DO-OVER.

almie rose child actor apocalypstick

My nana still keeps my childhood headshot framed in her room. Solidarity.

I have no regrets. Sometimes I need to constantly remind myself of this, because it’s easily to slip into that terrifying moment of, “Oh shit, I’ve ruined my entire life with that one decision.” And that’s ridiculous and I know that. I need to feel good about my decisions, and if I made one I didn’t like, I have to say, “Ob la di ob la da, life goes on” and not worry about. That’s how I want to do things.

For a while though, I did have one regret. I thought about what I would do if I had the chance to do it over. I wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t quit acting at six years old.

I was a fairly successful child actor. Not famous by any means. But I did some commercials that paid very well. National commercials pay very well, you’d be surprised. My big hit was a commercial for Clarion liquid makeup. No, it was not makeup for children. This was one of those artsy commercials. It was shot in black and white, in a deserted street, with a model walking down it. Then it cut to me standing against a wall. I think I was standing next to a little boy. Cut to the model. Cut to a slow close up of my face. Boom. Clarion liquid makeup.

Those few seconds of standing against a wall set me for most of my life. The shoot was very long, so long that I was late to my own birthday party. But so worth it.

I loved acting. My entire life I thought I would be an actor. I went to a lot of auditions. But apparently one day, I threw a fit, and I told my mom I had enough. I don’t remember this. I have a pretty good memory of that time. I remember I was a total dick in an audition because I wanted to play with my friend Katie and didn’t want to be there. My mom was the total opposite of a stage mom, so as soon as I told her I wanted to stop she jumped away, hands in the air, saying, “Okay! No problem, we’re done.”

I don’t know why I did that. I was a kid. Kids are stupid. Kids don’t think in the long run. I need to be easier on myself. But I was on a roll. I got cast in a sitcom starring the mom from “Home Improvement” and some famous dude. Then that show fell apart when the mom from “Home Improvement” decided to do “Home Improvement.” Bitch.

Though I stopped acting professionally, I kept doing it. I was in every high school play. I wrote my own plays in elementary school, high school, and college. I went to acting classes and casting workshops. I loved acting. But I couldn’t catch a break. “I’m born and raised here, shouldn’t it be way easier for me to get into this industry?” I always wondered. But connections fall through. I would kill it at an auditon only to be told, “We need a name, but you were great.” I got meeting with agents who said things like, “Come back to us when you’ve done more work” (how the fuck am I supposed to get more work without an agent?) and one who told me, “The bridge of your nose is very straight and narrow, I would think about that.” I thought about it and determined that she was an asshole.

One day I came to a conclusion. I could struggle to get auditions for shitty projects that two casting directors in a room would see, or I could make my own videos my own way that thousands would see. It was an easy choice. Fuck the industry. All you actors out there, I encourage you to do this your way. Keep going to auditions if you want to, but do your own thing. Use the internet to your advantage. We’re lucky to be in this era. The internet is your friend.

Every once in a while I wonder what my life would be like if I hadn’t quit when I was six. Would I be a famous actor now or a has-been? Or none of the above? Things are working out for me pretty well, but every now and then I feel a pang of jealousy when I see “my type” getting roles that I could have gotten. That episode of “Mad Men” where Megan explained to Don why she had to quit her successful job to peruse her dream of acting really got to the heart of me. I understand, Megan. I understand.

What would you do-over if you could?

 

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I was compensated for this post as a member of Clever Girls Collective. All the opinions expressed here are my own.

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8 thoughts on “DO-OVER.

  1. D

    From 2003 – 2006, I scored a dream job in the music industry working with famous rock stars and having all the perks you can think of that go along with that. I went full throttle and got burned out. At some point, a very famous person everyone would instantly know offered me an opportunity in the same industry, but I decided I was done with the whole thing and walked away from it all. In hindsight, taking them up on their offer likely would have afforded me the luxury of both staying in “the biz,” and being able to tone it down and focus more on the work side . I enjoyed the work a lot, I just got too caught up in the perks since I was in my mid-20s and all

      1. D

        Just saw this, sorry.

        Regrets? I mean, I would be in a completely different place now. The person who offered me another opportunity is doing something other than what he told me he wanted to do (and hire me for), so, in hindsight, I didn’t lose anything by not taking that opportunity. If I’d just stayed with Warner, though, I’d likely now be in California and making some really good money. I was really good at my job, and I left by writing an email to the vice presidents expressing my gratitude for the opportunity and some suggestions on how to survive in the ever-changing music world along with some advice about some specific things that needed to change business-wise. We pissed off Billy Corgan, Linkin Park, Eisley, and a few other artists. We had lazy employees who just wanted the perks. I was actually offered my job back with more pay two months later from an exec. It was an easy decision at the time to leave. It wasn’t easy when I was 7 months unemployed two years later. Now, I’m in Austin, have a great job on the operations side of Apple, and am glad I’m at where I’m at. No regrets, just a lingering question of what could have been.

  2. fashion brownie

    What would I do over if I could? EVERYTHING. I would rewind that UCLA art history degree, followed by that data entry/work your way up to nowhere museum job- that eventually laid me off because I “lived at home and would have an easier time of surviving then my co-workers would” (except the ironic part is that I lived at home ‘cuz I was getting paid pennies to begin with…awesome.). Everything, I tell ya. Except then I think about that movie (that I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve watched..more than once), “The Butterfly Effect” and I wonder how much worse off I’d be if I had made different life choices (Debbie Downer much?)…

  3. NiKKi:D

    Thanks for having the awesomeness to write this. I am in the same mind space. I keep thinking about how I should have been a comedic actress, and yet, I have no fucking clue where to start at that. Plus all the ways to get started it’s like, “I don’t know which would be the best route, I have no training, I don’t have an agent, blarg blarg” so thanks for blogging about it. And at least you enjoyed acting enough to do it in high school. I was scared shitless about memorizing stuff so I just never did it. :/ WHOMP WHOOOMMMMP

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