I moved abroad 10.5 years ago, but even if I was free in spirit, I was still so operated by the rules of the traditional “template” of how life, success, earning money are supposed to work and unfold. I didn’t know better! There’s this amazing feminist movement that I loved, called Miss Representation – The Representation Project, and their motto is something that I expand for everyone, for all areas of life:
You can’t be what you can’t see.
They are talking about how women are represented in media and the influence that it has in how real-life women see themselves and the possibilities they have (for life, work, self-worth).
But that’s true for everyone! If you never had a reference of someone who was successful whilst having a nomad life, you’ll struggle to “find a way”. If you never had a reference of someone who values money as something freeing and necessary, rather than “evil” or “the product of hard work for a big corporation”, you won’t even KNOW what to do to make yours with purpose.
(and look at you, you had someone who inspired you to jump on that boat, and people in that hostel who opened your ideas to new travel possibilities. You SAW it was possible, because you saw other people who were just like you doing it)
So I lived in Barcelona for 4 years, going to school and “hoping to get noticed by teachers” – this way I would be offered work… right? Then I went to London. And my only reference, all I could see around me, is that “actors must have “survival” jobs to pay the bills and remain available in case an audition appears”. So there I went, working in VERY “survival” jobs (long hours, minimum wage, zero skills needed), just in case… someone liked my headshot and invited me to an audition, and then offered me a job? I had ZERO control over this situation, just like all the other actors, handing out flyers in the snow and rain for 8 hours, spending whole days in a call centre repeating a call script over and over and over again until I had no neurons left, doing 14-hour waitressing shifts in a country club where “the veteran waiters” (ex-dance students) were celebrating that they got a deserved raise… from £6.15 to £6.45 per hour. No tips allowed, by the way. Living the dream, right?
You may or may not believe this, but things only changed when I decided to change. Despite being within the fog of a toxic relationship with a psychopath gaslighting me into feeling “entitled” for knowing I was capable of more, a tiny light within me never bought it, and I decided to leave the UK for a while to up my game where racial and national stereotypes wouldn’t be to my disadvantage, up my game, and only come back when this kind of job wasn’t the only thing that I would be offered.
I didn’t decide, like many others, to quit being an actress and get a “serious job”. I wanted ALL. I knew I could still be an actress, but not do the typical – and depressing – survival jobs for actors.
I came back to the UK less than 1.5 years later, with a nice job offer. During those 1.5 years, though, I opened a company (and then bought myself out 6 months later because my business partner was ridiculously unethical), I ran several public speech and expression for camera and off-camera workshops, and I even negotiated the production of a comedy webseries I had written.
The job in London ended up being shit, but it was ALL I needed:
– it allowed me to go to Brazil TWICE, first to finish filming the webseries, and then to attend to the festival where I was NOMINATED FOR AN AWARD (Best Comedy Ensemble – an honor as the lead actress AND the casting director, who hand-picked the whole cast).
– it allowed to pay for and attend to classes at the coaching academy where I officially qualified as a coach
– it allowed me to save enough to quit exactly one year later to backpack for a year, a massive goal a and lifelong dream.
The only thing that changed is that I WOKE UP to KNOWING it was possible.
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