My Secret Sauce for Facing Fear

My Secret Sauce for Facing Fear

What if I told you that I was practicing for job interviews since I was 7-years old?

Okay you would probably say that’s a bit much.

But it’s not like I did it on purpose.

A useful side effect of being A Theatre Kid is being in a lifelong rehearsal for some pretty practical skills in The Adult World. 

Growing up going to auditions prepared me for putting myself out there in front of strangers. It normalised that ‘writing a résumé’ ritual. 

They say that public speaking is most people’s greatest fear. 

Well sure it’s scary when you slap a formal title on it like that! 

Theatre has taught me a little secret about facing these scary things in life, and I want to share it with you. 

My Secret Sauce for Facing Fear

When you approach work from a place of PLAY, suddenly it’s an exciting kind of scary rather than an inhibiting kind of scary. 

I have a recurring, theatre-related nightmare that I’m in a play, but I didn’t learn my lines. The funny thing about this is that I’m more frustrated than anxious, because usually it’s a great part and I wish my dream self were more prepared to enjoy it!

Theatre has given me confidence, poise, and a crazy determined work ethic – all on accident.

When you play with this stuff, it becomes much less terrifying and much more natural. I don’t want to say ‘easy’ because it is hard work, but I can promise you that play makes the process more enjoyable. More playful.

I have to say, I’m surprised to find myself calling my courses ‘professional development’, and yet so many students have told me they made career advancements as a result of taking them. Professional development? no way. That’s serious stuff. This is fun! The beauty is, that you can go to Leading Lady summer camp to play, and earn a promotion or start a business as a result. 

I’ve broken down my 19 years of experience on the stage into 8 weeks of confidence bootcamp, where we look at fear and go:

LET’S NOT CHASE HIM AWAY
LET’S FACE HIM AND SAY HEY PUNK LET’S DANCE

(that’s from Legally Blonde: The Musical, and in context, isn’t referring to fear, but it’s what rolled into my head.)

I have a bold claim. I bet you’re holding yourself back.

What is your actual, unfiltered dream?

In high school, my English teacher asked me where I wanted to go for college, and I told him with confidence that I wanted to go to the school with the best study abroad programme in Oxford. This felt like a pretty bold dream, and I felt proud of myself for stating it. He pointed out to me, though, that what I wanted to do was skip the study abroad and go straight to Oxford. 

You’d think I would have learned my lesson from that one, but it took a few more tries.

In my final year of Oxford, when a career counsellor asked what I wanted to do, I said “Well, ideally I would run my blog for a living but I know that’s realistic. So … something … like that?” 

I was handed some uninspiring handouts on PR, which I proceeded to recycle. I applied, was accepted to, and got a visa for a master’s degree in Magazine Journalism, because that was “kinda like blogging”, only to arrive and realise that I was still avoiding my truth. 

I don’t want that to happen to you. 

I want you to derail you from that track we call normal, and help you build your own yellow brick road straight through fear to your actual idea of success. 

I promise to help you figure out what that is, how to get there, and how to show up for the task. 

Ready? Let’s do this.

P.S. Registration for Leading Lady closes on Wednesday! I hope to see you in our ensemble.

Dressing the Part: A Free Webinar with Kitty Cavalier

Dressing the Part: A Free Webinar with Kitty Cavalier

I used to detest dressing up.

As a child, dressing up meant scratchy Sunday school tights. 

As an adolescent, in the Mean Girls era of fashion, dressing up meant short skirts and belly tops, and the misconception that I couldn’t be “fashionable” if I didn’t wear these things. I thought that feminine came in one shade, and I didn’t like it. 

Becoming more in tune with my personal style has helped me own my identity.

Setting boundaries in my wardrobe based on what I want is excellent practice for identifying what I want out of life as well.

In my Leading Lady summer camp, each week is inspired by a step in the theatrical process, and so of course there is a week dedicated to getting into costume! My lessons are accompanied with interviews with performing arts pros, and who better to speak to about this topic than Kitty Cavalier, author of Sacred Seduction, burlesque performer, self-proclaimed lipstick ninja, and one of my personal heroes.

Working with Kitty has got me spontaneously dancing in my living room [this is literally part of her teaching]. Hers is a voice that is refreshing and liberating on the personal development scene, and I can’t wait to talk to her about beauty and its necessity. 

We’re recording our mini salon on Wednesday, and the recording will be tucked away in the Leading Lady armoire.

Join us live for a taster of the kind of topics we feast upon in Leading Lady! We’re talking about:

🌟 How costume can help you be yourself – not mask yourself

🌟 Where to find your signature style

🌟 How to incorporate dress into your daily rituals

Sign up to join us live on 12 April at 3pm EST, noon PST, 8pm GMT!

Heroines to Channel for Professional Success

Heroines to Channel for Professional Success

I decided that this year I would step up and be a professional.

I shared this with my friend Kerrin, who has a gift in follow-up questions, and she asked me: “What does the professional version of yourself look like?”

I replied with the first thing that popped into my head, “Well, she’s wearing a blazer”. 

For anyone pursuing a passion as a career, it is important to distinguish “the work” from “the job”.

I am a writer, and so as an artist, I write, but as a professional, I publish. I put on a different hat once the work is done, or rather, I put on a blazer. 

Of course I don’t need to wear a physical blazer to be a professional (although I would like one, and I would like it to be pink, so let me know if you see one). I can also wear the traits of heroines I admire, whose courage and certainty I need to borrow sometimes. 

This list in particular includes some flawed characters. Do not become these heroines. Draw on their strengths and be mindful of their weaknesses. Channel what resonates with you, and in doing so, be more true to yourself. You’re not creating a new character, but understanding who she is to begin with. 

HEROINES TO CHANNEL FOR PROFESSIONAL SUCCESS

Joy in “Joy”

Heroines to Channel for Professional Success

The character Joy, who is inspired by a collection of real-life entrepreneurial women, is steadfast and determined. No one would blame her for collapsing in the overwhelm of the responsibilities thrown on her as the sole caretaker of her family. She not only survives this situation, but sparkles with a vigor for creating. When she gets an idea, she runs with it. She is not too proud to ask for help. She demands her worth. She holds unwavering belief in her work, and defends it until no one can deny her.

Andy Sachs in “The Devil Wears Prada”

Heroines to Channel for Professional Success

Sometimes you have to make personal sacrifices to succeed professionally. Andy treads this fine line, and learns how to set boundaries for herself. We watch her navigate how to further her career, bending to expectations without breaking herself (although she comes close). She learns to dress the part, play the game, get ahead, and make a name for herself on her own terms.

Blair Waldorf in “Gossip Girl”

Heroines to Channel for Professional Success

From her W internship days to taking over Waldorf Designs, Blair shows up like a pro as if she were born that way. And as entrepreneurial Eleanor’s daughter, she practically was. Blair thrives on recognising her strengths (and slips into desperation when she knows it’s not her strong suit). She reigns in line with herself and her style, and when she is certain of her own success, she gets it.

Tiana in “Princess and the Frog”

I remember Daddy told me “Fairytales can come true
You gotta make ’em happen, it all depends on you”
So I work real hard each and every day
Now things for sure are going my way

Carrie Bradshaw in “The Carrie Diaries”

Heroines to Channel for Professional Success

From the little I’ve seen of Sex and the City, grown-up Carrie lives a pretty glamorous life for a writer, but The Carrie Diaries explores how a younger Carrie got herself to the top. Carrie works her way into the New York magazine scene as a teenager, channeling her creativity, putting in the hours of work, and advocating for herself. She is certain she belongs, and isn’t afraid to rank herself among the pros.

Who do you channel for professional success? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. Super-inspiring films for productivity and work ethic