My mother wrote a letter to Comic Book Boy after he threw me out into the street with nothing. God only knows if he ever read it but she said of me "(My real name) is a phoenix – she will rise from the ashes of this situation because I know she has the strength and fortitude to go forward regardless of any situation she has to face." That letter still brings me to tears when I read it, both at how much my mother loves me & at the emotional scope of what he did.
But, after some great career leaps post-marriage and feeling discouraged after the whole Harvey Weinstein situation came out (my former film company actually was supposed to have a meeting with the Weinstein brothers where chances are, I'd end up having to interact with them as the company's Production Executive/In-House Counsel and generally the person who made potential investors feel more comfortable with her presence since fly by night companies don't typically have an attorney in the partnership ranks) I got some very unexpected news that actors kill for. I got an offer of representation from a manager. Not just any manager but a manager with a track record & more industry experience than me. Someone who accepts me for being me & isn't trying to tell me to go dye my hair or no longer be a natural redhead with a natural redhead's temperament or give up my law licenses. My social media will give you exact names & all but CBU Management, Inc. deserves a shout-out here since I officially signed with them this past week.
For those not in the entertainment industry, having a manager makes a difference in doing this professionally & making a living at it vs. doing this as a hobby in your leisure time. Lots of people come to NYC and struggle for years to never have a manager at all. A manager with experience can determine the types of auditions you get to read for.
I've been here over a decade but for 7 of those years, I was chained to a marriage. There's no way in hell I'd have been able to take this representation if I were still in that marriage or if I were working in the nonexistent full time legal job that people have tried pushing me to do for years. I don't feel like I'd be able to do it if I were in a serious relationship either since then you have more complications to deal with in that realm. A few people I've met have representation but I don't think a single creative I know who's also an attorney has a manager & I'm not sure any have agencies even on a non-exclusive basis.
Getting a manager was one of those things I never expected to happen. If you follow my blog, you've read my reasons why. When you're outside the norm, it's a lot more difficult to get things the way you need them for your peace of mind, practical reality and so forth. I've spent an entire life being outside the norm by being a redhead, not being a stereotypical person of my socioeconomic class, not being a full on liberal or conservative, not being a pretty airhead or a smart ugly type (though I didn't own my looks until much later on & definitely didn't own them 100% until I started modeling when denying them at that point would have been absurd), not having a bunch of friends that looked like me, not being a stereotypical attorney, and so forth.
One goal I have made for myself is network elevation, which seems to be paying off in spades these days. I met an attorney who is doing the plan I'm trying to do (make a living at the law stuff while still getting to do the creative and production sides of things). He even lives near me & believes in me/roots for me (and is just one of many good connections I've made in the past few months). Now I get a lot of guys from the industry asking me out and wanting to consider the romantic stuff but I feel that in business, you shouldn't do that. It's too murky and awkward and I value professional connections who root for me in life who I can talk to about things while keeping sex out of the dynamic. It's a perception thing & I just don't view those connections in that way. You should keep those worlds separate to save yourself problems & hassle. Nobody can ever accuse you of molestation or sexual assault or rape if you never dipped your pen in the company ink.
I think I'm still in shock about this since it came out of left field. I went into a networking meeting with my now manager thinking we'd be discussing my legal background or maybe my producing background & the creative side would be an afterthought. Plus, I've had to do everything myself for years & not get much feedback on if I'm doing stuff right or not. People I've met in fashion actually said I was the most professional person they knew but that's not led to many real, paying modeling jobs; it's been all talk but no quantitative action as I'd get rejected or put in as a backup model.
I felt like getting to be a professional actress making a living at this was like me having a soulmate; that it was simply too out of reach to even consider for a second that it could happen to me as I wasn't going to give up my identity or my education for it & it felt like you had to be groomed as a child or in your 20s or you were out of luck as a woman. Oh, and forget about doing much if you're a natural redhead; you'll see fakes but few natural ones around & you get to hear about how ugly you are. After all, "redheaded stepchild" is hardly a term of endearment.
It's also "oh, shit I can't be as angry at my ex for what he did." The fucker actually did me a bigger favor since again, couldn't have a manager if I'd still been married. Especially at the end, he'd have fucked that up. I couldn't do it when I was a transient with no place to live & it might have been hard when I was dating Mr. Big Stuff (though I still talk to him & have fondness towards him; saying his name aloud or thinking about him makes me smile) or dealing with the nightmare housing situations. I might just end up on that billboard in Times Square or those ads plastered all over NYC yet. That whole "being famous" thing might end up happening whether I want it to or not but I don't have those kinds of ambitions since I'm not selling my soul or sleeping my way into things. If I haven't done that after a decade in NYC, why start now? I might have to actually forgive that jerk.
Getting a manager might seem like your work ends but it doesn't. Your work is only beginning since that's saying you are now a force to be reckoned with. If you get picked for the Olympic team or you make the pros in a sport, that's when you train even harder and have to be more disciplined. You don't just slack off & rest on your laurels until game day.
At least for me, this doesn't feel like I engaged in a pie eating contest where the prize is more pie. That analogy is typically used to describe making partner in a big law firm. So many lawyers in those firms HATE their jobs. I've heard lots of lawyers in court talk about how they hate their jobs. I've only been doing appearances since I don't want to be one of those lawyers who hates their job. Ever since I got that management offer, my heart & spirit have felt light. It's been this happy euphoria, this feeling that things are paying off and that things may actually go my way after all. My feeling is if I never have anything beyond a boyfriend or a FWB who sticks around, I will at least have a career where the hard work is actually worth it financially along with spiritually.
My unofficial gay bestie recently observed that you have to be an optimist if you're going to live in NYC since daily life here would wear you down completely if you were a pessimist. I thought about that & he's right. If you're going to work in entertainment, you definitely can't be pessimistic about it; if you're trying to get out of poverty, you can't be living in a poverty mentality & convinced you'll be stuck there forever or self-fulfilling prophecy will get you every time. Others have told me post-marriage I have a positive energy. I never thought of myself in that way since I was this cynic who had goth friends in high school + college and dated Vampire Boy, who had his own goth friends. My ex and I got along based on this layer of cynicism; he understood me. I was never this one girl I knew in college who seemed so happy, she was faking it & irritated me with this show I felt she put on vs. being genuinely happy. I'm still very cynical about people (especially guys) & can't see that changing in the near future.
However, I did accept the compliment especially when Coney Island Guy said I reminded him of Cindy Sanders in "Freaks & Geeks."
Perhaps I've become optimistic about life situations since when you have nothing left, you'd better have hope in the future & believe that where you are today isn't going to be where you are tomorrow since you'll never survive if you can't do that. If you went through what I did and you survived, then you kind of have to be optimistic since you know you're capable of making it & if you did it once or twice you can do it again. It might be hard & you might not be where you want right away (I'm definitely not where I want to be just yet) but if you know you overcame a crisis before, you'd be foolish to presume you couldn't do it again. I can't see things that way with my love life but I feel like nobody I'd consider romantically is on par with me mentally or emotionally; both of those things matter. Now I feel like I've got the task of career to handle right now & don't need the stress or aggravation of sex doll seekers and insecure little boys.