Soooo. what is it really like to pursue acting in LA?
OH ADMIT IT: We know you all want Reese’s charm, Blake’s wardrobe, and Meryl’s chops. Actors are totally fascinating, and the great ones bring story telling to a whole new level. Even though we don’t think we quite have what it takes to become a famous actress (except maybe Danielle—she could totally be the new Mischa Barton), this is for all of you out there who have always wondered if acting in LA is for you! C’mon, let’s see whether or not your adorable-yet-sexy wink could translate to the silver screen. Here’s what it’s like to be acting in Los Angeles.
Median Salary: $20.24/hour
Median gross rent of LA: $1,135
Number of Jobs in the US: 79,800
Union members (SAG-AFTRA): 165,000
Population of LA: 3.8 million
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, SAG Union, City-data.com
Time spent in LA: 6 years (currently resides in Austin, Texas)
Film Accomplishments: Roles in over 15 films including cult classic Machete; Producer of over 6 films
Current Career: Producer, Director, Actress, CoFounder of 1122 Productions, Manager of Dos Lunas Cheese (it’s dang good cheese).
Time spent in LA: 9 months (currently resides in Austin, Texas)
Film Accomplishments: Roles in 8 films including Michete and Michete Kills, Music Video Director (including Christmas Without You by ROXY ROCA & Feel it by KP and the Boom Boom), Co Founder of 1122 Productions.
Current Career: Actress, Photographer, Filmmaker and Founder of Alice Rabbit Photography and Crystal Bullets (Yes, of course I have one. They are divine.)
Degree: B. A. in Theatre
Time spent in LA: 2 ½ years (currently there)
Film Accomplishments: Known for roles in Missing at 17, The Bad Guys, John and Claudia, and modeling for boutique apparel.
Current Career: Actress, Model, Boot Camp Instructor, Receptionist, Nanny, Rockstar (we think so)
Blush: Let’s start with education. How did your choices prepare you, and would you recommend anything different?
Jane: My degree did prepare me, because goal was and is to become a working actor. Still working at it (along with every other person in LA) so in the mean time I earn money at my other jobs, which were also easier to get because I had a degree. I also think studying theatre is important if you want to become a serious actor. I like that I put academic work into my artistic career. I would recommend a degree in theatre to anyone who wants to chase this dream!
Elise: I didn’t get a degree but I learned a lot about the arts and the craft of acting while attending community college. I also got to start my career at 18 instead of waiting!
Electra: Although I did not get a degree, I recommend school, if you have the opportunity to go. I am now taking courses that work with my schedule to learn business and anything I didn’t before, when I was a rebellious teenager. The plus side was I got to move out to LA and begin getting myself out there at a young age. I have accomplished a lot since then.
Blush: What do/did you love about acting?
Jane: I love acting and creating characters. Unfortunately it’s a difficult career choice. Who knows if I’ll ever “make it.” If you don’t enjoy the classes and working at it constantly, then it’s probably not the right career move. The reason I know it’s right for me is because I love every second of every minute I get to act. Portraying characters is my passion.
Elise: I like that don’t have to be in cubicle working for other people. I’m creative and expansive. You get to meet a lot of very creative people and be exposed to different cultures. I love adventures and new people, so it was a great industry for me at the time.
Electra: That I get to meet so many people and create, which is my objective. And now, I get to pursue projects that inspire me! It’s so much fun.
Blush: Sounds like fun to us! What wasn’t so awesome about the profession?
Elise: Well, when I was acting, I didn’t like auditioning. Having to go to casting offices all day long to get told to lose weight and get a nose job because ‘mine was too big and distracting on camera’ was exhausting. So I stopped acting. I wanted to chase a career that empowered me, not one that brought me down.
Jane: It’s annoying that becoming an actor is such a difficult thing to do! It’s a shame that more than half of the people trying to be in this industry are in it for the fame. I majored in Theatre, which is a rarity out here, and so many new actors probably made fun of the theatre nerds in school! Acting just happens to be what I love to do, and the fame or attention is secondary.
Electra: The industry hyper-sexualizes women. I got tired of having to be the sexy girl, being Photoshopped, or playing roles that didn’t empower females. Acting is great but it’s the best when you play a role that improves society. That’s why I decided to go into production; I can create my own stories.
Blush: What’s your advice to any girl wanting to pursue this dream?
Jane: Take acting classes, put yourself on tape, and build a reel. Stay focused! Take a bootcamp class and work hard—I started out as a camper and worked my way up to leading a camp. Talk to your girlfriends or adult friends about babysitting gigs, that’s how I got mine. Be patient and grateful when you have to do jobs other than acting in order to pay your bills. In the end, it’s all about networking, dedication, and never losing sight of want you want.
Elise: When people ask what you do, say it with confidence. Ignore the negative talk; it’s people’s jobs to tear others down. You are beautiful. Don’t be afraid to chase what you really want, and remember to believe in yourself.
Electra: Honor yourself and your morals! Be sure to build a spiritual foundation before working in environments with high egos, like LA. They are contagious, and it is very easy to get caught up “in the hype.” Love yourself; know who you are, and be true.
Thank you to Electra, Elise, and Jane for participating in our Blush Blog Series! Every girl deserves the chance to chase her dream, and we hope this inspired and encouraged you to keep going. To all of you needing a boost of motivation, join us today and we’ll get you feeling your best in no time. And to all of you aspiring actresses out there, we can’t wait to see you in your first film! Blush you!
Photos from top to bottom:
20th Century Fox, Machete