As an actor, we are all well-versed in this: rejection. Last year I signed with a manager who I thought was going to change my life - I had seen her do it for a good friend of mine who has consistently booked since she moved to LA (and not just little things but series regulars on networks shows and big studio movies).
Within a month of signing with her, I tested for a contract role on a soap opera and booked two prime-time network shows. Then nothing... the auditions got less and less. I thought it was just the time of year - but apparently it was more than that. Within 6 months of signing with her, she called me and in a 42 second phone call dropped me. "I don't think this is working out. I think you need to find a new manager." *click* I was left stunned. (yep, there wasn't even a goodbye).
So, how do you pick yourself up from something like that? After succumbing to a puddle of tears for hours on the floor of my fiancé's childhood home - we were at a family bbq when I got the call - I decided that I was going to put a game plan together. It was summer - the perfect time to get representation because people were dumbing their rosters (as I had just been dumped). So what do you do?
1. Realize what you can control
In the entertainment industry there is so much out of our control. We are constantly too tall, too short, too old, too thin, too pretty, too young. So what can you control? Your training. Your personal projects. Your materials (headshots, demo reel, website, etc). Work begets work, right? So if you are putting good work out there, you are proud of what you are creating and you are doing it on your terms. (My podcast was that for me, but more on that in another post).
2. Work on you + your art daily
What is you "side-art"? The thing that you work on on the side outside of your main art? You're reading mine. This is my "I don't feel like I have any control in my acting career, so I need to do something creative" space. What's yours? Photography? Painting? Fitness? Music? Creation is creation - as an artist, filling that need to create helps you feel in control of your situation.
3. Keep it all in perspective
"This too shall pass." - someone way smarter than me. At the end of the day, you have a roof over your head and people that love you. There could be wayyy bigger problems. Yeah, it sucks right now, but it will all get better.
It is no secret that LA has AMAZING food. Literally anything you want is available to you whenever. And if you don't want to drive, Postemates it. I have spent the last 2.5 years asking my foodie friends for suggestions on where to go, and now that I have my spots - I am excited to share them! I'm ballin' on a budget so these places are all relatively affordable (especially if you go during happy hours) and they all vegan friendly or at least have vegan options that I love!
Kitchen Mouse is the brunch I dream of every Sunday (and regularly beg to go to). Their vegan crab cakes (made from Jackfruit) are the best thing I have eaten in my entire life - I'm not joking. (They are only available on the weekends thought). The restaurant is super cute with hanging plants and bulb lights, this is the spot I can't wait to take my parents to next time they are in town!
BEST HAPPY HOUR
Gracias Madre is the place you take your not vegan friend who makes fun of vegan food and don't tell them that it is vegan until they are in the plant-based-Mexican-food-induced food coma. This killer happy hour spot (hello cheap tacos!) is one of my faves because their patio at night is just about as magical as it gets (and for a swanky LA hotspot -affordable at happy hour!).
BEST DINNER SPOT
Little Pine is the most amazing food I have ever had and hands down the best vegan food in Los Angeles. This minimalist's dream doesn't only have most heavenly vegan mac and cheese, all of the profits from this restaurant go to animal welfare groups. What gets better than that?! Eating amazing food for a good cause! The plates are meant to share and come out as they are ready so I recommend going with a group and tasting it all!
*Please note that NONE of these were sponsored - these are all just places I really love.
"Do one thing a day that scares you." - Eleanor Roosevelt (google says it may be someone else who said it but we will go with good ole' Ellie). Doing one thing every day that scares you sound like a daunting task, anyone with me?! I can't even think of that many things that scare me. But the more I thought about it, I think what that quote means is when faced with a decision that even gives you the slightest flutter of uneasiness - do it.
When I was 4 I decided I wanted to be an actress. I did a play in which I confidently marched up to my dad after the first performance and told him that I was going to be an actress. He laughed and said that's great and we went on our merry way (probably to Friendly's to get some mint chocolate chip ice cream because it was 1996). He loves to tell that story because little did he know that 18 years later I could buy a one-way ticket to LALA Land and never look back (well, so far).
I bought my plane ticket on promotion - $95 through Southwest if you fly on 9/11 (smart, I know) and I set the date for my car to be shipped and that was that. I had 47 days until I was moving. Before I saw that promotion, the idea of moving to Los Angeles was just a dream. I had a few months left of college and I had never been to Los Angeles... I might have bitten off more than I could chew.
For my high school graduation, my aunt gave me a plane ticket voucher that I could use for any round-trip ticket to anywhere in the continental US. I figured that now was a good of time as any to use it and texted anyone and everyone I knew who lived in LA to see if I could crash with them.
When I had enough couches secured I booked the flight - I would fly out the day after my last final exam (I was a senior at the University of Florida) and I would take the red-eye home the night before graduation. That would give me 6 days in LA to see the city. Perfect.
The trip went well but it definitely scared me a bit. A friend took me to the Santa Monica Pier and I had a full on panic attack about how many people where in LA. It was so overwhelming. I didn't know how anyone made enough money to live in this city (holy shit it's expensive!), and how did people deal with those parking signs?! I got a ticket my FIRST DAY visiting! Trying to figure out if can park somewhere can be a damn SAT question!
But after those 6 days in Los Angeles, I was bummed to get back on a plane to Florida. LA was everything I dreamed and more: magical, beautiful, scary, insane, and full of possibilities. I took the redeye home the night before graduation and I felt like a different person when I landed back in Florida. I had the confidence to move across the country and pursue my dream.
I don't know if I can tell you quite how I got there but a big part of it was hope. Hope - "a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen." That trip to LA made me realize that this dream is possible. I could do it. I had hope in the future. If there is one thing I can share with you in this blog it's that - your future can be anything, so don't put limits on it. Having that hope gave me excitement for the next chapter: Life in LA.
I used to hate working out. And I would love to say I have changed, but I still don't love working out. I do love fitness though. I also used to eat like a giant garbage can - I have been naturally thin my whole life so I never really thought about what my body looked like. Until that all started to change. Let me explain...
I come from a dance background and have always had a naturally slim figure. I didn't have to work to keep myself in "shape," so I didn't. I became "skinny fat." Where I looked thin, but was super unhealthy and super soft. After my former manager called me "kind of pudgy and not that cute" (I'm not lying - a post on that alone is coming soon), I decided to do something about it. So I went to Target and bought a Fitbit and started down this year long journey of creating a body I was proud of. Now don't get me wrong, I still drink way too much wine and eat far too much spaghetti, but I am more confident that I have ever been because I took my body into my own hands. I am glad to tell you that that has lead to a confidence I didn't know I could feel. Do I have a six-pack? No. Do I have a thigh-gap? No. But am I proud of what I look like? YES! It hasn't been easy but here are my fitness tips for the unfit.
Not only can it help improve skin, mood and digestion, water is the thing most of us are lacking most and the easiest change we can make to our diets. Drinking water helps maintain balanced body fluids, can help repair damaged or overworked muscles, allows for good digestion and balanced body temperature. Water also can help with calorie intake - if you're "hungry" (and it isn't mealtime yet) drink an 8 ounce glass of water first - sometimes we can't tell the difference between the "I'm hungry" and "Im thirsty" trigger.
2. track your activity
I write down in my day planner (yes, I still use a hand-written day planner) at the start of the week when I will be working out. If I have a day off, my fiancé and I will go on a long hike and we plan that in advance so I write it down. I highlight all "fitness" related activity in blue in my planner so I can clearly see when I am getting my fitness in. It also lets me know when I need to step up my game and do more.
3. switch up your workouts
Are you always running? Try weight training? Do Zumba everyday? Take a barre class. Switch up they was you are working out to ensure your body doesn't get stuck in a routine.
My go-to workouts:
Monday - Bodyworks + Abs
High intensity, high cardio, high reps, medium weights
Tuesday - Pilates
Breath to body work, core work, micro-muscle toning
Wednesday - Hiking
Cardio and lower body - (I like to get outside at least once a week and workout)
Thursday - Zumba
Cardio, lower body and some upper body.
Friday - Bodyworks or Zumba
Whichever class I can make at the gym
Saturday - Hiking
Usually with my Fiancé - we will take this time to explore amazing hikes in LA
Sunday - Kickbox cardio
Arms, Cardio, Core
Abs are made in the kitchen
You've heard that saying before, right? That your diet is 80% and the gym is 20%? I used to think that was a load of crap until I became vegan. Pay attention to what you are putting in your body - just because it says "low fat" or "no sugar added" doesn't mean it's good for you. Also - just because it's vegan doesn't mean it's good for your (hello Oreos). I try to avoid highly processed food and eat a plant-based diet. I am working on cutting down my sugar... bye bye store-bought marinara.
get enough sleep
This a big one. Sleep affects so much of how we feel and how we act. Sleep is our bodies' repair time and without sufficient sleep we can do irreparable damage to ourselves. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute "Studies also show that sleep deficiency alters activity in some parts of the brain. If you're sleep deficient, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change. Sleep deficiency also has been linked to depression, suicide, and risk-taking behavior."
treat yo' self
You won't get anywhere if you feel deprived. So yes, have a piece of toast or a glass of wine - just keep it all in moderation!
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical professional - this is meant as a suggestion and based on my personal experience.
Oh hey there
Thank you for stopping by. My name is Ansley and I am a creative being. With not much to show for it. Feel the same?! Welcome! For all of you artists out there who are just hanging in there - this is for you!