Kailey Edwards: Finding the Beauty
Time for another Passion Piece Feature! I’m so happy to share that this month’s feature is none other than actress, photographer, businesswoman extraordinaire, and last but not least MY FREAKING BEST FRIEND, Miss Kailey Edwards!!! Here’s a bit about Kailey in a more ~formal~ fashion
“Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Kailey is an avid lover of classic literature, her two black Labradors, and strawberry ice cream. Simply put, she loves to make people laugh, whether it’s in a crazy role onstage or just chilling in the dressing room and strives to bring an atmosphere of joy in whatever room she walks into. Kailey is also a major supporter of inclusive arts and believes that artistry comes in all abilities.”
I’ve written about how the month of November just fills me with gratitude, and it’s not only an honor to write a piece featuring my best friend, but I wanted to take a moment to give her the recognition she so deserves as a small part of my gratitude for her. Kailey and I met our freshman year of college and just stuck together like glue. We have survived living together, working together (in various locations and positions, I might add), her living abroad for three months, and a freaking global pandemic so I think it’s safe to say our friendship can withstand just about anything at this point! We literally talk on the phone just about every day, sometimes multiple times a day. Simply put, at this point, she is family.
To say that I am a proud friend is quite the understatement. Her natural talents on and off the stage never cease to amaze me. For as long as I’ve known Kailey, she has always loved taking pictures. Anywhere we would go, I could always count on her taking bomb photos of me, the location, and posing for cute pics herself. She loved taking photos so much that once the pandemic hit and everyone was back at home figuring out post-grad life, she started her own photography business, Kailey Edwards Photography! What started as a sweet little side hustle has turned into quite the amazing small business, and sis is booked like…all the time! And rightfully so, her photos are simply stunning! I have watched this girl build this business from the ground up out of one of her passions, and it’s been a blessing. Regardless of any struggle she faces in life, she continues to show up perseverance, grace, and love for what she does!
She deserves her moment to shine and I feel so lucky to share her grace with all of you! Here is our chat about all things self-care and self-love!
Who are you, where are you from, and where are you spending your time these days?
My name is Kailey Edwards and I’m from Royersford, PA (about 35 minutes outside of Philly). These days, I’m back home and living the dream (sarcastically speaking…)
What are you currently doing for work, if anything?
One of the craziest things about this pandemic is the opportunities it’s given me in terms of work and, ultimately becoming my own boss. When the pandemic hit, I needed something to fulfill my creativity, which turned out to be photography, and it’s quickly turned into a thriving business venture where I can combine my love visual art with my love of meeting new people and highlighting each person’s unique beauty!
Tell me a little about your journey as a performer and how it has brought you to where you are today?
So, my story is a little different from most, mainly because I didn’t get my start in theatre until I was a freshman in high school. I was actually an athlete for my entire school-age life, and I had no idea that the arts would end up being my career path. But, when I was cast as the lead in the first musical I ever auditioned for, I decided to just go with it and see how it unfolded! Well, that first show quickly became two, and then three, and I’m now 8 years deep and can’t see myself doing anything else than being involved in some way shape or form for the rest of my life. I think the best part about the performing arts is that there are SO many jobs that also don’t involve performing, but that still fulfill that creative need. For instance, I have a massive passion for dramaturgy, as well as making the arts more inclusive through things like relaxed performances and ASL/Tactile tours. I think that I will be happy as long as I’m somehow directly involved in the performing arts in some way.
If you can, list for me your top 5 passions- no matter what they are!
- Books, books, books! I was a double major in English in college and that’s really just because I love to read so much!
- Research is a big passion of mine (which is something my mother says she will never understand, haha!). I just love seeing what other people have to say about a certain topic, while also adding my own interpretations.
- Photography. I love that my main job right now is also something that I am super passionate about, truly because it makes people happy and provides people with lasting memories.
- Music, specifically jazz! Before I was ever in theater, I was singing at church, and I was super excited when I realized I could become involved in theater and add storylines and acting to songs.
- Dogs-I have two black labs and they keep life interesting, to say the least!
Does the work you are currently doing fall into the same category as any of those passions?
Yes! I am very blessed that my photography business started simply because I just love capturing the world we live in. I studied abroad two years ago in London, and I had so many people back home telling me to create a separate Instagram just for my iPhone travel photos. I never really had the time until quarantine hit, and then I bought myself a camera for graduation. Well, I took photos of friends, they posted them, and then suddenly I have 5 weddings next year! So, it’s been absolutely insane, but also super fruitful. I’ve found that it’s actually benefitted the performing arts side of things for me, because I’ve gotten the chance to photograph fellow performers, which has then given me some wonderful connections within the industry. I love that photography and theatre will always go hand-in-hand and be mutually beneficial!
What has been inspiring you in a time where we are seeing so much change in the world/our industry?
I think I’m most inspired by the ways I’ve seen other creatives still striving to create art during this time. I mean, for God’s sake, we’re in a global pandemic. There’s no pressure to create, but yet, people still are, and they are making this world more beautiful because of it.
What are some things you like to do in your down time to foster your passions, so they stay just as alive as your work?
I’ve relearned how to read just for fun. In college, I only ever read books that I had to write papers on, or scripts that I was going to be acting in. I’ve really tried, recently, to read books that are just fun reads that I’ve been meaning to pick up off my dusty bookshelf. I am also taking voice lessons again simply for “me”, without the worry of having to prepare for auditions. I’ve missed singing just for the heck of it.
What are your top 3 goals in your life/work?
- I would love to make more opportunities available to theaters around the country to be able to do relaxed performances and make their theaters more inclusive all around.
- For photography, I would love to ultimately become a destination wedding photographer and travel around the world while capturing memories for people.
- Not necessarily a goal, but something I strive to accomplish in anything I do, is to do said thing with kindness and the understanding that everyone has their own gifts in life. I think it’s important to recognize that we are all so needed in this world for so many different reasons!
What does your self-care routine look like?
Oh lord, I barely have one, haha! I really try to wake up early in the morning to do my makeup, not because I need to look good for anyone but myself, but because it’s my “me time” to have to myself before I start my day.
What advice do you have for anyone struggling to make the time for their passions in their life?
I think the great thing about this world (and more specifically the performing arts world) is that there are ways to become involved in the field you’re passionate about, even if it’s not in the position you ultimately want. I think that you should find a way to incorporate your passion into your daily job or daily routine, so that it doesn’t become this “separate entity”. If you don’t get cast in a show, find a way to work backstage or in the administration office. Always find a way to be involved with the field you love!
She is beauty. She is grace. She is Kailey Edwards! Thanks so much to Kails for finding time in her busy schedule to answer my questions, and many, many more thanks to her for filling the world with beauty, joy, and kindness! If you want to get to know her better yourself, you can follow her on Instagram @kailey__edwards and @kaileyedwardsphotography (her and her mom, Keri, recap the bachelorette on Instagram every week…truly not something you want to miss).
Stay well, friends! Have a beautiful Thanksgiving, PLEASE stay safe!
~ Ang xo