Please introduce yourself. What do you do? Why? What do you want people to know about you?
Hi! My name is Courtney Coffey, and actor and mindset coach for artists & creatives.
I’ve always known I was going to be an actor, since kindergarten. I knew it was meant for me. After graduating from film school, I moved to CA to go after my dream, but the reality of living here hit me hard. My first job here was in food service (which I didn’t love), I had no friends, no family close by, could barely pay my bills, and was quickly losing my faith and passion in an art form I had loved for decades. I never struggled with depression or anxiety before, but I couldn’t seem to land on my feet here. However, after breaking down my belief systems and finding the root of the problem, I was able to get a job as a producer at Walt Disney Studios, get an agent and manager team, book my first lead role (I even had to turn down some work!), and finally get started on what I knew was my destiny to create. After realizing the power of this work, I became a mindset coach for people like me (in addition to acting and producing) and haven’t looked back!
It’s important for creatives to understand the importance of mindset because it truly is the foundation of our careers. An unstable mindset will lead to a wobbly action plan and a fragile (if any) career.
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
I think the best quality about me is I’m super delusional. I know that sounds funny, but I truly believe that I can do anything. I hate the saying”be realistic” because who is anyone else to tell you what’s realistic for you? They are a different person living a completely different reality!
I believed I could move to LA with $600, I believed I could get a job in the industry with 0 connections, I believed I could be an actor, I believed I could start a business, and I believe that I’ll be top billed cast one day. It’s not vanity, it’s my truth because I know what I’m worth and I know what I’m capable of. And you know what? I’ve done a lot of the things I set out to do, and I plan to continue that trend. Have I “failed” before? Sure, but once I started thinking of failing as redirection, I began to notice my life changing in ways I couldn’t even imagine.
Describe THAT moment when you realized you’re doing what you were born to do.
The first time this happened (as a professional) was the first time I was on set. I was 15 and had just booked my first national campaign. It wasn’t a theatrical job, but it was acting and I was SO excited.
I had been flown to LA and everything. I’ll never forget, the morning of the shoot, it happened to be raining (that one day out the year it rains) and was fairly cold. They drove me to a sound stage in Santa Clarita and showed me around. I put everything in my trailer, got breakfast, went through hair and MU, and was taken to set.
As soon as I saw the crew, looked into the monitors, felt the heat of the lights, and smelled the very niche and unexplainable smell of a soundstage (some mixture of wood, burning something, and random food), it felt like home. It felt familiar, like I had finally caught up with myself in time. I was supposed to be here, I was meant to be here, and somehow this medium was how I was supposed to impact the world, even in the smallest ways.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to go through and how did you grow through it?
The biggest challenge I’ve ever been through was losing my identity. Not literally, but emotionally. Hang on with me for a second.
There are many ways that we, as humans, identify. For me, I mainly identified myself based on my accomplishments. I was a passionate actor, a filmmaker, a colorguard captain, a dancer, a hard-working top student, among a few other things.
However, when I first moved to California, I lost almost all of my identifiers. I was no longer doing colorguard, I was too busy trying survive to even think about making films or auditioning, I was no longer a student, and on top of all that, I had no friends, no money, and I hurt myself in a dance class the FIRST week I was here, so dancing was off of the table. I lost all parts of myself that I had previously latched onto and I fell apart. I became depressed and I didn’t want to create anything (I barely wanted to get out of bed). My perception of my humanity had dissolved. What do you do when you feel like you have lost everything, including yourself?
One day during this period while walking to work, I looked at a palm tree. It’s such a mundane thing, but that’s when I realized I had to do something. I couldn’t keep going on like this. That palm tree represented something that I had always wanted to do. I moved to California because I believed so strongly in something, and deep down, I knew I still did. That belief was the first clue that I had had that made me realize that I am more than my accomplishments, more than the labels people give me. If I want to become the person that I know I can become, I have to meet, become comfortable with, and love ALL parts of myself, not just the parts I think people will validate.
So, I started to spend time with myself. I wrote, I moved my body, I meditated, I talked to someone, I began to learn about all parts of me. Most importantly, I started to trust myself again. I trusted that I moved to CA for a reason, that I had these dreams for a reason, that I am a whole person with a life that can’t always be explained in words… and as soon as I started doing that, things began to look up. I got a job (with no connections in the industry) at the Walt Disney Studios, giving me the ability to make more money and leave a job that was draining me. My body began to heal, I found an acting class that lifted me up and gave me a community of other artists…it was pure magic.
Who are the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could elevate your career or business? Why these specific individuals?
Shonda Rhimes – She knows how to navigate this industry like no other as a black woman! I would love to just sit down and listen to her story. I also think she really understands the value of mindset for her talent and crew.
Mindy Kaling – She’s an icon, she’s a legend. Another powerful woman in Hollywood who has changed the game. AND I would die of happiness if I was on one of her shows
Elizabeth Boykewich.- She runs my dream office. Would love to get called in there.