Please introduce yourself. What do you do? Why? What do you want people to know about you?
Hello! I am an actor, model, martial artist, and cosplayer with disabilities (partial blindness and complex post-traumatic stress disorder). I started my acting career in fall 2017 after deciding not to go to medical school. I pursued a career in medicine for five years but did not feel happy or fulfilled. I always wanted to be an actor but never thought it was a real possibility.
My aunt, Darlanne Fluegel, was a famous model and actress; she inspired me from a young age but passed away in 2017. Shortly after her passing, I had a dream where she told me that life was too short and I needed to chase my dreams. This dream was a catalyst for my career.
My favorite actor, Lena Headey, was also an inspiration for me; I followed her career in film and TV for many years. After deciding to become an actor, I got involved in my local indie film community in Binghamton, NY.
After a few months of acting in small projects, I moved to a bigger market – Portland, Oregon. I took my first acting class at The Actor’s Lab in Portland and fell in love with the craft!
I was able to get many credits under my belt in Portland and Seattle, and I have recently been preparing to move to Los Angeles. My husband and I are moving this summer and could not be more excited!
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
Perseverance is my most admirable quality.
I was born and raised in poverty and experienced recurring trauma from a young age. I got my first job at sixteen years old and went off on my own to college at seventeen. Despite all of my trauma and living well below the poverty line, I was able to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and Pre-Health from Binghamton University before switching to an even more competitive career in acting.
I was diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder at thirteen years old and born completely blind in my right eye due to a rare genetic condition known as septo-optic dysplasia. In 2020, I suffered a spontaneous retinal detachment in my only good eye (my left eye). I had to undergo invasive surgery to preserve my sight.
The probability of going completely blind was high if I did not go into surgery right away. My left eye has healed from the surgery, but my visual acuity has decreased significantly.
I am now a full-time, working actor and training as a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu athlete. I also am getting a service animal very soon and undergoing EMDR therapy to heal from my trauma.
This chapter of my life is focused on healing and being the best actor I can be.
Describe THAT moment when you realized you’re doing what you were born to do.
The first time I was on set was in 2018 for a short film at my dad’s cabin in Windsor, NY. It was a hot summer day in July and very humid. The cast and crew were my friends that I met at a filmmaking group at a local community college in our area (Broome Community College). I connected with this group immediately; we are still friends today.
The film was titled, The Darkest Friendship, and I played a tough girl, henchwoman for a kingpin-like character. I was dressed in all leather and helped produce the short and choreograph the fight scene. My passion for martial arts started in elementary school, so doing two things I loved was exhilarating!
I knew that I was born to act and use my martial arts in film and TV. I sweated in my leather jacket in 90-degree weather and still had the time of my life with friends and like-minded creatives.
To this day, I know that I do not want to have a career in anything other than acting.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to go through and how did you grow through it?
The most difficult challenge has been coping with my trauma, overcoming my disabilities, and investing in my career as an actor, when I did not have the money. I increased my savings over several months to afford acting classes, headshots, casting sites, and audition equipment. I was able to get everything I needed by planning carefully and managing my money.
Anything is possible, but the desired result may not be instant, so do not give up and keep moving forward one step at a time. I am thankful for my support system for helping me overcome challenges along the way. EMDR therapy has also helped me heal from my trauma.
The Casey Eye Institute in Portland, Oregon saved my eyesight, so I would not be where I am today without the retinal department there.
Who are the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could elevate your career or business? Why these specific individuals?
The first person that I would want to meet is my favorite actor, Lena Headey. Lena is one of the most genuine and empathetic people on social media. There are times where her posts have given me the encouragement that I needed to get through the day. She has dealt with many challenges and is open about her past struggles with mental health, which makes me feel less alone.
She gives me hope that I can overcome my mental health obstacles. She is unafraid to be her raw self and has a heart of gold. I aspire to be an inspiration to people worldwide, as she has been for me. I would love to act as her co-star and to learn advice she has for an up-and-coming actor moving to Los Angeles!
The second person that I would like to meet is Keanu Reeves. I think he is a very talented actor and martial artist. I love that he does his stunts and has a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, my favorite martial art. I would love to hear about his journey in training in Jiu-Jitsu and acting full-time!
I am also very interested in doing my stunts someday. I think he could offer insight on acting, fight choreography, stunt work, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Last but not least, I would like to meet Kate Beckinsale. She is one of the funniest people on Instagram. I respect her acting and stunt work. Her career has been incredibly successful, and I admire her confidence and bravery. Women skilled at doing stuntwork and delivering outstanding performances inspire me.
I aspire to have many fight scenes on film and TV. Kate could offer wisdom on stunts and acting that would be helpful to my career.