Confessions of Hollywoodland

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The photo above is me at age 17 on Rodeo Drive, visiting Los Angeles the summer prior to moving there for good. It’s hard to tell in the photo, since it isn’t a close up, but I was wearing a bright pink sundress and a headband. I felt confident, beautiful, and ready to take on Hollywoodland!

The whole point of my mom taking me to LA prior to me moving out there was for me to get my feet wet, get acclimated, and begin to understand the insanely confusing streets and ways of Hollywood. That summer taught me a lot more than I had bargained for. The soft, pink sundress fabric flowed onto my little 17 year old body as I headed out the door for my first audition for a talent agency in LA. I remember feeling excited, but not nervous at all. In a childlike sort of way, when you believe in yourself and haven’t yet experienced the world knocking you down.

As I walked into my appointment, confident and poised, the agent began to chat with me. Right off the bat, I noticed the irritated woman looking me up and down, down and up, until her eyes locked on my headband. The first words that came out of her mouth were: “I hate headbands.”

My arm slowly reached up to my head and pulled the headband off. She went on to tell me that I looked like “Orlando.” I tried to make sense of that comment. “Well, I am from Florida.” I thought. But surely, Orlando is not an adjective. It’s a noun. A place. Not a look. She offered me a lot, but these offers came with me needing to change who I was. From her comments, I knew that what she meant by me “looking like Orlando” was that I looked young, innocent, naive, and squeaky clean. She went on to tell me that my image needed to be edgier, that I needed to dress differently, and get an edgier “crazy” haircut.

In a song by Pink, the lyrics say:

“LA told me, you’ll be a pop star. All you have to change is everything you are.”

What is it about our culture that wants us to get rid of squeaky clean and make ourselves complicated, dark, and disturbed? Is that what being an adult is truly about?

Within the past four years of living in LA, fighting for ideals, and striving to stay true to myself, I have signed Disney contracts and worked on various television shows and films. One that I am most excited about is my role in Confessions of a Prodigal Son which will be filming this August.

This film is filled with insanely talented people, from the cast to the crew. Best of all, it is a film that will be excellently made while not compromising anyone’s morals all at the same time. If a film is truly excellent, it doesn’t need to have the shock factor of nudity and unnecessary filth. In the same way, when you have an excellent vocabulary, curse words are obsolete. Filth is not necessary, and trash doesn’t make for good entertainment. I am so incredibly excited to be a part of a film that will change the film industry in Hollywood and bring an amazing message to our generation.

If I can leave you with anything, it is this:
You do not have to compromise your beliefs, morals, or ideals in order to be successful. If you put your trust in God and truly believe that He is taking care of your plans and purpose, you will flourish and be blessed.

As I have allowed God to lead my life and I have stayed true to myself, life couldn’t get better. God’s plans for me are so much better and bigger than the dreams I had in mind. Now, through writing, speaking, acting, modeling, and music, I am able to share my story with the world about how successful you can be, simply by being YOU.

It’s okay if you look like Orlando…or Michigan…or anywhere. Be who you are and stay true to yourself.
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