Passion Piece Feature

Passion Piece Feature

Passion Piece Feature
Feature #9
Lauren Ladouceur

Feature #9

Lauren Ladouceur of Plan With Laur

Happy Monday!

I’m back with the Beyond the Footlights Passion Piece Feature for March! This month I’m so thrilled to feature the incredible woman behind Plan With Laur, Lauren Ladouceur! I first came across Lauren’s profile a few months ago in a search of my own for individuals on Instagram that were part of the planning community. As you all know here, I’m obsessed with all things planning, stationary, planners, etc. While I have talked about planning on my own here on the blog as well as social media, I hadn’t really sought out other people/communities in that niche. When I found Lauren and Plan With Laur I immediately felt like I had found a little community I could be part of!

I recently attended Lauren’s Recommit to Your Goals workshop using her bundle and it was just what I needed at this point in the year. So often we set goals for ourselves at the start of the year, and we don’t stick to them- for many different and individual reasons. Lauren’s bundle and workshop helped me remember the WHY behind my big goals, establish attainable steps towards reaching my goal, and reframe my thinking as I decided to press on!

Here is a bit about Lauren in her own words:

“I’m the daughter of two military parents, so planning is rooted in my DNA: The frequent  moves and trips of my childhood gave me great appreciation to detail and plans early on. These  days, I work my 9 to 5 job and share my love for planning and goal-setting on the side. Though I  haven’t always had a planner, I’ve always been planning. I thrive in structured environments that  I can make sense of. 

Helping others is foundational for me. I want to make people feel heard and loved. With  planning, everyone has resources at their disposal but not everyone knows how to use them. Your  planner can be a window into your life, and I try to help you find a frame through which you  enjoy looking inside.”

Who are you, where are you from, and where are you spending your time these days? 

My name is Lauren but the planning community knows me as Plan With Laur. I’m your go-to gal  for all things planners, productivity, and how to use the resources at your disposal to plan today  for a better tomorrow. Where I’m from is difficult to answer because both of my parents were in  the military. I attended undergrad in the South but I call Boston home…for now!

What are you currently doing for work, if anything?

I’m a corporate talent professional in my day job. Most of my professional background is in  event marketing, however, which is why I think planning is something I naturally gravitate  towards in my personal life.

Tell me a little about your journey towards developing Plan with Laur and how it has  brought you to where you are today?

My story with Plan With Laur starts by finding the planner community. When I tell people  there’s a community of planners, they typically give me a blank stare. But when I moved to  Boston I didn’t know anyone and didn’t have a community. I bought a planner literally to make  plans to go places and meet new people. That probably sounds like the most Type A thing ever,  but planning gives me a sense of purpose and direction. 

Passion Piece Feature
Feature #9
Lauren Ladouceur

While waiting for my planner to arrive I found a YouTube community and Facebook groups of  like-minded people. Everyone in the community was talking so in depth about these complicated  planning strategies and very niche products. There was a huge learning curve. There wasn’t a “if  you’re new to planning start here” content creator, so I decided to contribute by teaching people  how to plan. 

I believe in simple, realistic, and functional planning. Sticker kits and washi tape is part of that,  but I talk about the plans themselves. At the heart of my community is to help people feel seen and heard. We all make plans and have aspirational goals around planning or productivity,  whether it’s for work or our personal life.

If you can, list for me your top 5 passions- no matter what they are!

In no particular order: Disney. running, Broadway, helping others and memory keeping.

Does the work you are currently doing fall into the same category as any of those passions?

I truly believe that I’m on this earth to help others. I seek this out in both my jobs, as a talent  professional and as a content creator. Memory keeping is a subset of planning, so I get to work  on memory keeping and share it with my community. I keep my Disney, Broadway, and running  passions apart from my work because I preach balance. 

What has inspired most you in a time where we are seeing so much change in the world?

As a Black person in the US, this year was emotionally exhausting. Racism and ignorance and  prejudice didn’t start in 2020 obviously, but there’s been a sea change of public opinion. I think  people are becoming more mindful of the privilege they carry. We still have a long way to go, but  we’re taking collective steps that are so important for progress.

What are some things you like to do in your down time to nurture your passions, so they can stay just as alive, consistent, and active as your work?

Passion Piece Feature
Feature #9
Lauren Ladouceur

This is a good opportunity to talk about passion-adjacent activities. These are things that relate to  your passions. When I think of a painter, I typically imagine them nurturing their passion by  creating art. But there’s a whole host of passion-adjacent things they could be doing– volunteering their talents to teach someone else, watching YouTube, reading about new  techniques. This holistic approach means I’m doing something different each day! For me, this  might look like creating Broadway musical playlists for my next run, or training for my next  marathon at Disney.

What are your top 3 goals in your life/work?

My top goal is to create a community with Plan With Laur that teaches people how to plan better,  set and achieve their goals, reclaim their time and live a life they love. After that, I want to  cultivate a strong and resilient body and mind. And I always want to prioritize quality time with  the people I love most.

What does your self-care routine look like?

Sipping hot tea, memory keeping and watching the Bachelor or Bachelorette.

What advice do you have for anyone struggling to make the time for their passions in their  life?

Small is your best friend. Small goals, small blocks of time, and small action items give you  momentum to chip away at the larger goal; in this case, making time for your passion. It’s a  constant battle against the many distractions the world throws at us. But you can always make 5 minutes a day.

What are you hopeful for as we press on in 2021? What prospects excite you, scare you, and  make your heart flutter with anticipation? 

I can’t wait to travel again. When it’s safe to do so, you’ll catch me on a plane near you!

Thank you so much to Lauren for sharing her time with me, as well as sharing her story and planning journey with the Beyond the Footlights Community! You can follow Lauren on Instagram @planwithlaur, check out her her YouTube Channel, and her website at www.planwithlaur.com.

Happy Planning!

~ Ang

Passion Piece Feature

Passion Piece Feature

Passion Piece Feature: Self-Love Edition

Self-Love Edition

Hello, beauties!

A little change of pace today for our February Passion Piece Feature!!! Rather than featuring one individual this month, we’ve got a little group feature! Since self-love has been on my mind and in my heart this month, I took to social media and asked my friends and followers to share with me a little bit about self-love through their own eyes. I don’t think there is one way to define “self-love;” it isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of idea. We are all so unique and outstanding in our own beautiful ways, which means that how we each practice and recognize self-love is entirely individual.

You’re probably thinking “tell me something I don’t know, Angela, of course we are all different!” YES. RIGHT. SO. Why am I highlighting this? Because I think it’s important to note, for individuals of all ages, that the practice of self-care and what that idea means for you does not have to be static. Every day, every month, every year- your self-care practices and the way you view what self-love is is bound to change. And it should! That only means you are growing and learning more about yourself and the crazy, weird, complex thing that love (in all its forms) is.

I asked my little hive to share with me a time when they practiced a radical act of self-love, something they love about themselves, or what self-love means to them. These nine individuals are some of my closest friends, and I am so grateful to be able to feature them this week- even just a little bit! The variety in their responses has been so incredible and has illuminated new ways in which I can look for and cultivate self-love in my own life. I hope they do the same for you. I’ll share my little blurb at the end, but for now, check out what these beautiful humans (we shall call them “The Self-Love Brothers and Sisters”) had to say on self-love!

The Self-Love Brothers and Sisters

Alexia, 23, Philadelphia, PA

Passion Piece Feature: Self-Love Edition

“Self-Love: Having a solo dance party and filming clips of it to see my pure happiness. Learning to do my makeup for ME and no one else. Dying my hair HOT pink because I wanted to. Cutting toxic people out of my life was the biggest act of self-love I have ever performed. I love my ambition and drive to be the best person I can be.”

Molly, 19, Lansdale, PA

Passion Piece Feature: Self-Love Edition

“I honestly struggle to be compassionate & loving with myself and it’s constantly a work in progress for me personally, but I was really proud of myself for the way I committed myself to getting into better physical & mental shape over quarantine! I came out of freshman year feeling really crappy about myself given my own mental state & the people and energy I was investing so much of myself into, and I knew that I was capable of and wanted so much better for myself, so I went for it! & I still have some really shit days and mental health is up and down but that was a choice out of love for myself that I was really genuinely proud of.”

Lexi, 21, Hazleton, PA

Passion Piece Feature: Self-Love Edition

“I love that I love helping other people. I love that, as a consumer, I make eco conscious choices whenever I can. I love my creativity and DIY spirit. I love how my hair dries in waves when I shower before bed.”

Arrianna, 22, Pottsville, PA

Passion Piece Feature: Self-Love Edition

“My boyfriend at the time broke up with me about two months before I left to study abroad. I spent those three months overseas to discover who I am, what I love, where I needed to grow, and honestly just take in the world around me to appreciate the big picture rather than getting stuck on the small stuff that doesn’t matter.”

Cathy, 23, Macungie, PA

Passion Piece Feature: Self-Love Edition

“To me, self-love is about putting your health and well-being before the trivial aspects of life!”

Bella, 21, Souderton, PA

Passion Piece Feature: Self-Love Edition

“I’ve been on the self-love, single gal train for almost 5 years now…(wow) And I’ve definitely learned so much about myself! These past 5 years I’ve committed to listening to MY wants, needs, and passions. I’ve learned how I show love and how I like to receive love. I’ve learned what I deserve and not to settle even if lonely nights seem to find me more often than not. I know this all sounds so stereotypical but the day I decided to put myself first and start the journey to self-love, I’ve never looked back! That isn’t to say that I don’t still have to actively remind myself to be nice to my body and mind but it’s a battle I am willing to fight every day.”

Kailey, 22, Royersford, PA

Passion Piece Feature: Self-Love Edition

“Studying abroad, even when I was in a serious relationship. I decided to be selfish and it was the best decision I made. Now that I’m not with that person, I’m glad I did it and chose to put myself first. Best decision I ever made.”

Ryan, 21, Laredo, TX

Passion Piece Feature: Self-Love Edition

“Self-love means doing things that make you happy.”

Chloe, 26, Minneapolis, MN

Passion Piece Feature: Self-Love Edition

“Before the pandemic I would take myself on dates! Get my nails done, have a museum day, dress up and go to dinner. It was learning that being alone doesn’t have to mean being lonely and instead focusing on how to fall in love with being by yourself because at the end of the day you are with you until the very end💛”


Angela, 23, Sugarloaf, PA

Passion Piece Feature: Self-Love Edition

To me, self-love is learning what you need and refusing to settle for anything less than that. It means cultivating a schedule and a routine that serves your needs on a daily basis and doing what you can to make the unpredictable moments a little less stressful. I’m still working on that. It means refusing to settle and always pushing yourself to try new things and being as open to change as you can be (REALLY still working on that). In my own life, spending serious time on my own and learning how to love myself in the last year and a half has been the ultimate act of self-love. Working on myself, for myself, and for the future individual(s) I will come to love is one of the greatest gifts I could ever give myself in the long run. Little random acts of self-love that I try to do often are manifesting, putting the phone down when I feel burnt out, eating foods I like because I can, and spending time in the quiet.

I hope that now, more than ever, you are finding new ways to practice self-love, and maybe dusting off ways in which you’ve practiced before if it’s been a while since you’ve taken time for YOU. You can start by writing down 3 things you love about yourself every day, or simply by listening to your body and honoring your own needs NO MATTER WHAT. You are so loved, and you deserve to feel that. What better way than to start from within?

I love you, friends!

~Ang

Passion Piece Feature

Passion Piece Feature

Passion Piece Feature
Megan Bowen: Dance From the Heart

Megan Bowen: Dance From the Heart

Feature #7

Hi, all! Happy Monday!

I am SO excited to share my first Passion Piece Feature of 2021 with you! To kick off the year we have dancer, entrepreneur, and all around badass woman, Megan Bowen!

Passion Piece Feature
Megan Bowen: Dance From the Heart
Photo: @cesar.shoots

Here’s a little about Megan:

Megan Bowen is a performer, creator & entrepreneur in NYC. Alongside her professional performing career, Megan founded Dance From Home LLC, an online company that helps Broadway lovers reconnect with the joy of live performance through musical theatre-themed fitness, dance & industry workshops. Megan believes the dance space is for everyBODY and is excited to reenter the industry post-pandemic. Stay connected via Instagram @MeganBowen__ & @DanceFromHome_ 

Like many of the people I have featured in the Passion Piece series, I have only ever connected with Megan online, and she is just a powerhouse. I’m not even sure how I came across Megan’s profile or the Dance From Home account, but I am SO glad that I did. Back in November, I took part in Dance From Home’s 14 day Get Up and Dance Challenge and the rest is history. It was during this time, taking Megan’s classes, that I started to truly feel connected to theatre and dance again, and this can really only be attributed to Megan, her instruction, and her class structure. Through the computer screen, states away, I could feel her infectious energy, her support, and her desire for me to succeed. Yes, I got that all from a fitness class. But that’s how I knew that Megan was someone I wanted in my corner, leading and guiding me toward my fullest potential! I signed up to be part of Dance From Home’s Ensemble Membership in the New Year, and it’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made in my personal and professional life.

Megan is such an incredible inspiration. On her personal social media, she openly speaks about the joys and struggles of being a business owner, body image in the theatre, her own journey back into the dance studio, and much, much more. She is real, she is raw, and it’s so refreshing to follow and invest your time and energy in people who are just real people with real lives. That’s something I admire and would like to aim to bring into my own online space in 2021.

It’s such an amazing feeling when you know you’ve got people on your side, holding space for you, and aiming to help you reach your fullest potential. Megan is one of those people in my life, and I cannot wait to connect with her in person! Check out our chat and get to know more about Megan below!

Who are you, where are you from, and where are you spending your time these days?

My name is Megan Bowen and I am from Temecula, CA. I moved to NYC a little over 4 years ago and I currently reside in Brooklyn!

What are you currently doing for work, if anything? 

I am the Founder and CEO of Dance From Home LLC. We help Broadway lovers reconnect to the joy of live performance through musical theatre themed fitness, dance, and industry master workshops!

Tell me a little about your journey as a performer and how it has brought you to where you are today?

My parents put me in dance class when I was 3 years old. I was a very shy kid (I still identify as an ‘extroverted’ introvert) and stood in the back of my first dance class for 3 months until I decided to give the class a try and, well, here I am 23 years later still doing it!

I was a competitive dancer throughout my middle school and high school years. I also LOVED to sing so I started voice lessons when I was about 10 years old. My dance studio often let a local community theatre use the studios for rehearsals which was how I started to get involved with musical theatre. I did a few productions with them in middle school and absolutely loved it, but when it came time to high school, I had to make the choice between dedicating my time to theatre or the dance team, and I chose dance.

During my senior year of high school, I began auditioning for college dance programs (I thought I was going to end up being a classic modern or jazz dancer in a company) but I had a horrific experience during the college audition process. I was rejected from every single school I auditioned for, I was even told by the director of the NYU Dance Department that I did not have “the ideal body type that they were looking for” and felt very defeated. Luckily, I was very smart and had great grades/qualifications to get me into The University of California, Irvine as an Undeclared Major. During my first week at school, I reauditioned for their Dance Department and got accepted! It was the best feeling of my life. 

During my Junior year of university training, I started falling out of love with modern/contemporary dance. I also couldn’t find any companies or space for women with my body type in that portion of the industry and was confused on what I wanted to do. This is when musical theatre started coming back into my life…

I was in a sorority, (shoutout Delta Delta Delta) and each year the sororities would be paired with one fraternity to compete in a schoolwide musical competition called “Songfest”. The musical assigned to our cast was Pippin and during that creative and performance process (yes, we won the entire competition), I fell back in love with theatre. 

This is when I started getting involved in the drama department at UCI and got accepted into their New York Satellite Program, a “study abroad” program that had about a group of 25 of us come to NYC for one month and train nonstop. We took master classes, had mock auditions, went to a few real auditions, and got to fully experience what being a performer in NYC would be like. I was IN LOVE. I knew this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I had finally found my calling. 

So, I graduated college and moved to NYC 3 months later. I’ve been here doing the audition and performing grind until Covid hit and it all stopped. 

If you can, list for me your top 5 passions- no matter what they are!

1 – Performing

2 – Baking

3 – Creating Content/Being a Business Owner

4 – Lifting Weights

5 – Quality time with those I love

Does the work you are currently doing fall into the same category as any of those passions?

Passion Piece Feature
Megan Bowen: Dance From the Heart

I would say the majority of my current work with Dance From Home aligns with my passion of dancing, performing, and teaching, but I believe passion and business have to fall into two very separate categories.

Dance From Home is my business in which I must be able to detach my ego or emotional connection from in order to make it thrive and better serve my community. My passion for dancing and teaching show through my classes, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that business is my passion. It is one of my proudest achievements and has brought me closer to an incredible community that I am so lucky to serve every single day.

But passions are allowed and often do change, so with that in mind I work on looking at my business strictly as a business. I guess what I’m saying is that owning a business is not the driving force of my life. Performing is. 🙂

What has inspired most you in a time where we are seeing so much change in the world/our industry?

Oh gosh, honestly my friends and the upcoming community of leaders in the musical theatre industry inspire me. We are going to be the ones to evoke change.

What are some things you like to do in your down time to nurture your passions, so they can stay just as alive, consistent, and active as your work?

Honestly, as a first-year business owner much of my time has been consumed with my business and my passions have fallen to the side. That alongside living through a Pandemic. I have just now started to get realigned with my passion for taking dance class and going back to the gym to strength train. Those two things bring me endless joy and I haven’t really been doing them for the past 10 months, so I am excited to start again. 

This kinda ties into my answer above! My passions didn’t necessarily disappear in 2020 but they were put on the backburner and that is OKAY. I wasn’t ready for them or in a mental space to bring them back, but I am now 🙂

What are your top 3 goals in your life/work?

Oh that’s rough…I guess some that come to mind are.

#1 – Be in and choreograph a Broadway show

#2 – Have a 7 figure business

#3 – Start a conversation/Change the body standards of the dance industry

What does your self-care routine look like?

Haha. Another thing that I lost during the pandemic. Right now, my self-care looks like paying off my debt and credit cards and fixing my relationship with money. THAT is real self-care. Doing the things you don’t want to do but will ultimately help you be a better and happier person. 

I also ALWAYS eat breakfast.

What advice do you have for anyone struggling to make the time for their passions in their life? 

My advice would be to allow yourself to take a step back. You do not and should not feel like you have to force your passion. Knowing that passions can change and finding new things to light you up is exciting.

What are you hopeful for in our industry as we enter 2021? What prospects excite you, scare you, and make your heart flutter with anticipation?

I’m hopeful that the industry will start to come back by winter. I personally don’t think Broadway will come back until November 2021, but I lean towards the beginning of 2022.

Something I am looking forward to is taking dance class in person again and having the space to create with fellow dancers. 

I’d like to think about performing but I just don’t know what that will look like. I know my dreams and goals will come true; I’m just trying to not put a timeline on them 🙂

Amen to that my friends. Self-care is “doing the things you don’t want to do but will ultimately help you be a better and happier person.” Self-care takes on SO many different forms, and THIS is one form I couldn’t resonate with more!

A HUGE thank you to Megan for sharing her time and energy with me! All her social media information can be found in the bio at the top of the post- check her and her business out, give them a follow, and spread love today!

Lots of love

~ Ang

Passion Piece Feature

Passion Piece Feature

Passion Piece Feature
Feature #6
Mackenzie Moyer: A Goddess Among Us

Mackenzie Moyer: A Goddess Among Us

Hi friends!

Back again with the FINAL Passion Piece Feature of the year! Before we dive in, I have to thank you all for embracing and reading these features every month! Some of these Passion Piece Features have been some of the most viewed posts from the blog since I got started in May and it makes my heart burst with joy knowing you enjoy reading about these amazing individuals as much as I love getting to share them with you!

I’m SO happy to finish out the year featuring a wonderful friend of mine and incredible artist, Mackenzie Moyer! Here’s a bit about Mackenzie in her own words:

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Feature #6
Mackenzie Moyer: A Goddess Among Us
Mackenize as Elmire in Tartuffe

“My name is Mackenzie Moyer, and I am a recent grad of DeSales University (class of 2020 woohoo!), where I earned my B.A. in Theatre. When I am not acting, you can find me running my business (Some Wandearrings, LLC), playing Dungeons & Dragons, or writing. When I am acting, I am usually kicking butt in period dramas, dabbling in witchcraft, or annoying my stage husband in high comedy. My special skills include breathing in a corset, a reliable nose whistle, and being able to perform the famed dance move: The Worm.”

Yes, all of that is just as incredible as it sounds. This girl *full stop.* DOES. IT. ALL. She does it all, and she does it all WELL! She’s an incredibly talented actress, writer, model, and a freaking small business owner!!! I’ve known Mackenzie for 4+ years now, and I have always admired her for the hard work, dedication, and passion she pours into literally everything that she does. I have worked alongside her, watched her work from afar (is that creepy? let’s go with no), and the drive she possesses truly is just unreal. This girl gets shit done. On top of all that, the zest and excitement Mackenzie has for life, especially the little things in life, is so admirable and inspiring. She fights for what she believes in, she fights for others who may not be able to fight for themselves, and always leads with her good-natured heart. She has been there with me and for me in some of the best and worst moments of our college careers and for that, I am so grateful.

Passion Piece Feature
Feature #6
Mackenzie Moyer: A Goddess Among Us

When the pandemic hit, Mackenzie took her creativity into another amazing venture: owning her own business, Some Wandearrings. She makes STUNNING hand-made and hand-painted earrings inspired by classical art and natural beauty (two things this woman literally embodies) and is committed to raising and donating money to various organizations helping the fight for racial justice. I’ve watched her and this business grow exponentially over the last few months, and the impact she has made and continues to make is astounding. This time has been extremely difficult for artists, but it has been so beautiful to watch my colleagues and friends, especially ones like Mackenzie, coming into their own and finding additional spaces in which their passions lie.

Here is our chat!

Who are you, where are you from, and where are you spending your time these days?

I’m Mackenzie! I’m from the Philly suburbs, and I’m currently living with my parents in PA to ride out this pandemic!

What are you currently doing for work, if anything?

HA. Well, I have been doing a lot of little things off and on, as the restrictions ebb and flow. I have a part-time retail job, I run a jewelry business (the biggie), and I have another part-time job at a local paint-and-sip place! My jewelry business (Some Wandearrings, LLC) was started in June as a way to raise money for the BLM movement, and has since become a small business, and an on-going way to monetarily donate to BIPOC organizations, while also keeping me busy and employed. I have always loved making things with my hands (I’m an avid crafter), and getting to share my jewelry with people and feel their support has been a great blessing. Plus, owning a small business has opened my eyes to a whole new section of the economy, cultivated a new skill set, and given me a whole new community! It has been equal parts exhausting and rewarding, and I am very thankful.

Tell me a little about your journey as a performer and how it has brought you to where you are today?

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Mackenzie Moyer: A Goddess Among Us
Mackenzie as Maid Marian in The Adventures of Robin Hood & Maid Marian

I grew up in an athletic household (read: my parents ran marathons for fun. Marathons. As in plural.), but from a very young age I was drawn to singing, writing, and performance. I both sang in church choir AND was on a travel soccer team for a lot of my childhood (#versatile), but late middle school into high school I transitioned into solely the arts. I was lucky enough to have always known what I wanted to do! I got my degree in theatre from DeSales University, and “graduated” this past May (we all know the reason for the quotes). While my degree is in Musical Theatre, I feel much more called to TV/Film work and straight plays, especially classical and period plays (or fresh adaptations of classical tropes)! As is the story with many performers, my career is kinda on hold right now, save for some online theatre (which has been quite rewarding, even though challenging and strange).

If you can, list for me your top 5 passions- no matter what they are!

My first and foremost passion is performance and acting. It’s just something I can’t imagine not doing.
Writing – when I was a little girl, I also wanted to be a writer, and would write lots of poems and stories in my free time. I don’t do it as often now, but it’s still a hobby I very much enjoy.
Painting & crafting – I took up painting in high school as a hobby and picked it back up in the pandemic when I started my business! I’m also a sucker for a good collage.
Dungeons & Dragons – I started playing in college, and now I just want to play 24/7. It’s collaborative fantasy storytelling – it’s so fun and is so tied into what I do as a performer anyways. It’s just the best.
Period dramas. I said what I said. Catch me talking about Pride & Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Little Women, and the like any day of the week.

Does the work you are currently doing fall into the same category as any of those passions?

Passion Piece Feature
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Mackenzie Moyer: A Goddess Among Us

My jewelry business is alllll about the hand painted earrings! It’s been really fun to delve back into painting (especially such small and detailed work!) and get to share it with so many people in such a personal way. In terms of acting and performing, I have been lucky to get the chance to participate in several readings and online productions – I am currently playing Jo March in a four-person adaptation of Little Women (by the brilliant Heather Chrisler). So, I am still flexing those actor muscles as much as I can while lying in wait!

What has been inspiring you in a time where we are seeing so much change in the world/our industry?

I have loved seeing my friends and fellow creatives create their own Youtube channels, podcasts, start their own businesses, mount their own virtual shows. It’s been a blessing to see people put themselves out there in a time where I think so many of us feel limited and stifled. It’s an act of bravery, and it brings so much joy.

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?

Honestly? I’ve been watching a lot of TV (it keeps me company while I paint and craft) which is something I never used to have time for or want to do. It has kept me excited about the industry and helped me figure out the type of work I want to pursue post-pandemic (of note: Hulu’s The Great, Netflix’s Anne with an E, and, of course, Fleabag). In terms of non-performance related shtuff, I play D&D with pals, peruse Pinterest (for inspiration for future projects), and journal or write.

What are your top 3 goals in your life/work?

1. Be a truly decent person – which seems like an obvious goal, but I believe it takes genuine effort and intellectual/emotional investment to be good. It’s easy to be kind, it’s harder to be good. I wasn’t originally going to put this as one of my goals for this question, but I think it’s important to speak on the belief in human beings to grow and evolve and learn and acknowledge that it takes work.
2. Work steadily as a performer on material I care about, with people I care about. I have specific goals and ideals about what kind of work (i.e.: period film/tv pieces, Shakespeare, new adaptations of classical styles, etc.), and I have big, outlandish goals (star in a Broadway play, be in an Oscar-winning film), but if I can pay the bills and have a laugh off stage or on set with friends, then I think I trust that.
3. Write something really good and put it out into the world. I’m not sure yet what it will be – a book of poetry, a one-woman show, a novel. But one of my childhood dreams was to be an author, and I think I have it in me yet. 

What does your self-care routine look like?

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Mackenzie Moyer: A Goddess Among Us
Mackenzie as Sir Eglamour in The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Well, it used to look very different, and I am sure it will look very different again when the pandemic is over. Recently (it’s about to get real here), I’ve been struggling with lack of motivation, seasonal depression, and all that fun stuff that winter and darkness and isolation can bring us. So, anyone out there feeling this way – you aren’t alone! BUT despite those feelings, almost every day I go for a long walk around my neighborhood and listen to a D&D podcast. It’s my time to get out of the house, get some exercise, and get my mind off of whatever is troubling me. I also bake a lot, and I have been watching TV like crazy like I mentioned above. I also journal pretty frequently, which is not only helpful, but will be such a gift to be able look back on such a monumental time in my life and the world.

What advice do you have for anyone struggling to make the time for their passions in their life?

Right now, it’s a pandemic. So my advice now is different from what my pre-pandemic (or post-pandemic) advice would be. Right now? Do what you gotta do to get through it. For real.

That being said, even if you can’t actively pursue your passions right now, for whatever reason, what seeds can you sow that you can reap the benefits from post-pandemic? What skills can you learn, plans can you make, habits can you form, vision boards can you meditate on? (Listen, I love me a Pinterest board.)
I am usually ALL ABOUT the grind. I love being busy, I’m ambitious, I’m motivated. But in this season, at this moment, I’m moving slowly. I’m listening to my body, to my gut. I’m learning to swim in these feelings of uncertainty and fear and frustration instead of letting them drown me. I’m pushing myself when appropriate. But unprecedented times call for new tactics, new ways of living. Find your new tactics, invest in them, and then allow yourself to get excited for what’s to come when we emerge on the other side.

As I am writing this post and re-reading Mackenzie’s responses, I can assure you that I am in awe right along with you. What a beautiful way to end this post, and an even more beautiful and inspiring way to end this chapter of Passion Piece Features. I feel so lucky to get to read these responses, connect with new friends, and reconnect with old ones. Mackenzie is absolutely right, we are all learning, growing, and adapting to this brand-new way of life and we continue to do so within every new season the universe hands us. May you all do what you can to get through and know you’ve got people here to hold you up if/when you need it.

A huge thank you to Mackenzie for her time and energy! Check her and her business out on Instagram @mackenzie_moyer, @somewandearrings, and check out her actor website at http://www.mackenzie-moyer.com!

Stay tuned for the LAST BLOG POSTS OF 2020 coming your way soon!

Love you all!

~Ang

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Kailey Edwards: Finding the Beauty

Kailey Edwards: Finding the Beauty

Hi friends!

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.

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Kailey Edwards: Finding the Beauty
Kailey and I playing villain & sidekick (me looking less than thrilled)

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?

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Kailey Edwards: Finding the Beauty
Kailey as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady at Facetime Theatre

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!

  1. Books, books, books! I was a double major in English in college and that’s really just because I love to read so much!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 
  5. 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?

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Kailey Edwards: Finding the Beauty

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?

  1. 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.
  2. For photography, I would love to ultimately become a destination wedding photographer and travel around the world while capturing memories for people.
  3. 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!


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Kailey Edwards: Finding the Beauty

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

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Courtney Wersick: Real-Life Disney Printcess

Courtney Wersick: Real-Life Disney Printcess

Hi Everyone!

It’s that time again! Time for our October Passion Piece Feature! This month, the spotlight is on my social media gal pal, artistic mentor, Courtney Wersick! And yes, you read that right, PRINTcess! Here’s a bit about her:

“Courtney Wersick is an Actor and Artistic Mentor, based out of New York City. With a Bachelors of Music degree in Vocal Performance, Courtney has always believed life is too short to pay bills and die. After completing a contract with Disney Cruise Lines after graduating from Towson University, she made the big move to NYC to pursue her Broadway dreams! Her mottos in life are “Progress over Perfection”, and “Be Kind, Always.” She is also an artistic mentor for emerging artists seeking to pursue a career in musical theatre – using her own experience to help the younger generation feel confident they are chasing their dreams with their best foot forward. Courtney loves working with children, is a loud and proud cat lady, and a (maybe not so loud but still proud) true-crime enthusiast! In her free time, Courtney is a calligraphy artist; co-owning a small art/print shop called Printcesses, which she co-found with her best friend in 2018.”

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Courtney Wersick: Real-Life Disney Printcess

I’m particularly excited to feature Courtney this month because I feel like her and I have been talking about this since I even started the blog! The last few months have been tough on artists trying to find a community, but thanks to the amazing artistic community on Instagram, Courtney and I started following one another and what a lucky break it was! While she and I have yet to meet in person (I’m going to have lots of new fun friends to catch up with when the world regains some new normalcy!), Courtney’s love and light still shine on me from states away. The title of artistic mentor is so perfect for her, and I feel like she is mine in a way! Watching her speak on social media about her audition experiences, cruise ship life, and her journey towards finding an apartment in NYC have been so enlightening and beyond helpful since these are all things I would like to be able to do! Having a guide like Courtney who is so open and honest about her experiences can only be beneficial if you, too, are looking to pounce on your Broadway dreams.

On multiple occasions, Courtney has been in my messages, lifting me up and holding me there in times of struggle during the pandemic. I so admire her for her kindness, her work ethic, and her never ending passion for the people and things she loves. Let’s hear about what Courtney’s up to and how she practices self-care and self-compassion!

Who are you, where are you from, and where are you spending your time these days?

I’m Courtney! I am from Bowie, MD – and I am currently riding out this pandemic in Baltimore, MD with my boyfriend/partner, Jason!

What are you currently doing for work, if anything?

Since performing/the theatre have been almost completely halted due to the pandemic, I have been finding new ways to not only prepare for when theatre returns, but to reframe my model for success. I’m working with an artistic mentor myself, doing a lot of self-reflection on my “why”, and kind of treating quarantine like my own little “rehab” for my Imposter Syndrome. I truly believe mental health and self-care are the two most important elements of being a performer and I’ve been trying to look on the bright side and really take advantage of the down time I’ve been given during this shut-down. Additionally, I’ve been working on my calligraphy/art business – we recently launched our new sticker collection and that has really opened the floodgates for my creative output! Most excitingly, I have also been building an artistic mentorship program 🙂 My mini-course on moving to New York City is now available on my website.

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Courtney Wersick: Real-Life Disney Printcess

Tell me a little about your journey as a performer and how it has brought you to where you are today?

Well, it really begins from when I was too little to even remember! I was always a performer — putting on shows and concerts for my friends and family in my living room. Growing up I did every musical, choir, and show I had the opportunity of doing and really have been chasing this dream from the get-go! It all really changed when I was 12 years old. I saw the movie version of The Phantom of the Opera, and decided to give up my dreams of being the next Britney Spears and switch to being an opera singer. I started taking my first professional classical voice lessons when I was 13 and the rest is kind of history! I couldn’t afford to go to college in NYC, and when Towson offered me a scholarship — I couldn’t say no. They didn’t have a MT program so I studied  classical voice because even though I knew I wanted to eventually pursue musical theatre, I really loved opera and felt that continuing my classical training might give me a leg up, vocally. 

I’m very lucky to have known what my passion was at such a young age, and while that has definitely led to some perfectionism and high expectations in my adulthood — I am so grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had along the way. I’m now at a place where I can appreciate all the work I’ve done, while exploring new ways to pursue my passions!

If you can, list for me your top 5 passions- no matter what they are!

       – Performing (duh)

       – Food (specifically pasta and sweets)

       – TV and movies (I’m a spooky movie girl) 

       – Calligraphy

       – Inspiring others (if you ever need a hype man, I’m your girl hahaha) 

Does the work you are currently doing fall into the same category as any of those passions?

Absolutely! I’m really trying to do more of all of those things during these crazy times. I had a breakthrough recently regarding doing more of what makes me happy and brings me internal fulfillment and all of those things are involved!

What has been inspiring you in a time where we are seeing so much change in the world/our industry?

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Courtney Wersick: Real-Life Disney Printcess

 Honestly, I am so inspired to come out on the other side of this with a renewed passion for this industry, and a new perspective of who I am and what I want to do as well. I am hopeful that there will be some changes made to the “system” that involve us all being more compassionate, more patient, and more supportive of each other as actors and artists in general. I have seen so many of my performer friends taking the time to break down the walls that so many of us put up to protect ourselves from criticism and judgement – walls that I truly believe hold us back  as artists AND human beings. If the only thing I did this year was find my inner peace and figure out how to help others do the same – then maybe 2020 won’t go down as the worst year in my history book. There is still a light at the end of the tunnel. 

What are some things you like to do in your down time to foster those passions, so they stay just as alive as your work?

I’ve been working on giving myself the quiet time and the space to fully live in the moment and FEEL the emotions that present themselves. It is so easy to just push them down and distract yourself with staying “busy & productive’ but as I learned pretty early on in quarantine — that doesn’t serve me in any way. I get burnt out A LOT. So when I feel like I’m overworking myself, or I’m feeling anxious – I have been taking a step back and sitting down with a book, watching a tv show I love, or even just playing my Animal Crossing for a while to just really try and RELAX – to avoid burnout. Taking care of yourself is JUST as “productive” as the traditional ideas of “working” that we all force upon ourselves. 

What are your top 3 goals in your life/work?

Firstly, to spread sunshine wherever I go. There is nothing that brings me more joy than bringing a smile to someone’s face.

Secondly, to inspire others to chase their dreams and chase them bravely. I want to be that person for people to turn to when they feel like their dreams are too big. We all need that person. 

Lastly, to enjoy my life. I don’t want to be on my deathbed thinking about all the things I didn’t do, or all the things I did out of trying to please others. Life is too short to live for other people. I want to share my life with others and embrace every second of it because my happiness comes from within. 

What does your self-care routine look like?

Recently, it’s truly a balancing act. At the beginning of quarantine, I was setting impossibly high goals- so now I am focusing on balancing “work” with “me time”. As for “me time” – I’m currently reading through Midnight Sun (ngl, I’m struggling), playing Animal Crossing, watching a bunch of South Korean zombie films, and spending time with my boyfriend and our new kitten – Fizzgig! I try to alternate between a “work” activity and a “me time” activity on a 1:1 basis 🙂 

What advice do you have for anyone struggling to make the time for their passions in their life? 

I cannot emphasize this enough – therapy and/or mentoring – have changed my life. There have been so many times where I have struggled to find motivation to pursue my passions, and it always came back to something within myself that was holding me back. I strongly urge anyone struggling with this to really take the time to figure out their “why” and take the time to explore the obstacles both mental and physical (ie. their schedule, or day job, or family dynamic, etc) that may be holding them back. I think that’s a very good use of this time, so we can fully thrive in our power when life returns to “normal” – whatever that is! LOL. 

HUGE thank you to Courtney for sharing her time and energy with me! If you want to learn more about Courtney, give her a follow on Instagram and check out her website!

Talk soon! xo

~ Ang

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Jenna Leigh Miller: Social (Media) Butterfly
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Jenna Leigh Miller: Social (Media) Butterfly

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Hi Friends!

Beyond the Footlights is back with another Passion Piece Feature, and this month I had the joy and privilege of communicating with actress, theatre coach, and ball of literal sunshine, Jenna Leigh Miller!

Here’s a little bit about Jenna in her own words!:

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Jenna Leigh Miller: Social (Media) Butterfly
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“Hey! My name is Jenna Leigh Miller and I am a New York City based actress. I hold a BFA in Musical Theatre from Otterbein University. I first came across Musical Theatre on a Brownies trip to NYC, where we saw Beauty & the Beast, ever since then I was hooked!  I started singing at the young age of 3 years old, at church. I truly was singing before I was talking. I lived out my “Fame the Original Movie” dreams by attending the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts as a Vocal Major. I am also the creator of Problem Solved, a Theatre Coaching for all artists, specializing in everything audition related. In my free time I enjoy cooking, games nights, Gilmore Girls, and reading as many quote books as I can.”

Y’all. If you don’t already follow Jenna on social media, you MUST this instant! While Jenna and I haven’t had the opportunity to meet one another in person, I feel like I already know her like I know any close friend just from our interaction with one another via social media. I truly don’t remember how I stumbled upon her profile, but from the moment we connected I could tell how positive, uplifting, hard-working, and hilarious she is!!! I follow both her personal account as well as her Problem Solved account, and on any given day, my feed is full of Jenna doing everything from highlighting her favorite self-tape products and audition book hacks, dancing up a STORM, and singing her face off to her making her signature chai, chilling with her blow-up pool dolphins, and doing blind taste tests of her favorite adult beverages! Her feed really is the social media experience we are all in need of during this crazy quaran-time!

I just love how real and supportive Jenna is at all times. What you see is what you get, and that isn’t something that is easy to hold onto in our line of work sometimes, so for that I admire her immensely. Because she works hard, she plays hard, and because of that, I thought it would be fun to check in with Jenna and hear about her passions and how she practices self-care! Here’s our chat:

Who are you, where are you from, and where are you spending your time these days?

J: I am an actress, performer, artists, daughter, friend, and human being. I am New York City based but I am currently quarantine in Easton PA, which is also where I’m from!

What are you currently doing for work, if anything?

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Jenna Leigh Miller: Social (Media) Butterfly
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J: I am so grateful for my theatre coaching business- Problem Solved, truly has kept me busy during quarantine! I also teach acting to younger kids with this company based out of Pittsburgh called South Hills Music Academy. And I social media manage An Actor Plans, which sells Broadway themed stationary goods! Check them out: @an_actor_plans

Tell me a little about your journey as a performer and how it has brought you to where you are today?

J: I always knew I wanted to perform. I know that sounds so cheesy but, it’s true! I did other things as a child, soccer, swim team, but it was always AFTER rehearsal or AFTER my voice lesson or AFTER my dance class. To me, my path was always lit up. I knew what I wanted to do. As artists, creativity runs through our bones. That has spilled into other parts of my life, but my Broadway dreams have been consistent my entire life.

 If you can, list for me your top 5 passions- no matter what they are!

J:

  1. Performing…duh! #jennaforbroadway
  2. Cooking and cocktail making. Follow my #drinkswithjenna journey on Insta
  3. Supporting and uplifting fellow artists, that’s how I found Angela on Instagram! #artistssupportingartists
  4. Problem Solved, building something from the ground up is incredible rewarding
  5.  AUDITIONING! (I know crazy) I love being pushed outside my comfort zone in the audition room, meeting new people, getting an opportunity to perform. I even love the hustle that comes with audition season.
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Does the work you are currently doing fall into the same category as any of those passions?

J: I love the quote, “Love what you do, and you will never work a day in your life.” Meaning I try to fill my time with my passions. If you don’t love what you do, what’s the point?! I turned my passions into my career. So yes, all of my passions fall into the same category!

What are some things you do in your spare/down time to foster or hone those passions, so they stay just as alive as your work?

J: See, this is something I struggle with. You know how they say don’t work from your bed, because you shouldn’t mix “work” with “down time”. Well… I am currently writing these responses in my bed, p-jays still on with a pomegranate G & T in my hand. So much of my work is my downtime I struggle to find that perfect balance. But I will say cooking is a huge stress reliever for me. It’s an hour to myself to create.

What are your top 3 goals in your life/work?

J: Oh woof, BIG question! I feel like this is best discussed in a bar in Downtown Manhattan with some fancy drink that is casually flaming, but I’ll give it a go…

  1. Perform on Broadway. This has been a professional goal of mine since I saw my first Broadway show, Beauty and the Beast, on a Brownies trip to New York City.
  2. Have a home base. I am slightly obsessed with tiny homes and I feel like for an actor it’s the perfect size. And being able to drive your house whenever you have a contract sounds brilliant to me.
  3.  Make a sustainable amount of money where I get to choose what I want I do. Whether that money comes from contracts or my business doesn’t really matter to me, but they don’t call it finical freedom for nothing. I want that freedom!

I’d just like to note none of these things I have achieved yet and I am ok with that. For me, it is more about the direction and not the speed at which I achieve my goals. I do believe in putting things out there in the universe and asking for what you want. But not at the expense of giving myself timelines I have to follow.

What does your self-care routine look like?

J: Cliché answer, but wine, face mask, and a good Netflix binge and some yummy snacks! I also find self-care is giving myself pep talks. I recently re-did my dance reel and when I was going through editing the videos 75% of them all had some sort of self-affirmation in them, “You got this Jenna,” “Show em what you got,” “You are so ready for this.” Makes me laugh watching it back, but to me that is a huge part of my self-care. If I don’t believe in myself, why would other people?

What advice do you have for anyone struggling to make the time for their passions in their life?

J: You make your own schedule. So, YOU get to decide what your energy goes towards. Carving out an hour of time to sing each week is the same as carving out an hour of time to do your laundry. To me I put them on equal levels of importance.

I also say this all the time but when it comes to the performance industry but, SHOW UP. That’s my advice, show up. Half the battle when it comes to pursing your passions is showing up. Show up for your family, show up for your fellow artists, show up in your audition prep work, show up to that early morning open call, show up when preparing food for your body, show up to that dance class you have been wanting to take all quarantine. Show up for yourself.

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A HUGE thank you to Jenna for taking time out of her busy, fun-filled life to answer my questions! Weren’t her responses just perfect? So candid, so hopeful, and so relatable! I can’t wait until I am able to connect with her in person, but in the mean time, catch me following her journey and growth online!

WHAT? You don’t already follow Jenna?! Fear not. There are plenty of ways to connect with her online right now! Check her out at any of the following:

Actress Website: www.jennaleighmiller.com

Actress Instagram: @jennaleighmiller

Like to Know It: @JennaLeighMiller
Problem Solved: www.problemsolvedbyjenna.com 

Problem Solved Instagram: @problemsolvedbyjenna

Actor Must Haves: http://www.problemsolvedbyjenna.com/actormusthaves

Pinterest: @ProblemSolvedbyJenna
An Actor Plans: @an_actor_plans

Have a wonderful week my friends! Keep shining!

~ Ang

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Feature #1- Gabe Moses: Big Dreamer. Big Doer.

Gabe Moses: Big Dreamer. Big Doer.

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Hi, Passion Peeps!

This week’s post is something new and exciting that I am thrilled to share with you all! Last month, I wrote a personal “Passion Piece” about my passion for yoga, but this week I am excited to share the first of many “Passion Piece” features!

Seeing as how Beyond the Footlights centers on life both on and off the stage, and the passions we all have outside of our careers, I wanted to spotlight friends and colleagues of mine (and hopefully some new faces!) and share their passions with this community! I think it is really interesting and beautiful to get to know people on a deeper level than we may experience in work, school, or via social media. It creates meaningful connection with others, and I can’t wait for that connection to be amplified here!

Passion Piece Feature
Feature #1- Gabe Moses: Big Dreamer. Big Doer.
Gabe and I (back left) with our fellow interns at an opening night champagne toast for PSF

My first Passion Piece Feature is Gabe Moses. I met Gabe in college at DeSales University when he came in as a freshman my sophomore year, and the splash he made onto the college scene was incredible. I have had the honor of sharing the stage with Gabe in various productions both during the school year and at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival as inters interns and working with him as a director. To say his talent goes unmatched is quite the understatement. His dedication, professionalism, and heart (both on and off stage) afford him well, and there is no doubt that those attributes propel him forward in and among our peers. Not only is Gabe all those wonderful things, he is also a wonderful friend and just a great human being. Every time I watch him work, watching him with friends, and talk with him myself, I feel like I learn something. Whether in our craft or in everyday life, his maturity and sensibility never cease to teach and inspire me. How lucky am I to know this man?!

Here is my chat with Gabe about all thing’s passion, self-care, and the journey.

Who are you, where are you from, and where are you spending your time these days?

G: My name is Gabe Moses and I am originally from New Jersey, but I moved to Pennsylvania when I was ten years old. I currently live in Bethlehem and I’ve been home since the Coronavirus hit.

What are you currently doing for work, if anything?

G: I am currently unemployed due to Covid-19, but I recently started a podcast called “Black-tor” which almost feels like a part-time job with the amount of work I put into each episode.

Tell me a little about your journey and how it has brought you to where you are today?

Passion Piece Feature
Feature #1- Gabe Moses: Big Dreamer. Big Doer.
Gabe as Lopakhin in DeSales University’s production of The Cherry Orchard

G: Ever since I was three or four years old, I have been singing and dancing around the house. Although I believe I was born to perform, I definitely picked up these gifts from watching children’s shows like Barney and Hip Hop Harry. These shows included song and dance to tell their stories which reeled me in. So, my family saw me picking up these skills and wanted to put me in programs where I could learn more. As a child growing up, I’ve spent many years in performing arts camps/academies learning and honing my skills in theatre, song, and dance. It didn’t take much for me to realize that this is what I wanted to do with my life. Early on, I had visions and dreams of seeing myself on Broadway and television. This led me to attending The Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts and majoring in theatre for four years. I, then, went on to attend DeSales University as a theatre major and I’ll be starting my senior year in the Fall. I have had the privilege of taking part in the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival as an intern in several of their productions. Over the years, I have come to realize what my purpose is as a black performer and just as a person. I always want to represent my people and shine positive lights on black culture through my art. My goals are not only to entertain the world with my gifts, but to change lives and provide new lenses for people to look through and understand.

If you can, list for me your top 5 passions- no matter what they are!

G: Theatre, Music, Interpretive Dance/Movement, Directing, Podcasting.

Does the work you are currently doing fall into the same category as any of those passions?

G: Thankfully, yes! 100%. I am blessed to have been active in the arts, throughout this pandemic. I didn’t think that would be the case when PSF, and so many other theatres, canceled their summer season. I thought this would be the worst summer ever, but somehow it has been very rewarding. I have learned so much about myself and what I want to give to this world while directing and acting in online readings/plays and podcasting.

What are some things you do in your spare/down time to foster/hone those passions so that they stay just as alive as your work?

G: I love watching interviews and listening to podcasts of actors, directors,
musicians, or pretty much anyone involved with the arts. Unfortunately, I can’t go see a show every single day especially as a performer and a college student who’s broke all the time. When I learn from professional artists through these interviews. I always try to find the actors who inspire me and who look like me to hear about their experiences. This lets me know what I’m getting myself into which is very valuable and informative as a young black actor.

What are your top 3 goals in your life/work?

G: It’s difficult for me to pick three legit goals. I have so many long term and short term goals I would like to achieve in life. If anything, I would love to be on Broadway. That has always been a dream of mine since I was a kid. To be able to follow in the footsteps of so many black actors and directors would be amazing. With the black lives matter movement afloat, I have hope I will be able to be a part of the change that is needed due to systemic racism and discrimination in the arts. So, there’s another goal: to share my voice with the world in hopes to end racism. I believe I have two voices: my performer voice and my personal voice. My performer voice is not necessarily a facade, but an extension of myself when I am performing and acting in a show. It’s the voice I put forth when my face is seen on a stage. My personal voice is the one I use when I do not have a platform to communicate through. It’s the microphone I make for myself when I’m
not given one. If I were to pick a third goal, I would say to be authentically me 24/7. I grew up as a quiet child, which surprised many people when they saw me onstage. Even into my college years, I still hold back who I am sometimes. So, the person I am and the person I am becoming is still taking shape. But I am able to stay humble while still being myself. I’ve grown so much in the past few months, on a personal level, to the point where I am excited to get back to daily routines when this pandemic is over. I’m ready to jump into my next chapter.

What does your self-care routine look like?

G: To be honest, I really need to come up with one that I can commit to on a daily or weekly basis. I tend to keep up with my well-being sporadically, but I feel as though scheduled check-ins will do me justice. I will give myself a pat on the back for knowing when to separate myself from situations I know I do not belong in. I am good at taking time to be alone and think about choices I may have made that were not right or either didn’t go as planned. So, time is a big part of self-care and being able to take a step back before I take two steps forward.

What advice do you have for anyone struggling to make the time for their passions in their life?

G: Make the time! Even if it’s out of the way from the priorities in your life. Or if you have to make a sacrifice that is doable, do it! You will feel so much better. It’s important to do what you love and not what other people want you to do. As an actor, I know there will be times when that isn’t possible immediately after graduation. But little things go a long way. It could be as simple as taking five minutes in your day to do something you love. Stay in touch with the things and people that mean everything to you. Then, hopefully, there will be an opportunity where you can do it every single day, and maybe even make a living out of it.

Huge thanks to Gabe for sharing his time and his words with me!

Passion Piece Feature
Feature #1- Gabe Moses: Big Dreamer. Big Doer.

He’s got one more year of school left, and you will not want to miss a moment of his journey! You can follow Gabe on Facebook (Gabe Moses), Instagram @gabejmoses, and Twitter @GabeMoses. You can listen to his podcast, “Black-tor,” on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Anchor, Overcast, RadioPublic, and PocketCasts!

Lots of love!

~ Ang