"You're Not Good Enough"
We all hear this in life. I know I have. I'm glad I chose to ignore that and show people that I am more than "good enough" at what I do.
Let me go ahead and tell my story. My acting career got started around 2009 when I did a production of Cats in a small town in Indiana. I was never much of a dancer, so it was a big challenge for me.
Now, I had already done two previous productions of Cats. One in college, the other in a local community theatre. I have played Skimbleshanks three times in my life. That is two and a half times too many for someone who is not a trained dancer. But I got through the first two with a lot of hard work and practice, and I knew I'd be able to get through this one too.
I ended up working at this theatre for nine months. Making less than $200 a week to perform in 8-16 shows per week. Sometimes 3 shows a day. This was a regional theatre where lots of young, talented kids right out of college did their first shows. I was only about 22 or 23 at the time.
Moving on to the person who said "You're not good enough."
The managing director of this theatre in Indiana. Many of you reading this may know her. You may be friends with her. I won't say her name or the name of the theatre because I don't want to bring myself down to her level. For the story's sake, I'll call her "Brandy."
This will tell you what kind of person "Brandy" is:
"Brandy" once bragged to me about attempting to ruin a young actresses career over a mold allergy. She offered the girl a job. This girl had a severe mold allergy, so she asked about the cast houses and the theatre itself and if there were any mold issues she should worry about before arriving to her less than $200 a week theatre job. After "Brandy" didn't answer the questions, she followed up with another email asking about the mold. Without an answer, "Brandy" replied to her email with "You ask too many questions. The offer is off the table."
To answer the questions for this girl, yes. There was a ridiculous amount of mold in all of the cast houses. She probably would have died...so this part of the story actually works in her favor.
This part of the story does not work in her favor.
Later that year, there was a mass audition where actors pay a shitload of their own money to audition for around 60-80 theatre companies around the country in one 90-second audition. Young, non-equity actors travel from all over the country to Memphis, TN and PAY to audition so they can work and pay their bills for a few months out of the year. This young girl was one of them. She went up on stage in front of all of these casting directors, did her 90-second audition, said "Thank you" and walked off the stage. One of those casting directors happened to be "Brandy." "Brandy" then stands up and says to every person in charge of casting for all of these companies "Don't hire her. She's too difficult." This girl didn't receive a single callback.
Also note, these are "Brandy's" words. She was so proud of this, that she told me about it over beers. She laughed about it like it was supposed to be funny to me.
I was disgusted.
Now let's talk about me.
I was young and impressionable. Not the most mature for my age, but I respected my job and the people I worked with. I went in every day knowing this was a huge challenge and I worked my ass off. I learned the choreography, and I executed it. I sang the songs as they were written. I earned very good reviews from the local newspapers and received great compliments from audience members. I wasn't incredibly experienced, so I really wasn't that great...but for less than $200 a week, I was more than suitable for the job.
At 22 or 23, non-dancer me successfully did a professional production of f***ing CATS! I was pretty excited for the next step in my career.
The next step: Paying a shitload of money to audition for a bunch of theatre companies in Memphis, TN. I think you can see where this is going.
I went to Memphis and I killed my audition. I earned callbacks from 23 different companies. I went to as many of them as possible and was told by one company in particular that they would be offering me a contract in a couple of days!
A week went by. No offer.
Two weeks went by. No offer.
I reached out to the producers that said they would be offering me a job, and the reply I got shocked me. He said he "heard from someone" that I "wasn't good enough." That I have vocal issues and I can't dance. As I had only had one contract before this...I knew that "someone" was f***ing "Brandy."
I was devastated. I honestly believed at that point that I wasn't good enough and that I couldn't sing. I knew I couldn't dance...but then again, so did "Brandy" before she hired me.
If she told this producer, who else did she say it to? Why was she trying to ruin my career? I did my job and I followed all of her crazy ass rules without complaint when I couldn't even afford to order myself a pizza once a month on the salary she offered.
I almost gave up. I was ready to quit performing and go back to school for something that would pay the bills and include a lot less rejection.
I finally decided that I was "good enough" and "Brandy" could suck it. Performing is what I loved to do and that's what I was going to continue doing.
Luckily, I was able to convince this producer to give me a chance. He did and I proved "Brandy" wrong.
I went on to perform in musicals all over the States...and eventually, in South Korea and Hong Kong.
I have been performing, teaching, and singing my ass off all over the world ever since. I've lived in South Korea, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Dubai. I have seen the world because of my talents. I'm not saying I'm the best at what I do, but I am certainly more than "good enough."
My life is amazing and I couldn't be happier with the direction my life has taken since working for "Brandy."
The point of this post is...don't ever let ANYONE tell you that you aren't good enough. You f***ing are.
So, to all of the "Brandy's" out there:
Oh! There's one more thing.
"Brandy" once convinced me to take my earrings out because "casting directors won't hire you because you look gay." Again, being young and impressionable...I wanted to get hired, so I took them out.
Now, at 33...the earrings are back in and I look GOOD.
Also, if you don't want to hire me because I "look gay," I have no desire to work with you anyway because you are probably a shitty human being.
Let's give them more fingers!
Anyway...that's all the ranting I have. Let's try to lift up our fellow man. This world is already shitty enough. Be kind to each other. If you're in a leadership position, be constructive. Don't tear people down. Help them be the best they can be.
Don't be a "Brandy."
Thanks for reading! I love you all!