From the moment I came to LA, my one and only goal was: making it!
Making it for me wasn’t so much about being famous as much as it was about becoming the next Jim Carrey. I grew up watching him on the sketch show, In Living Color. I would go to school and re-enact all of his characters to my classmates; “Fire Marshall Bill” was my favorite. Even though I ended up getting a degree in theatre, I knew I wanted to be on a show like that. This was my dream.
However, as time went along, and the reality of life in LA and the pursuit of all things comedy became my tunnel vision, my dream became more about me surviving.
I learned that “making it” was becoming more about surviving the ups and downs of this industry. Like keeping a steady job, finding roommates who would pay their rent on time and learning how to get around LA with an actual map (there was no Waze back then).
I told myself as long as I didn’t go back home to Florida, then I made it. There were plenty of phone calls from my mom telling me, “It’s okay, baby you can always come back home.” But even though my mom was trying to support me and let me know I didn’t have to struggle, those words alone made me feel like a failure. So I hung in there. I continued to do all the odd jobs and extra work I could find; one time I found myself delivering sandwiches from my car. Yes, I was the first Uber eats.
While working those odd jobs, I also worked on my craft. I researched where all the sketch artists studied and I landed at The Groundlings, one of the top improv and sketch comedy schools which launched many careers. I took classes whenever I could afford them and even when I couldn’t.
I thought if I learned the inner workings of the business then I would be more knowledgeable and land coveted roles. I became an intern in the kids department at Daniel Hoff Agency which represented commercial talent. I hoped it would garner me a spot on their roster. It did. Not only was I being submitted for print ads and commercials, but I got a chance to learn the ins and outs of the business. The industry was nuts but I soaked up as much information as possible. I even kept a binder (just like the talent agents did) with all the auditions I would submit myself for. I was my own manager. I’d even call casting agents and pretend to be a manager to pitch my client, myself, for a project that was only reserved for the top actresses. I was green but hungry. Literally and figuratively.
For years I felt like I was getting nowhere and once that newness of Hollywood began to wear off, the reality of real life kicked in. Hustling for my next meal became my dream.
I’ve put in years and years of sweat equity, which most people don't see. Some say I’ve made it because I’m on a hit HBO show, but you never make it in this business. You compile a body of work that you can hopefully be proud of. You learn that every level requires another set of skills to propel you forward. You learn that making it is never giving up on your dream.