How She Does It: Actor & Writer: RG

About RG

RG is a New York-based actor and writer. Outspoken and grossly committed to exploring the brutal truths of her life. She’s a LAMBDA Literary Playwright Fellow, Sundance Episodic Lab Finalist and in 2020, a first-year student at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

RG’s running a GoFundMe Campaign to help with her first year at The Academy.

Deb Bailey: Welcome to the Secrets of Success blog, RG. Please share how you got started in your creative work.

RG: Happy to be here, Deb. I actually started off as a mime when I was 12 or 13 years old. My parents and I attended a church called Gideon Christian Fellowship. It was a special Sunday. Their drama team performed to a song called No Weapon. Three men in the valley of death are rescued by an angel of God. Suddenly, they’re empowered to overcome the valley. It was a silent lyrical drama. I got so caught up, I asked, how do I audition for the team. The director said come to a rehearsal and see what we’re about. I did and stayed on for five years.

Deb: Are there any “lessons learned” that you’d like to share?

RG: Yes! Acknowledge your accomplishments. I think as women, we tend to downplay our work. False humility gets you nothing. There’s something beautiful about the woman who works to create the life she wants. That starts by acknowledging yourself and the work it takes to build that life.

Acting is intense professional play. For me, it’s about acknowledging the steps it’s taken to get to the next level physically or mentally. A lot of what I’ve discovered don't let other people’s mindsets affect what you do. There’s a stigma about creative careers, especially when you’re an actor. People tend to repeat the same lingo over and over again. If you’re not careful you’ll begin to believe it’s true. All professional careers leave a blueprint of success. Once you breakdown that process, you’ll take steps you’ve never taken.

For example, when I wanted to work Off-Broadway. My process was like this: only audition for Off-Broadway until you get it. It sounds so simple but I decided that if it wasn’t Off-Broadway I wouldn’t audition. A month later, I booked. That came from taking ownership of my career and facing what could have been months without being on stage.

More importantly, acknowledging that I had the power to make strong and impactful decisions about my future. I take the same steps for anything that I want. I throw myself in the ring. I force myself to face it until I understand the parts that make it work. Or, how to grow to get it. At the end of it all, I look back and I say you did that. Lastly, own your vision. I think that speaks for itself.

actress and writer RG

Deb: That's so powerful. What are some of your successes and challenges?

RG: Picking my life up after a dark year of drugs, alcohol, and suicide. I spent a lot of time avoiding the work it would take to get what I want. As an actor, there are a lot of things that are in your control. People don’t teach you that. When they hear actor, they go down the list of the odds. How hard it is. How many people don't make it. Very rarely do they say, here’s what you can do. Like when I was new to New York, no agent, wanting to get seen. I’d put sides on tape and send them to casting directors. I got auditions because of that. But I had to overcome this fear.

Everyone says don’t be desperate. And I’m thinking there’s no way this person can know what’s in my mind. I’m an actor. I’m trying to make it. I can’t walk on eggshells…I gotta live. So I said risk it. If it works one time. It’s worth it. It worked, I started getting auditions. Only once did it backfire. I told myself to let it cool off. Reintroduce when you’ve got something more than a tape. That will hold more power and make it worth it for them. I think actors give away too much power.

My journey is about owning what I have. It’s not elusive, just, it’s the long haul, long-term plan. Once I realized that I began to see movement in my professional career. More than I ever had. One of the things I’m learning, a challenge you might say, is reminding myself that there is no instant gratification. That it’s perseverance and persistence. It’s an intense level of focus, every day. I can’t ride on yesterday’s focus. I try not to look back unless it’s to gain something in the now. I can only conjure today’s focus and use that to accomplish my goals.

Also, I like to remind myself back in the day, when it was two AM and you were high and drunk. No one in your life said hey, RG, slow down. Don't do this. And I had a tribe. I had community, you know? Even at my worst, all I talked about was acting and writing. Now that I’m doing it, I’m like why is no one is there for me? That part needed to happen. I tell myself, RG, you’re on your own. Bring it. Own it. Do it. The only thing I have to lose is myself if I give up or let others tell me how to live.

Deb: You've learned how to step into your power, and claim your dream. So, what inspires you to do the work you do?

RG: My artist is my true nature. When I tap into her, into RG, it’s like being swept away by something dynamic and powerful. That’s hard to explain. Something will catch in my mind. I want this. I need to create that and a shift will happen. My artist comes out to play. She, they, want what they want. Sometimes it feels like I’m just along for the ride. My inspiration comes from my ability to experience multiple reiterations of myself over and over again. To be me. To become. It’s an addiction.

actress and writer RG

Deb: What’s your vision for your work?

RG: I’m learning what it means to produce. To breakdown ideas, to manage projects, to get people on board. It’s very new and feels somewhat uphill but I’m committed to learning. My 2020 goal is to write and produce a short film. I’m building a list of film grants. I’m working on my script. I have a strict rule about not talking about projects unless they’re fully formed. In the past, I’ve pitched concepts to producers and taken meetings before I was ready. That’s never worked for me. I’ve come to appreciate the value of solid planning. So, for now, it’s an intense season of prep.

I am an actor, writer, and producer. I started this journey less than two years ago. I’m beginning to see how to connect the dots. I throw myself into the fire and learn through the doing. With that comes embracing the fact that this is a big bite to take off but I can do it. Ultimately with this project, I’m asking myself, are you an independent filmmaker?

Deb: Sounds like you have a lot of great projects planned. What advice would you give to women entrepreneurs and creatives who are just starting out?

RG: Embrace what you don’t know and jump in. If you start to feel uncomfortable, you’re in the right place. Learning how to learn will get you far. I like to say the successful woman isn’t afraid to make mistakes. Evolve, grow, be, repeat. Sometimes it’s messy and that’s okay. Sometimes it’s beautiful, and that’s even better. The point is you are doing whatever you’ve set out to do to, consciously, to your full capacity. Only you can decide what’s your full capacity.

Get around other ambitious women. Embrace ambition. I realized a year ago who we surround ourselves with is a choice. Make it a conscious one to feed yourself professionally. Stay around people who own their brand, their dreams, their life. Not in a way of admiration. Don’t be a groupie. Be a professional equal. One of the things I like to say is if I have to look up to you, that means you’re looking down. Even your mentors are human. Walk with confidence. You’ve earned your shoes, no matter your level. It’s scary but how you make those big leaps and strides.

Deb: Thanks so much for sharing your work and your advice. Please share website and social media URLs. 

RG: I enjoyed it, Deb. Here are my links:

GoFundMe Campaign

Facebook: YupRG

Instagram: RGYup

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