Although I traveled some, I didn't live outside of Texas until 2014. In fact, the first eighteen years of my life were spent in a tiny rural town near the Gulf Coast outside of Houston: a farming and ranching community of Czech immigrant-descendants that boasted a tightly contained citizenry and an infinite wet-cotton horizon--perfect for an introspective observer to escape into books and to dream of both the imagined and real world beyond.
I developed a keen eye for behavior, an accurate ear for dialogue, a deep appreciation for the marvelous and the witty, and above all, a fertile mind for Possibility.
When I did leave home, I moved to that beacon of open-mindedness--that weird Texas city of live blues and rolling hills-- Austin, where I lived, worked, and went to school, racking up a B.A. in English, a minor in Playwriting, (nearly a second minor in Psychology), and ultimately a Law Degree, all from the University of Texas. A job at an international law firm brought me to Houston, where I practiced civil business litigation for six years and sought out creative expression with the Houston Bar Association's annual musical parody fundraiser.
As Klingon "Lursa Duras" (L) with co-stars in HBA's 2011 musical, "Night Court: Laws in Space"
On the Red Carpet at DIFF for "Joe"
Act 1: Texas
Then, suddenly, my life changed. Or, rather, I decided to change my life. Gripped with a desire to pursue what I felt to be my purpose rather than just a profession, I left the practice of law (among many other trappings) and began taking regular acting classes and workshops. I soon discovered a vibrant and eager Texas film community that welcomed me into their circles. With them I gained unmeasurable experience and insight into the indie filmmaking process, and am forever grateful for that training ground.
But as the forces of divine guidance are wont to do, they wouldn't let me rest there for long. And so, when I was cast in a principal role opposite Nicolas Cage in director David Gordon Green's "Joe" (2013), I realized the winds of change were swirling again. This time my weather vane pointed west.
Act 2: Los Angeles
I moved to Los Angeles in 2014 and found early refuge with a similar group of "Texpatriots"--actors, screenwriters, and playwrights who, following the light of their own artistic dreams, had emigrated from the Lone Star State to Hollywood. Among other respected coaches, I trained with the late Bill Howey and at the BGB Studio, as well as attended workshops with The Second City - Hollywood. And though it is difficult to compete, as a lone star, with the dazzling display of Tinseltown, I was privileged enough to work on film projects there with names such as Jimmy Hanks; with premieres at the famous Grauman's Chinese Theatre and the prestigious Paramount Studios lot; and with clients such as LinkedIn.
I stayed active on the stage as well, including starring in the West Coast premiere of "Red Velvet," a play which received an Olivier Award nomination (the highest honor in British theatre and the equivalent of a Tony), and lending my talents at acclaimed small theatres such as Sacred Fools and The Fountain Theatre.
"Blood Corral" premiere at Grauman's chinese Theatre
I also picked up the pen, long-neglected, and wrote several short screenplays and plays, started a novel (still in progress), and dashed off innumerable poems, sketches, short stories, podcast premises, even a children's book!
Act 3: New York City
Then in 2021, in the still and silent aftermath of the worst of the pandemic and my father's harrowing bout with nasopharyngeal cancer, the cryptics from beyond called once more. Call it the restlessness of the too-long cloistered, or the courage of the soul to continue seeking its highest iteration. All I knew was an unspeakable urge to meet my own eventual deathbed with no regrets.
Love at First Sight: Erin & Marvin
Thus spurred, I applied--and was accepted--to the Tom Todoroff Conservatory, where I was able to fulfill a long-held secret dream of studying acting in New York City. Moreover, our filmmaking professor tasked me with producing a scene recreation from "Sunset Boulevard," which for the first time married my executive-level thinking with my creativity, as well as (and here's some tabloid fodder for you) introduced me to my current ride-or-die, Marvin.
The producing experience has emboldened me to ply my hand at another goal--directing. I'm fresh off a successful maiden voyage, collaborating with several of my uber-talented Conservatory colleagues to produce one of my plays conceived in LA. The show, "Quick Change," made its world premiere in October 2022 at the Short+Sweet Hollywood Festival and was honored as a People's Choice Semi-Finalist and a Judges' Choice Finalist. What's more, one of my actors was nominated for a Best Acting Award--her first time on stage. Needless to say, I'm excited for what this next chapter will bring!
And now I'm officially a New Yorker, living and working my creative dream life! Most recently I was cast as an anxious and practical girlfriend in the darkly comic play, "The Mitochondria." I've also played a competitive socialite and a punk-rock bartender; a white-collar office manager and a spiritually desperate nurse; a tomboy gal-pal and a self-serving fortune teller; an optimistic ex and a nonplussed robot; a naive lesbian vampire and a jaded prostitute; and so so so much more.
I absolutely love what I do -- telling stories, creating stories, giving voice and body to stories. It is a calling, a spiritual practice of sorts; a channeling of something greater than one and sharing it with the many. I'm grateful to share it with you.
To Be Continued...
I'm a huge believer in "yes, and...", in collaborating with fellow creatives, in supporting and uplifting each other along our journeys of Life + Art. As Raquel quips in my play, Quick Change, "I have really great ideas"--a lot of them. I bet you do too! So hit me up... Let's Play!