BIG ANNOUNCEMENT TIME!!!
I am so thrilled to announce that I have joined the cast of the groundbreaking Netflix original show Orange is the New Black!
I started filming back at the end of July 2017. I was actually in the very first scene shot for the season, on the first day. It was nerve-wracking to say the least as I’ve never had a recurring role on TV before. Being in TV/film has ALWAYS been a dream of mine. For that dream to come to fruition by being asked to join such a welcoming and diverse show remains so thrilling. OITNB strives to represent every type of person, body, and orientation. They honor all of them by showing the glorious beauty in uniqueness.
When we started, I had no way of knowing if I’d even make it to the next episode. But when we wrapped for the season on February 9th of this year, I was (I believe) one of only two new cast members who ended up filming every single episode of the season (13 out of 13!)
Most of you know me as a musical theater gal. And I always will be one. But TV was something I always felt called to do, ever since I was a kid growing up in Los Angeles. It wasn’t ok to be a big girl in Hollywood then. But times are changing—greatly in part thanks to OITNB, actually. As a plus-size musical theater gal you get used to being hidden in the back. You get used to playing roles where the sole focus of the character is talking about weight or being self-deprecating, mostly in regard to your weight. It took until about episode 7 before I realized my character never once mentioned the weight issue. In fact (and I specifically looked back at the breakdown), weight wasn’t in the character description. It’s usually listed as “heavy-set,” “overweight,” “round,” etc. I realized then that the show didn’t cast me because I was the one they wanted out of the heavy-set actresses; I was simply the actor they wanted. Period.
I still get emotional thinking about it. It was such a powerful moment. For the first time in my professional career I feel truly SEEN. To be cast because of my talent first and foremost, to be welcomed with such open arms by every single person on that cast and crew, to go to a costume fitting and not for a single second to be looked at as if you are some problem they have to disguise, but instead be told to NOT wear the shaping undergarments you’ve become used to wearing. (You know the ones I’m talking about: those horribly uncomfortable things which are made to smooth you out and prevent even the slightest jiggle of your body from occurring.) Instead, the head of the wardrobe department said to me, “Wow. Those look really uncomfortable. How ‘bout we just tailor all your clothes to make you look amazing instead?” The power of that moment has literally changed the way I live my life. It radiates in my body like energy. And I used it every single time I was in front of those cameras. To have the knowledge that you are wanted EXACTLY AS YOU ARE!??! Blows my mind to this day.
While working on this show I’ve been able to use all the yummy parts of my brain I normally only use while in between acting gigs. My photographer side, which sets up shots and contemplates lighting, my technically minded side—I have found a place where all of the pieces and parts of me can all be used at once. I’ve never felt so fulfilled by work in just this way before. And it is wonderous to me.
A friend said to me recently, “You know, you just keep defying odds!” I replied that it is the only way I know how to live my life. To believe—truly believe—it is POSSIBLE to defy odds. To work as if achieving the deepest, grandest, sparkliest dreams you’ve held within yourself are all possible is the only way I can keep fighting onward. This career choice isn’t for the faint of heart. The pendulum swings are so wide. Highs and lows. Feast and famine. And yet we keep choosing to do it, to pursue this life because it is what we artists are meant to do.
I hope that, whatever your life has called you to, you keep pursuing that dream with everything you are and everything you have. It doesn’t matter if it is being an accountant or working in an office, being a stay-at-home parent, or any combination that calls to you. Keep going towards your dreams. Put the work in. Keep moving forward. It may take more time than you would like it to, but I swear…It DOES happen. Why can’t you defy the odds?
Thanks for reading this. I know it was long. But when lifelong dreams are achieved… they demand more than 140 characters. Attention must be paid.
Log on to Netflix and stream Season 6 of Orange is the New Black. You’ll find me—C.O. Ginger—right there on your TV/computer/tablet/phone. I can’t wait to share it with you.