Buckle your Seatbelt, It’s a Bumpy Ride.


“Don’t let the highs get to your head and the lows get to your heart” said actress Tammy Gillis in a recent interview right here on Ms. In the Biz, when asked if she had any advice for other actors.

When I read that, it hit me.  She’s right, you know. Personally, I’ve been guilty of both of those things in the past. See, back when I was fresh off the “bus” and Hollywood was new to me, I had a string of successes quickly. Now, at the time it didn’t feel QUICK, but looking back now, I can acknowledge that booking 3 television costars after only 5 years in Hollywood (without an agent or manager), was a pretty big deal.

But at the time, rather than honor that and double down on my focus, I think it got to my head a little.  Not in a “Oh, I’ve made it and I’m better than you now way,” but more of a focus onto the “attention,” the “red carpets,” “the VIP parties” than on the work and my career goals. In fact, after I booked my first tv role, I remember withdrawing from my acting classes, as if there wasn’t a need for me to study cold reading, or the business of acting classes, as I was already in business.

Looking back now, I realize how faulty that thinking was.  Five years is just the tip of the iceberg, and not only that, but allowing the highs to get to my head, left me completely unprepared when it came time to navigate my first big low after that first big high.

And that’s when my heart broke.

After a while, I began to understand that that’s just the way this business is.  High highs, low lows, and an abundance of fast-moving curve balls. And I think for most, we develop this sense of humbleness that can only come after at least one real low point.  But and this is very important, we must learn to separate our self-worth from the journey and continue to celebrate every bit of successful forward movement.

For instance, I find myself feeling a little low about not having a tv/film agent once again, and rarely auditioning … and yet, I have three movies in post-production that I acted in in just the last four months.  When I look at it from an objective balanced space, I can clearly see that deserves a nod of recognition from me to myself.

I’m not here to dissuade you from pursuing a life as an actress, but maybe sometime in the future as you’re going around your next curve, you’ll be able to see it for what it is.

It’s impossible to plan for the ups and downs of this crazy, unpredictable career. And if you’re like most people, or like me, it’s going to take a few cycles of those ups and downs before you gain some sense of balance.

But if this is your calling, and you’re willing to put 10, 15, 20 years into the “overnight success” part of the equation, the chances of living a joy-filled life, doing the things that make your heart sing, is a very real possibility.

Just remember to protect your head, and your heart.