About Me

Photo by Beau Cabell
I grew up in Germany, with parents who were both in the orchestra of the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden.  I spent a good deal of my childhood watching ballets and operas, and sneaking backstage to stare at the one really funny conductor who jumped around like he was standing on hot potatoes!  Or Hansel getting back into his bra after discarding the boy's clothes, or following the group of children that always had a small part in Der Rosenkavalier or La Boheme.

During intermissions, I'd thread my way through the interminable backstage corridors to find the staff canteen:  dark, wood-paneled, smelling of German beer (usually Warsteiner), Bratwurst, and pine.  Whenever there was a ballet, the dancers would sit grouped together in a heavy cloud of smoke, holding cigarettes and sparkling gloriously in their costumes and their finely drawn makeup--so unhealthy, but that's what I will always associate cigarette smoke with!

Opera nights smelled less like smoke and a lot more like beer, and the entire opera house exuded a warm, gloriously decorated air of geniality and culture.  I loved it to pieces, and I wanted to play the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute when I grew up, with my parents in the orchestra.  (This was before I found out that I have an abnormally low, sultry voice.  Don't you just hate saying goodbye to dreams?)

Theatre Macon's Romeo and Juliet, directed by Jim Crisp, Jr.
Photo by Leah Yetter
We moved to the United States in 1996.  Missing home like crazy, I found a fantastic community theatre and basically grew up there, doing both acting and working in the costume shop.  In 2004, I went to the University of Evansville, and although they wanted me as a costume designer, I felt sure I'd be able to prove to them that I belonged onstage.

Fast-forward four years:  I'd never been cast, I was being groomed to be a professional costume designer, and although I hated it, that didn't seem to matter to any of my professors.  I was putting gorgeous clothes on people who were doing what I wanted to do, while I had to sit back on my heels and take care of them. I nearly exploded with rage at the entire situation, auditioned for a few graduate schools (obviously, no one's going to accept an actor who hasn't had any training; no wonder that flopped), and returned home to my mother, to save up money for auditions and spend time working at that same community theatre that got me into acting in the first place.

University of Georgia's The Shape of Things
Directed by Lisa Cesnik Ferguson
Photo by John Kundert-Gibbs
In order to save money, I did the easy thing--I got a restaurant job waiting tables.  But I found out that I really, really liked food.  I was the one who hung out with the cooks during prep to see what went into the homemade balsamic dressing, the chocolate and carrot cakes, the chicken parmesan.  One of the owners let sliced strawberries marinate in limoncello and the aroma and flavor knocked my socks off so fast that I actually dove into the world of infused vodka and made my own limoncello...and limecello, and orangecello, and and and...

I switched to a new Thai restaurant and not only discovered Thai food but made friends with an amazing bartender who made everything except the alcohol for her original mixed drinks--creativity ahoy!  She introduced me to the powers of lemongrass, ginger, coconut, and Kaffir lime leaves--and I'm forever grateful.

University of Georgia's Eurydice, directed by Heidi Cline
Photo by John Kundert-Gibbs
My mother has always been an amazing cook, something she said she learned in graduate school when the only other option was really terrible frozen dinners--much more disgusting than anything you can buy today, according to her.  She's got a shelf of enormous binders, made of all the recipes you could possibly collect, all torn out of magazines, copied from family members, and clipped or copied from books and newspapers.  So, that year, I followed in her footsteps.  I started making food for us all the time, and I've never stopped loving it.  In between doing shows, of course.  ;)  It saved my sanity, and gave me a creative outlet.  No surprise, then, that I've been hooked ever since!

Somewhere in the spring of 2009, I came across Skinny Bitch, which catapulted me into the vegan world, and finally, after a lot of inspired reading, making my way through a really impressive stack of books, I found that the nutritional path that spoke best to me is led by Natalia Rose, whose philosophies about eating and life I completely agree with, theoretically.  Practically, I'm having a bit of a hard time with it--it's a complete lifestyle change that I want and I know I want, but I find myself getting bogged down with graduate school and with a pantry that the boyfriend fills with chips and cookies.  I got accepted to the University of Georgia at about the same time I had this realization, so life is finally moving the way I want it to.

University of Georgia's Eurydice, directed by Heidi Cline
Photo by Josh Marsh
So here I am, an actor working my way towards that MFA, a former opera child seeking out art, culture, and a paying job wherever I can, resolutely marching towards a healthy lifestyle, and firmly believing that red wine and dark chocolate are important bits of health.  Mental health, anyway.  ;)