How I Stayed True to Myself in the Entertainment Industry
For a majority of my adult life, I’ve worked behind the scenes in the entertainment industry. Along the way, there have been several moments when I had to ask myself: “Am I being asked to do something that goes against my values and who I am?”
After several entertainment industry internships in the Northeast, I took the leap to move to Los Angeles the summer after I graduated from Providence College. After being told that I had an opportunity to work with a talent manager in Hollywood, there was no job when I arrived. However, since I already had a place to live, I was determined to make life there work. I set up multiple coffee meetings with any and all Providence College alumni that I could find in the Los Angeles area. After sending out 400 resumes, I was booked 100 interviews over the course of four months. Unfortunately, I was denied the opportunity to prove what I was capable of the moment I walked in the door. Rolling eyes and body language told it all. As a woman with achondroplasia, I was judged because of my size the moment I walked in the door…100 times. Nobody was willing to stick up for me because they feared getting fired themselves. Because of all its glamour, the entertainment industry is a very competitive one.
After four months of living in Los Angeles without a paying job, my parents asked me if I was ready to come home to Boston, but I was determined to stay. My next move was turning to a few temporary job placement agencies that focused on jobs in the entertainment industry. Using this route, I landed a job at Creative Artists Agency (CAA), the world's leading entertainment and sports agency. After seven months of proving myself on the job, I was hired on as a permanent employee.
Throughout my entire job search process, I made sure I applied to jobs that would still allow me to stay true to who I am. It seems like a no-brainer, but the entertainment industry can eat you up if you let it. That’s ultimately why I decided to depart CAA after working there for five years. I went on to work in television casting at CBS. A year later, I left that job as well.
I was always drawn to television and movies as they have the ability to change the minds of the entire world. My long-time personal mission has been to advocate for further inclusion of people with disabilities in the media, and I've fulfilled that mission through my work in the entertainment industry and through the social media campaign that I founded, DisABILITY in Media. However, the entertainment industry is also very superficial and full of rejection. It was a difficult decision, but I knew in my heart that I wasn't willing to be superficial.
After leaving my job at CBS, I moved back home to Boston. I needed to regroup and find another path that would still allow me to stay true to who I am and my values. That ultimately led to me starting my own motivational speaking business, encouraging people to treat themselves and others with kindness and respect. I remind everyone to be confident, find their passions, and to stand up for anyone who is being mistreated.
Through my journey, I've realized that life is too short to be someone you're not. No matter where your life takes you, always remember to stay true.