Stay Encouraged!

It's 2021 be encouraged!

Two years ago I was swimming in the comforting waters of mommyhood pretty disconnected from the acting community. My daughter was getting older and I needed to do something with myself and I decided to amp up my commitment to my creative life. My spirit knew it was time to follow my creative desires and I am so grateful to have a team (agent, Craig Holzberg of Avalon Artists and manager, Susanna Griffith) that stays ready. With this renewed commitment things started to move. Straight out the gate I booked an understudy role in Lynn Nottage's play SWEAT at the Mark Forum Taper, I found my way to Shondaland with a role on FOR THE PEOPLE, then went out to South Coast Rep to live in the world of Julia Cho's AUBERGINE, various readings and benefit performances along the way. I felt like things were picking up then suddenly the pandemic hit, everything stopped and we all had to stay in the house. I started to worry about losing the momentum that I had started to gain as an actress. Then George Floyd was killed and we were all home to witness eight minutes and forty-six seconds of his horrific murder.

There I was along with the rest of the world at home with my thoughts, fears, anger and rage - feeling EVERYTHING on a cellular level. I had to take action I needed to pour my energy into something. I took my teen daughter, a photographer and cinematographer out to the photograph the "aftermath" and to an artist protest. While I was driving home I was filled with so much emotion, wondering what can I do and it came to me clearly. My calling is my art, my calling is to heal, my calling is the create community so that is what I set out to do. I wasn't sure where to start, so was quiet and after meditation I received a text from my former school mate and friend Ken Weiler asking me how I was feeling. I realized that this was my starting place. I called together a few classmates from grad school, Rutgers: Mason Gross School of the Arts and created a safe space for diverse people to come together and have difficult conversations.

I then saw an instagram post for online class at BGB focused on Black Artists. I applied and was accepted. It was the container I needed. I was holding space for others in my group and I could come to "Our Space" at BGB and have space held for ME! Ashley Rideauex, Eric B. Anthony and BGB provided a space that was unapologetically Black, warm and buzzing with fabulous talent.

When the class was over I got my first quarantine self-tape. I wanted a Black man as a reader and I had my new community of Black artists from BGB (there were only a handful of Black students in my graduate program and I had been in the mommy pool). I looked down the class roster and texted Clinton Lowe and he said, "I'm available in the morning" we did that thang in 10-15 minutes, I sent it in and BOOM booked it!

Now, let me tell you I have auditioned for this casting director twice over a course of two years and did not book, I came to an emotional life in the room and everything (like that means anything, that will be a different post - lol). Each time the casting director told my manager that she liked my work, but still no booking. Be encouraged when the same casting director calls you back, it's a sign the you booked the room and the role is coming. Be encouraged when people reach out and call at the right time. Be encouraged when you see an opportunity online because you don't know where it might lead you. Be encouraged when you find a new community of people that are passionate about their craft. Be encouraged in the this time of uncertainty.

While at home during this pandemic I self-taped and booked from the basement. Stay hopeful, stay diligent, stay creative and stay loving. Stay in the house and book the room!

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© 2020 Joy DeMichelle | Acting With Joy  + Bolster Your Joy  | Photography by ZenzelePictures