face is: does your life’s work make the challenges worth the trip?

Somehow, I found the inner fortitude as a 6-year-old to start taking piano lessons. I showed discipline. I escaped from gymnastics class one day and ran across the parking lot to the local music studio. I asked about how to start taking lessons. The minutes of practice gave way to hours, and the hours passed daily until the end of high school. I was practicing 3-5 hours per day.

But life did throw some bigger hurdles. I nearly had to quit music lessons due to lack of financial resources. I found amazing possibilities in fear.

I took it upon myself to apply for a place in the high school class of 2011 at University of North Carolina School of the Arts. And I got in. This was the first time that I felt my will to dream and to live my truth were challenged.

Other performing artists intimidated my skills.

I just had to do me. Do you do you? I hope so. That’s all this life calls us to do.

I did not know what to do after high school. I applied like a mad-man to overpriced universities. By the grace of God, I secured a full-ride scholarship at Wake Forest University. I achieved at BA Honors in Music Performance. I studied in Salamanca, Spain for eight months and speak Spanish now. And I studied chemistry with thoughts of medical school. Don’t take the MCAT for fun, just sayin’.

Have you ever felt like time and hard work were wasted? That was me after college.

I needed a change. I got a job with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., in Albany, NY. And that big move put me in a small community.

I started acting to meet people. That was 2017. And soon I was surrounded by more playhouses than I could ever volunteer to act in!

I ended 2017 with my first lead role in a musical, playing Jesse Tuck in Tuck Everlasting with a playhouse in Schenectady, NY. It was an amazing experience where I not only used my knowledge for music but also my perfect pitch and pure tenor voice to sing in remarkable harmony with a select group of other fine up-and-coming actor-singers.

I realized in that experience that it was time for me to break boundaries.

Do thing you’ve never done before!

DO THINGS THAT SCARE YOU.

That’s when I took on a role wayyyyyyyyyy outside my comfort zone, playing Cowboy in Boys in the Band in Saratoga Springs, NY. I got my first stage kiss and realized that the world of a character is a fascinating haven for doing everything you’ve ever wanted that you would never do as yourself.

The character is a safe place. And it’s vulnerable. And it’s dangerous.

I feel that’s me. I’m a paradox: safe, vulnerable, and dangerous.

I did nearly overbook myself, but spanning 2017-2018, I managed to land 8 stage roles and 5 film roles. This was my serious hobby while making medicine as my day job.

I trained new hires, and my company sent me to Limerick, Ireland for this work. While there, I traveled the country. I also auditioned for a place in David Scott’s Applied Art of Acting 2018, a 3-month full-time intensive course on stage and film technique.

I also landed acting and modeling representation with REACH Management and VIP Talent Connect with Alycia Kaback in NYC/LA/Miami.

As my bohemian actor journey continues, I boast special skills that include martial arts, professional-level piano performance, tenor singing, violin/fiddling, gymnastics, horse-back riding, the ability to learn new accents, and Spanish fluency.

At the end of the day, I’m tired. I want it to be about loving my resources by spending them well. I want to love myself. I want to love you by sharing my light with you. And I also want to love the characters of the stage shows and film projects that come my way.

I hope you’ll join me in eternal optimism.

And also I call you to #LOVE.