Bold Moves Babe: Katie, The Actress
This Bold Moves October, I’m featuring some women in my life who’ve been powering through. First up is my dear friend Katie Paxton. Here’s her story.
Last week, Kelton asked me to write something for Bold Moves October to the tune of “I was really scared to do this rad thing and then I did it and it was awesome.” Just the idea of writing for someone else’s blog is terrifying to me, not to mention a blog with such a beautiful following like this one.[Editor’s note: they really are beautiful.] So of course I had to say yes because it’s fun to do things that scare us…right? right!? After three infuriating days of letting resistance and fear get the best of me, I finally sat down to write.
I decided I wanted to be an actress when I was 15. I knew nothing about acting. All I knew was how amazing I felt onstage during the middle school production of Flapper. Shortly after, my mom took me to my first Broadway play and something just clicked. I would never go back.
I’d been told that life as an actress wasn’t easy, so, like the good little A+ student I was, I enrolled in drama class. I dedicated my life to learning everything there was to know about the craft of acting so I could one day thrive in the Mecca of young talented artists: New York City.
Shakespeare, voice training, singing lessons, movement classes, clown workshops, improv, on-camera acting classes, and three years as a company member at a professional repertory theatre while I was earning my master’s degree in acting. Yes, a master’s degree in acting. It does exist. All of this was to prepare me for a life in the arts.
You could say I was into it.
Twelve years later, I am finally living the life I’ve dreamed of since I was fifteen. Well, sort of.
After a successful industry showcase with my graduate school class, I signed with an amazing agent, packed up my belongings into a rented Tahoe and sat shotgun while my dad drove from North Carolina to Brooklyn, shouting expletives all the way up the honking New Jersey Turnpike.
Before I could even unpack, I began going on auditions. I was excited! I was nervous. I was always prepared and memorized…and I was “green,” said the casting directors.
“GREEN?!” I was devastated. Despite all my preparation, I was “green” meaning inexperienced, new, young. I was so desperate to succeed and it showed. After one week in New York, the confident, overachieving A+ student was brought down to harsh reality: I had no idea what the fuck I was doing.
Don’t get me wrong—I gained invaluable knowledge from my time as an acting student and gathered many of the tools and techniques I use every day. But I have learned more in the past 16 months about myself as an artist and a human being than I did in all of my years in school.
I moved to New York exactly one year and four months ago and I still don’t really know what I’m doing. I’m figuring it out along the way. Which brings me, Kelton, to the awesome rad thing I do every day that scares the shit out of me: get up and try again.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is this: there is no magic formula, there is only getting up every day and doing it again.
For example, auditioning. I did some math for y’all. I’ve been on 180 auditions in 16 months and gotten six jobs. That’s a 3.3% success rate. This is not complaining, this is reality; I’m happy with those numbers. Putting a percentage to it is a little silly since it changes so often and will change throughout my career, but I’m doing it to give you an example of what it’s like starting out. I spend hours preparing for an audition only to face rejection 96.7% of the time. And “green” is one of the more tame rejections I’ve heard.
I face constant rejection but I keep going out, putting myself out there. Why?
Because to me, the only real failure is giving up on what makes me most happy just because it’s hard. Because I don’t want to give up until I’m laying face down in what appears to be human shit for the 10,000,974,835th time and not even then! Because my heart refuses to be satisfied with anything else. Because auditioning is the only time I’ll get to act that day, the only time I’ll ever get to dive into that character. I do it because I love it. And sometimes, I get the job.
But it won’t ever get easier. Sure, maybe one day I’ll only get offers on projects and never have to audition. But the rejection will still be there, lurking in negative reviews, cancelled shows and nasty tabloids. Nothing is guaranteed, except that the most rewarding path is usually the one riddled with burrs and boulders and boogeymen.
And it takes bravery to stay on that path. Sticking with it even when the money runs so low my legs go numb after paying rent, the audition opportunities dry up, and the smell of hot garbage and human urine in the gutter makes me gag for the millionth time. For a feverish moment, I want to run to a remote cabin in the Catskills, sell pottery at the local Farmers’ Market and look back fondly on the years I spent as an actress, bragging, “I was even on TV a few times!” and maybe one day that will be my fate, but right now I’m going to keep working, learning to live and love and grow even when the soil is poisoned.
There is no magic formula, there is only getting up every day and doing it again.
Patience is bitter but it bears sweet fruit. —Aristotle/Canadian Proverb/Turkish Proverb(the internet is confusing).
Thank you, K-Pax! You’re rad, and I can’t wait to see what you do next!
To read more of Katie’s stuff, check out her Tumblr dontmindifido.
12:46 pm • 8 October 2014 • 39 notes
My first Bold Move for October was a solo road trip up the coast in a rented car, staying at my first AirBnB and riding in my first 104-mile Gran Fondo.
Gran Fondos are not technically races, but you’re timed? There’s a finish line? And there are places? So the only thing that makes it not a race is saying so.
But let’s say it was a race, and that I placed 19th out of 122 women, this being only the second time I’ve ever ridden 100+ miles.
It felt rad.
I think one of the most important lessons I can impart when it comes to cycling is that this didn’t exist for me when I was 25. It is my favorite thing on the planet, and I never even knew about it ‘til I was 26. And now it has redirected my whole life. Which means that “thing” could show up in your life at any time. You’ve just gotta be open to it.
A lot of the bold moves I’m trying to make are simmering pots, and they’re going to take time and thoughtful execution. So instead of posting what I’m doing throughout the month, I’m going to be posting some of the cool things people I know are doing. Not every post can be about bikes, much to my dismay.
Looking forward to hearing how the month is going for y’all!
1:11 pm • 6 October 2014 • 90 notes
isthatmycow said: You mentioned that your book is coming out this month (yay!) and I was wondering if it is available for pre-order yet? Or will you be letting us know when you have more information? I'm so excited for it!
Not yet! But I will post as soon as I have more info!
Losing my mind finishing the edits. BUT IT’S OUT THIS MONTH.
5:12 pm • 1 October 2014 • 21 notes
Bold Moves October ‘14
Well, shit. It’s October. Bold Moves October to be more specific.
Bold moves, as a saying, is part of the cultural lexicon now. It’s even in Urban Dictionary, though the definition is lacking some… uh, class? But for our purposes, bold moves means taking charge of your life. It means putting a little more than usual on the line. It means being willing to embarrass yourself to help yourself. It’s everything from telling the girl next to you on the train that her shoes are rad to quitting your job and moving to another country. It’s self-respect and admitting failure. It’s apologizing and not giving up. It’s what comes after the deep breaths and pep talks, what blossoms from a mix of courage and faith. It’s going against the grain and finding your own. But more importantly is what it’s not - it is not about the rewards. It is not about whether you land the role or if he says yes, it’s about learning to take the risks themselves.
Making a bold move and having it land on the first try is luck. Putting yourself out there over and over, tweaking and learning, listening and adjusting, that’s ambition, and that’s better. That’s what Bold Moves is meant to accomplish. It’s meant to build a thicker skin and make you a stronger person. It’s meant to show you that on your knees, rejected dejected and denied, you still have something and that’s the ability to try again.
I could tell how much I needed Bold Moves October just by my reaction to it this morning, which was eye-rolling discontent. Do I really have to do this? Can’t I just relax this month? But that was just fear talking. That was not wanting to explore what I want. That was complacency. That was settling, and that’s trite.
There are a lot of Bold Moves I made that never led to anything, dead-ends and unanswered emails. There were also Bold Moves I wanted to make that make me laugh now. I made a list once about what I wanted to accomplish in October 2012. I wanted DBN to be turned into a book. It is, and it comes out this month. I wanted to be able to ride 50 miles on my bike. I raced 48 miles this past Sunday, and I won. But these things started with riding four miles, with posts about nothing and rough draft after really rough draft. It started with being completely unprepared and untalented and taking risk after risk. I failed repeatedly. I embarrassed myself a lot. Just read the first year of this blog: I made a fool of myself. But I’m a credulous fool, and I keep believing that something great will come if I just keep trying to do what I love.
Bold Moves is a game of truth or dare.
Truth: what do you really want?
Dare: what can you do to get it?
Your first task (my first task) is figuring out the answer to the first question. It’s time to make a new list.
Let people see what you can accomplish this month. Do it with a friend. Do it with a coworker. Do it alone. But do something, if only because you can and that’s reason enough to try. Clean up your resume, chop off your hair, sell your clothes, delete Facebook, buy the ticket, send the flowers, take the guitar lesson, sign up for the open mic, make the sky-diving reservation, find a therapist, write your novella, tell him you love him, tell her you’ve had enough, tell them you’re capable, tell them all what you really just needed to tell yourself: that you can do it and you’re finally going to prove it.
Tag your posts #boldmovesoctober and if you’d like to submit a story, please do so here: http://boldmovesoctober.tumblr.com/submit
Life’s weird. Roll around in it this month.
1:01 pm • 1 October 2014 • 168 notes
Anonymous said: Happy Bold Moves October! :)
Oh my good God, it’s here.
Kick-off post to come this evening.
10:45 am • 1 October 2014 • 33 notes
Anonymous said: I just wanted you to know that you're an absolute inspiration. You genuinely made me feel better about myself just when I needed it.
Now, to write more.
6:30 pm • 25 September 2014 • 12 notes
Fall haircut. Lop it all off. Keeps you light on your feet.
1:53 pm • 24 September 2014 • 56 notes
"I can get a little drunk, I get into all the dont’s, but on good days I am charming as fuck."
2:50 pm • 22 September 2014 • 36 notes
A thing to revel in: indecision! Every once in awhile, you don’t have to make the decision immediately. You can throw your hands up in the air and say, “I don’t know what I want! I don’t know!” and let that be that for a few days. No theorizing, no analyzing, just I don’t know. No idea. Shh. Shhhhhh.
A thing to sign up for: the listserve.com.
A thing to eat: look, just trust me when I tell you to mix Yoplait Greek Strawberry yogurt, Chex Cinnamon cereal, and two globs of non-organic peanut butter. It is my favorite breakfast in the world with zero food coma and endless energy.
A lipstick to try: CoverGirl Lip Perfection Lipstick in Divine. I feel like themakeupcoven suggested this at some point? Either way, it’s one of those shades that guys are like, “that looks fucking weird…I’m gonna go talk to her.”
A person to emulate: my friend Renukah who walked up to the hottest guy I’ve ever seen and was like, “has anyone ever told you that you’re very attractive?” as if no one had ever told him that with Channing Tatum’s body, GQ style, and a better version of Dermot Mulroney’s face that he might be attractive. God bless her, because that line slaughtered. (Or it would have if I hadn’t immediately started laughing.) May everyone be as sincere and kind and genuine as that woman.
A book to read: What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman. It is likely that if you like this blog, you will like that book.
A thing to do: on your way from place to place this weekend, don’t look at your phone. Just try for the whole weekend. In the cab, in the subway, on the walk, in the car, from that bar to the other, don’t look at your phone. Just look around and space out. Not for any particular reason other than the fact that you probably immediately thought, “no,” and that’s kind of reason enough.
Have an excellent weekend, friends!
3:48 pm • 12 September 2014 • 61 notes