Now don't let the title fool you, I haven't lost my mind and decided to profess my undying love to a boyfriend or anything crazy like that but I have professed my love to...you guessed it (or maybe you didn't) to my babies that I just can't live without. [whispers to them softly] "Baby I'll never leave you." [dramatic pause] Who are these babies I'm speaking of: My Actor Bible, My Planner and "Around the Way Girl" (Taraji P. Henson's memoir if you didn't know).
Now every actor/actress has a few staples that they just can't live without and here are mine (just click on each of my staples to find out where you can get your copy):
My Planner: Every performer keeps a planner or some variation of one. Most people keep them on their phones or an iPad now a days but me being that weird age millennial who was around to understand Instagram but still had to learn how to work a floppy disk in elementary school, as well as having a cd player, dial up internet...you know what let's not get into 90's nostalgia, my point is my planner is a real visible write it down with a pen planner. If I didn't have this piece of heaven I wouldn't even know what day it was...seriously. I write everything in it from my day job's schedule, to auditions, rehearsals, etc. it keeps me focused and knowing what the world has for me that day. I never leave it at home so, whenever I walk out of the door it's a safe bet that it is in whatever bag I happen to be carrying that day.
My Actor Bible: This is something that has a permanent residence on my coffee table, it never sees the bookshelf. I got this little treasure at UPTA (Unified Professional Theatre Auditions) and it is 226 pages of pure education for the performer. It has literally everything in it that you could possibly have a question about when it comes to navigating this crazy industry. From: training, auditions, where you should move, getting an agent, keeping an gent, survival jobs, rejection, taxes and so much more. Now what truly makes this a treasure for me is that it gives real professionals who have been in this business for decades advice. The good, the bad and the ugly these now "famous" and "successful" ("" because you determine what you consider to be your idea of fame and success) performers, directors, stage managers, etc. give you insight and let you know that they are just like you. Most importantly they give encouragement and there is even an entire section dedicated to those who now realize that "I'm going to do this forever" turns into "I don't want this anymore" and it helps you figure out your next step. Needless to say on the coffee table it shall stay.
"Around the Way Girl": What can I say...when I look at Taraji P. Henson I see so much of myself: loud, funny, dedicated, passionate, talented... I could go on forever but definitely a "around the way girl". Her memoir speaks to me in ways that I could never even imagine. From her highs, lows, and everything in between she touches on it all and brings you into her world. Starting with her humble beginnings in the hood, to college, to a baby, to leaving home with $700 to her name with a baby on her hip and moving to California and saying to herself "I will make it!" I don't want to give too much away because you should 100% buy this book, especially black actress so that you know you aren't alone in this journey. I don't look up to many actors/actresses but the ones I do have the longevity and diversity that I hope to one day
be able to surpass. Whenever I'm feeling down or as if it's getting too hard I read pieces of "Around the Way Girl" and I stay encouraged.
What are your staples in life that keep you moving, that keep you encouraged?