When I Grow Up, I Want To Be…

by Yvonne Chase on March 4, 2019

When you were a child, how did you complete the statement; “When I grow up, I want to be…In my last post, I shared 25 Things You Don’t Know About Me. Here’s number 26; the one thing I wanted to be since childhood is an actor and that is why the Oscars this year was special for me. It was a night where childhood dreams came true.

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Olivia Colman
Best Actress win for her role as Queen Anne in The Favourite

My journey started in college where I minored in Theater and was cast in several productions.  As I continued on, graduating college and working in television, I made time to take acting classes at HB Studios, Weist Barron and monologue workshops with a private coach. In addition, I took vocal lessons because of my love for singing.

Then I moved to Los Angeles, CA and took even more classes and got my first agent. I was terrified of what I’d have to go through to get an agent. It’s an impossible task that requires mailing your headshot and a resume to agents with the hopes that they open the envelope and bring you in for a meeting at which time they decide if they want to represent you. Most agents don’t open the envelope and that is why it’s so hard to get one.

When I Grow Up, I Want To Be…

But God. One day while sitting in a Panera Bread in Studio City, an older woman, man and young boy that looked like their grandson sat at the table next to me. They ordered and somehow we got to talking. I thank God for the gift of gab and I thank him even more for giving me a deep interest in people so much so that I really delight in talking to strangers.

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By the time I left Panera Bread, she was my agent. Only God could have a talent agent walk in and sit next to me. She sent me on quite a few auditions and I booked a couple of commercials. When the recession hit, her small boutique agency suffered and she closed her doors. I was sad!

Fast forward to my return to New York in 2014. One day I made my way to the Drama Bookstore, the place where thespians hangout. I was sitting at a back table when a woman I got to talking. Told you I love talking to strangers. She had recently graduated from a prominent acting school in the city and she offered to pass my name along to her teacher. I interviewed, got accepted into the two-year acting program and then the bottom fell out and life unfolded in a way I didn’t expect. I had to put attendance on hold.

And then my mother died. When that happened, I made a commitment to myself to do everything I want to do while I’m alive. I’m not going to my grave with anything in me so I went back to talk to the Administrator. I told him about my fears, concerns, desires etc. He said to me, “At some point, you’re going to have to do this. If you really want to do it, you gotta jump in. You can’t keep thinking about it. You gotta do it! I’m here for you. Call me and let me know when you want me to schedule another interview”

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When my birthday came around, I gave myself the gift of stepping into it. I called the Administrator, scheduled my interview and got accepted into the program again. Here’s what I’ve learned since starting; to be a great actor, you need three things:

A wonderful voice and speech
A responsive instrument
A whole lot of temperament

Well, guess what, God gave me all of the above in spades. If you know me personally, you know I have a whole lot of temperament; too much at times. Ha! People have been telling me about my voice forever. Even my teacher stopped me one day after class to talk to me about the power of my voice. And my instrument; my body, my soul, my heart are open and responsive. God really gave me everything I need to do this work. I’m having the time of my life!

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Whether you’re working behind the scenes or on-camera, the business of TV and film is difficult. It’s unstable and there is no guarantee you will ever work. Plus you need to make a living in the meantime and still have a flexible schedule to audition which is why Geoffrey Owens, formerly of The Cosby Show worked at Trader Joe’s. You’re essentially living a freelance life which I’ve been living since I graduated college. Watching the Oscars gave me hope. To see Regina King, Ruth E. Carter and Hannah Beachler win their first Oscars and Mahershela Ali win his second was inspiring.

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The best moment of the night for me was when Spike Lee won his first Oscar for Blackkklansman. That leap into the arms of Samuel L. Jackson was everything! Spike waited for this all his life and finally got it at the age of 61.

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Spike Lee
Winner, Best Adapted Screenplay
BlaKkKlansman

Being recognized for your work with awards is great, however, for me, it’s not about fame. It’s about working in a space where I can unapologetically use my God-given gifts, talents, and abilities. A space where my presence isn’t too strong, my voice isn’t too powerful and I don’t have to shrink any part of who I am to be great.

If you knew my story, you’d know I’ve been fighting to achieve this dream for a long time and that is why I was moved to tears by Lady Gaga’s acceptance speech. She said, “If you have a dream fight for it. There’s a discipline for passion. And it’s not about how many times you get rejected or you fall down or you’re beaten up. It’s about how many times you stand up and are brave and you keep on going.”

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And then there was the powerful Nike commercial featuring Serena Williams. Did you see it? Below are some of the words and the video. Watch and we’ll talk after…

If we show emotion, we’re called dramatic.
If we want to play against men, we’re nuts.
If we dream of equal opportunity, we’re called delusional.
When we stand for something, we’re unhinged.
When we’re too good there’s something wrong with us.
And if we get angry, we’re hysterical, irrational, or just being crazy.

When I Grow Up, I Want To Be…

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been called crazy, delusional, unhinged, irrational and all of the above, I’d have more money than Serena Williams. June completes my first year of study. I’m incredibly proud of myself for stepping out and finding out. The timing of it all feels right. We’ll see what God has in store as I continue to fight for my dream and walk this path of faith. Who knows, maybe one day, we’ll hear, “And the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in her first ever Feature Film role goes to, E. Yvonne Chase.” Nothing is impossible with God. Nothing!

Something to think about…

What say you? What did you want to be when you were a child? Are you doing it? Why not? Do you still want to do it? Let’s talk in the comments…

Here are 2 things I’d like you to do now:

1. Leave a comment below

2. Share this post if you like it

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