The New York Community
When I came to New York for my first auditions in September, I wasn’t sure what to expect, although I had a few ideas. I envisioned lines of beauties, perfect people, with hunger in their eyes, and a big attitude. I imagined a constant “sizing up” of one another, where the audition room was a place of judgment, jealousy, and severe competition. While I may have been right about some things (everyone here is as gorgeous as I expected them to be -- tall, thin, and beautiful, quite an initial knock to my once high self esteem -- I couldn’t have been more wrong about the attitudes I encountered.
There is a welcomed sense of community. This aspect that I’ve grown to love came as a shock, but not an unwelcome one. I remember stepping into the holding room for the South Pacific tour audition, and seeing the room packed with primping girls. Silly me, I had already come done-up, not realizing that mirrors are there not only for dancing, but self admiration and non-judged ‘makeuping.’ Unlike my lipstick applications on the rattling subway, fixing yourself up publicly is encouraged, and certainly not frowned upon. That was quite a relief, and it was fun to be in a room full of “girly girls,” all getting ready and gladly sharing hairspray and bobby pins.
The night before that first audition, I was stressing over my headshot, prepping them along with my resumes, painstakingly cutting them to perfection, wishing I had a paper cutter. I couldn’t believe it when I walked in to Pearl, and there in the front of the lobby I saw work studios just for that. Every time I see that familiar work station in an audition studio I feel ‘at home.’ Who knew that something as seemingly inconsequential and minute as a paper cutter and stapler would thrill me so much? It’s hard for me to articulate, but that is the symbol of the community I feel when I’m at auditions. No one wants to see you embarrassed, or feel like a novice because you don’t have the right set-up for your headshot and resume. The paper cutter is there to help you, giving you at least the comfort of knowing your materials look professional, even if that’s not how you feel!
Although we’re competing for the same jobs, everyone is supportive, and the holding room can often be a place of peace, rather than stress. I certainly would feel horrible if someone bombed their audition, and that’s the vibe I get from everyone else, too. We’re all in this together (to quote High School Musical), and understand that the pressure cooker situation is one we’ve sought, the life we enjoy. To have met sweet and caring people in a city with a clichéd reputation for being cold and jaded has made the audition process fun, far greater than I ever expected. I’m thrilled to have my sense of community even when I’m in a completely new situation and don’t really know anyone, yet.
Now, when I step nervously into a studio, unsure of what’s to come and how the audition will go, I see the paper cutter, and know I’m where I should be.