It's funny to think back on how all this started, and to try to share my journey, here goes...
I was painfully shy growing up, which anyone who knows me now finds hard to believe! And was extremely body conscious as I got older. I remember vividly, in 7th grade, trying to talk myself out of taking everything so personally, it was something I had to work hard to overcome, and still have my moments.
I got the message, from my friends, that I was an entertaining story teller. No matter the content I knew how to tell it with a comic flair. But, I did not pursue performing. That found me.
My best (HS) friend's Mom worked in theatre as a stage manager and after college, when I was staying with her, she asked me to join in a show they were doing. 'What?! What do you want me to do?' They simply wanted me to dress up and walk back and forth with a title card announcing each act. 'Um, okay, I guess I can do that?' But it didn't end there, the artistic director asked if I would be interested in performing in a skit. I wasn't sure what to expect, but agreed to play Nurse Applebaum in "So Proudly We Heal" ripped from The Carol Burnett Show - whom I adored! My character feigned frustration with the doctor for not being able to remember my name. To which he would exlaim, "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 pivot on my heels each night and storm off stage, giddy and wanting more. Five plays later I knew I had found my calling. I inquried where to study(?) auditioned and was accepted into The Lee Strasberg Theater Institute in New York City.
And though I was from New York I was never a fan of the cold weather. I had grown quite fond of my Florida lifestyle, so as soon as I could I put a plan together with my best (college) friend we moved out West, got an adorable cottage in LaJolla, CA 2 blocks from the beach (not too shabby a place to start) and I was soon navigating my way up to LA. Moved in with a fellow New Yorker and studied the trade papers out by the pool, submitting first thing every Thursday to roles I thought I could play. I sought out a theater compay, was soon back on stage, and my roomie brought me to the set of N.Y.P.D. Blue where and I obtained my SAG card within two weeks. He also introduced me to his manager whose company I wound up running in two short months - sending out her roster of actors, which I was now on. I would call and pitch everyyone. It was fun to get auditions for everyone, including ones for me. But it was not exciting to find out from the bank each week that her checks bounced yet again. So, with the encouragement of the other actors she repped I opened my own management company by month six and worked for (no more than 10 actors at a time) for years. I was making some great impressions on the casting industry and supporting my fellow thespians, but that figure of mine! Marilyn Monroe had nothing on me, Dolly Parton - yes. The mean girls in Jr. High on the gymnastics team use to call me Dolly Parton's sister. And so it went mostly like this, "Kylie was the best one we saw for this, a complete professional, but not physically right for the role." Ugh! I understood, but was frustrating nonetheless.
As time went on and the feeback continued (in that vain) I found other ways in. I'd won over a lot of casting directors, but thought maybe I should go higher up the ranks. So, in addition to managing talent, I took on work as a paid reader, then part-time casting assistant, and what started as a temp job - as the assistant to the head of domestic distribution at Miramax (within a day) turned into a permanent position. And I negotiated the liberty to leave for auditions whenever I needed. My boss got almost as excited about my close calls as I did. I stayed active in the theater, inviting everyone I'd ever met to every show. I was often the star on stage. But when I started airing my frustrations about not booking TV & Film work the heads of my department @ Miramax suggested introducing me to Bob and/or Harvey. Back to Marlyn Monroe - I said, "I may never make it in this industry, but it's not going to be like that." Still they sent me lists of women who had sold their souls to these guys. I told them I didn't care and wouldn't open those emails once I knew what they contained. I soon got a reputation for being a goodie-two-shoes. Ha - that was a first. I wanted to be proud when I looked in the mirror. I wished I was born into a different body. But I'm grateful now (some 20 years later) that my career didn't take off full speed ahead, because I know I could not have handled it. I needed to do some serious work on myself, so again I would not wind up like Marilyn. I am crystal clear that's where I was headed. I turned down the Weinsteins but wasn't immuned to every temptaion and sought out love in a lot of wrong places. The one thing I got right is my my career. I've had a lot of lucrative offers to stray from acting (a starting six figure agent position, to produce, direct, marketing for a studio, to expand my workshop company) but turned them all down. Much like my first paying gig as a bride - I remain faithful. I'm grateful for the accolades, the awards, encouragement, and respect I've been shown for so many of my efforts. I found my extended family in my peers and I love what I do - be it a 10 minute audition, a two hour performance on stage, weeks or months on the set of a show or film. I'm committed!
Many years later I was able to get 'work' done (pro bono) removing what I found impossible to navigate in the industry and personally. I have a normal body now and am happy in my skin. Most people just think I lost a ton of weight, but fact is I only lost 8 lbs in total - going from a size 8-10 to a size 2-4 overnight. And all the years I killed it in the gym paid off nicely as well; working as a personal trainer. I'm fit into my 50's and am often told I look a lot younger. I feel great - mind, body, and soul :D
There is so much more to my story and someday I hope to share it all... I've always been a writer and Covid got me back to it. I'm currently working on outlining my life in the industry. As strangers, espeically outside of NY & LA, often say (once I tell them what I do) "Wow, you're an actor, what's that like?" My current project, "This is What It's Like". I've also outlined another feature film taking a closer look at addictions - working title "Pick a Side".
In the meantime I hope you stay tuned...