"Kylie is not physically right for the role."
That was basically the bottom line when it came to my acting career or an attempt at one in TV & Film.
On stage no one cared as much about that. Could I deliver(?) was the focus. There I thrived...
Eventually I "changed the body that I came in, so I could feel like a damn queen."
And thank goodness for J.Lo and the other Kylie clan for making what remains popular, if only I were ethnic.
But I'm no longer jaded and have no regrets - I am exactly where I'm meant to be at exactly the right time.
This is my story, and I'm sticking to it ;D
I was painfully shy growing up, which anyone who knows me now finds hard to believe! I was extremely body conscious as I 'developed' and was often objectified. But my friends liked to listen to my stories, no matter the content, I could share most anything with a comedic flair. But I did not pursue performing - that found me.
My friend's Mom worked as a stage manager and after college, she asked me to do a show. 'What?!
They simply wanted me to walk back and forth, with a title card, announcing each act. Okay. But it didn't end there. The artistic director asked if I would be interested in performing a skit. I agreed to play Nurse Applebaum in
"So Proudly We Heal" (ironic) adapted from The Carol Burnett Show - whom I adored! My character feigned frustration when the doctor forgot my name; exclaiming, "The apples I remember; it's the name I forget." The audience erupted with laughter. It was the first time I enjoyed attention to my figure. I would storm off stage each night - giddy & wanting more. A few plays later I knew I found my calling, inquried where to study, auditioned, and was accepted into The Lee Strasberg Theater Institute in NYC.
Though I was from New York I was never a fan of the cold weather! So, I soon put together a plan with my best friend and moved out West, got an adorable cottage in LaJolla, CA (not too shabby a place to start) and was soon navigating my way up to LA.
I diligently submitted (every Thursday ;D) for roles I thought I could play, joined a few theater companies, and was soon back on stage. A friend brought me to the set of N.Y.P.D. Blue where and I obtained my SAG card within two weeks playing Kim Delaney's photo double. He also introduced me to his talent manager whose company I wound up running. I would call and pitch everyone. It was thrilling! But not fun were the bounced paychecks. So, encouraged by the entire roster of clients, I opened my own management company. I was making some great impressions in the casting world, but that figure of mine! Dolly Parton had nothing on me and so the feedback usually went something like, "Kylie was the best, a complete professional, great hair, but not physically right for this role..." Ugh! But I'm NO quitter!
As time dragged on I found other ways to make a living while maintaining my pursuit - working as a paid reader, casting assistant, and worked as the assistant to the head of domestic distribution at Miramax - where I aired my frustrations about not booking TV & Film roles to my bosses who suggested "introducing me" to Bob or Harvey. I said, 'No thank you. I may never make it in this industry, but it's not going to be like that.' I opened a workshop company and remained on stage throughout...
I'm grateful now (some 20+ years later) that my career didn't take off full speed ahead. I could not have handled it. I didn't have a strong support system (family) and needed to do some serious work on myself (mind, soul & body). I'm clear I would have wound up a hot Marilyn Monroe mess had I made it a minute sooner. I do believe "Rejection is God's Protection." I chose to turn down the Weinsteins, erotic thrillers, and some very lucrative offers to do other things: a starting six-figure salary as an agent, show runner at USA, producer, director, more casting, marketing for a studio, expand my managment and workshop company... But No. I remained faithful to acting; I believe in myself and my abilities. I was grateful for each offer; it's nice to have choices and clarity - I love what I do - be it a 10 minute audition, a 2 hour play, days, weeks, or months on stage and yes eventually TV & film sets. I'm committed (or should be ;D)!
At the exact right time I was able to get 'work' done (pro bono) removing what I found impossible to navigate professionally and personally = I have a normal body now. I'm comfortable in my skin and my thinking is right-sized. I went from sizes 8-10 to sizes 2-4, losing only 6 pounds in the process (to give you some perspective).
And all the years I killed it in the gym paid off nicely; I'm fit into my 50's, with a youthful energy, renewed purpose, healthy habits, and finally feel ready...
I also love to write! Currently working on 2 TV shows:
1. a sitcom outlining my life in the industry, "This is What It's Like"
2. an episodic about a chapter of my life with an extreme addict - taking a much closer look at addictions/escapisms, "Middle of the Bed"
And planning to revisit a couple of features, "Turning Lemonade into Lemons" and "That's the Ticket"
*All registered at WGA and Library of Congress*
I hope you stay tuned... Thanks