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Starting Your Acting Career Over Again

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In the almost 14 years I’ve lived in LA, I feel like I’ve had multiple acting careers. It started with my first few years in LA when I was in college (I went to Loyola Marymount). I started auditioning my freshman year of college and was taking acting classes outside of school my entire 3.5 years there (I graduated early). I booked a couple of non-union commercials and student films and had a couple of theater and film auditions, but that first career really didn’t take off too much.

After college, I tried to have a “real” job. I hated it. But while I was at that real job, I found out about a major surgery that I needed for my hip. Because at the time I was about 100 pounds overweight, I did a very extreme medically supervised diet and lost those 100 pounds in about 8 months. After my hip surgery, I was trying to find a way out of my real job and was laid off. So I took that as a sign that it was time to go back to acting.

I started my second acting career still heavier than the average actress, but I was more of a character type and not the obese type I was before.

Then I gained the weight back and had a third acting career. Then I lost it again and had my fourth acting career. And here I am having gained the weight again (but trying to lose it) in my fifth acting career.

Every time I’ve had to start over due to my weight, I’ve had to rebuild things pretty much from the beginning. While my training and resume can stay the same, lots of other things have had to change. New pictures, new footage for my demo reel, reintroducing myself to casting directors and agents who may not know what I look like now. It’s not easy, but I’ve proven that it can be done.

Why am I telling you all about this?

Because I know that people can be scared if they haven’t started a career yet. Or they don’t want to change their hair because it means a totally new look. Or they’ve gained weight and haven’t updated their materials because they are nervous or don’t know if they need to do it (I’m totally guilty of that one).

The most important thing for me every time I started over was having the passion for it. There are so many amazing resources out there for helping you start (or start over) including here at Ms. In The Biz. If you have the passion for it, go for it. If your passion is being an actor, start with some classes and headshots. If you want advice beyond those, comment on here and I’m happy to help. I just want anyone who feels some sort of block between them and their dream to realize that that block can be overcome. It’s never too late to start your career and it’s never to late to start over. I’m still starting over because as I lose weight I have to revamp everything about every 30-40 pounds. So if all goes as planned, I’m still going to have another couple of new starts in my future.

About Jen Levin

Actress/Blogger - I’m originally from the Bay Area, but I’ve been in LA for over a decade now, so I consider myself a native. I’m working as both a blogger and actress (with a couple of day jobs to pay the bills on the side). I love being in the entertainment industry where every day is an adventure! When I’m not working on my career, I’m either reading (I’m a total book nerd) or enjoying my newfound love for spin class (which is helping towards my goal of losing 100 pounds for the last time). I like to joke that I’m a girl with Southern charm and Jersey moxie, which I think has worked well for me so far!