With a Name Like Mercedes Rose
How could I grow up to be anything but an actor?
Okay, maybe a stripper…
I love everything about acting. I love telling stories and being vulnerable and being something I am not. I love the people and the travel and the craft services. And I love the attention. (Aries, remember?) I even love the hard stuff - the long hours, the hurry-up-and-wait, the struggles, the literal blood, sweat, and tears.
There are thousands of paths to ‘becoming an actor’ and it is a question we get asked regularly:
“So, how did you become an actor?” people say with that nice emphasis on actor like it's in air quotes. I am often tempted to say “I was born an actor.” I came out of the womb and said “Where is my spotlight?”.
My acting career (after the prerequisite Arsenic and Old Lace of high school drama) began after I answered an open call for extras for the TV show Nowhere Man starring Bruce Greenwood that was filming here in my hometown of Portland, Oregon. What? You don’t remember that show? It was on one whole season on the network then known as UPN.
Nowhere Man was a life changer for me, if not for Bruce Greenwood. While on set that first day someone pointed out the casting director, Nannette Troutman. Not knowing any better, I swaggered right up and introduced myself! (Note to the brand new actor: this is usually NOT a good idea and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it!) She was as charming and helpful as can be. She complimented my “great look” and promptly recommended a good on-camera acting class.
That very day I signed up for class. From that class I got a fantastic agent who sent me out on a commercial audition for Izzy’s Pizza right away. And I booked it! Not only did I think I was totally bad-ass, I thought that was it! This was so ridiculously easy. Go on audition, book it, film it, get paid, do it again! Where had acting been all my life? In hindsight, I am shocked I didn’t pack up the kids and move to LA that same week.
Then… reality set in. Big time. It was another 5 auditions before I booked another gig. Then another 8, another 12… on and on it has gone. Hills and valleys. Triumphs and heartbreak. You all know what I am talking about. Right?
I have changed agents 4 times, my headshots dozens of times, my resume hundreds. I never was an extra again (I wanted more attention!). Shocker. I have added voiceover, hosting, film, spokesperson, print and stunt work (that photo there is me getting my werewolf on for the popular webisode series Animus Cross where I did all my own stunts!) to that commercial work that started it all. All of my income is from acting. I am, in every way, a working actor. And I wouldn't have it any other way.
And now, apparently I am a blogger too. I am over-the-moon to join the Back Stage family of actor bloggers. I look forward to sharing and interacting with all of you. And hopefully, on occasion, making you laugh. Or at least chuckle.
(photo by Nick Lyon)