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  • Writer's pictureKristen Brock

Loneliness of Being a Performer

Something that is not talked about enough is the loneliness that comes with being a working actor in todays industry. Now, before you jump at my throat for that statement, let me say that our industry is full of the most incredible human beings.

I have some of the most amazing friendships and I believe it is because of how strong and powerful we all are as a community.

In high school, I became close with a very tight and steady group of friends… to this day some of the realest friends I have. Same thing happened in college. While I was excited to move away from home to begin my college career, I found myself mourning for the reliability that came with 4 years of my high school friendships. Perhaps subconsciously I found myself cultivating some more of these reliable friends and relationships when I went to college.I enjoyed the consistency of seeing my group of friends every day - no matter what. Even when they were the last people I wanted to see, I still loved that friend group and how reliable they were more than anything. The thing is, once you graduate, that inevitably goes away… I can’t speak for everyone, but as a young actress trying to figure this world out, all consistency disappears. As an actress you flit from contract to contract, some of which only last for a month, meeting new people making new friends. You create relationships with people and for a short time you have consistency again. But just a short time. When the contract is over you’re lucky to be in the same STATE as most of those friends. I grew up in Florida, moved to New Jersey for college, then to New York City and now I’m living on a cruise ship where I’m literally in a different country every single day…

My cast on this cruise ship have become my new reliability- once again, an amazing group of people from all over the world that after this contract, I’ll never have in this capacity again. Our tight knit friend group will never be this tight knit again after July 2023. And that’s weird, right?

You spend every day working with this group of talented individuals.

You become a family.

You become best friends.

Then one day that cast separates and is rarely reunited in its full extent.

On top of this harsh reality, I think it’s safe to say that there is a natural level of competitiveness in the daily life of a performer. We’re physically set up to fight each other for the things we want.

We literally “audition” ourselves every day just to be apart of something that we feel passionate about.

Nothing is natural or normal about what we do, but it’s so addicting and fulfilling when we’re given the opportunity to do it that it all becomes worth it. But that middle ground can be very lonely and difficult… they always say “you’ll get 100 no’s for every yes.” And it’s true… but no one talks about how rough those 100 no’s truly are when it feels like everyone around you is hearing nothing but YES. It feels isolating. If I’ve learned anything, it’s to celebrate everyone’s success because the YES’s will come along with the same excitement and celebration you’ve spread to those around you! It’s at these moments when the loneliness a performer feels becomes groundbreaking in their future development. It’s what you choose to do with these emotions that becomes so important. I promise, no one is hearing YES every time they audition. It just doesn’t happen… and that’s okay! The problem starts when we tear ourselves down for it (which I’ve done a lot). I’ve seen too many TALENTED people remove themselves from the industry because they psyched themselves out. Or worse - they’ve let others tell them they’re not good enough to succeed. We’re all having the same experiences, why can’t we come together for the downs as much as we celebrate for the ups? By connecting with one another and discussing these hard times, we’re curing the loneliness by discovering that we are absolutely NOT alone in the way that we feel.

These skills I’ve learned through my professional life have also translated well into my personal life. I’m in the phase of my life where I’m learning the real definition of independency and what that means to me. I’ve always considered myself a very independent person, but it wasn’t until I was distant from these reliable friend circles that I truly realized how much I needed those people in my every day life to help me through the more difficult situations - which isn’t a bad thing. I’m learning that independence doesn’t necessarily mean I have to go through life alone or without the support of the people that I love. It means that I would be capable of being alone and happy with myself as a person if that day ever came - but as long as I have this support system around me of truly incredible people who make me happy every day, there’s nothing wrong in relying on that when this business feels like it’s draining me of my joy.

I love this business more than anything in the world. It brings an amount of joy that is incomparable.

So, I tell myself to focus on the positives. I am reminded every day that there are so many of them that I sometimes cannot see.

Moral of the story: Our industry is isolating, but it doesn’t have to be. Everyone will have opinions. Not everyone is going to like you, understand you or even give a fuck about what you bring to the table. The only person who needs to like and understand you is YOU! Does it sound like I’m preaching? Because more than 90% of this blog entry is just things I’ve written down to remind myself and I’m certainly not worthy of preaching about this sort of thing, for I’d easily be one of the worst disciples in this situation… but I have learned a thing or two about confidence and self-worth by rereading this time and time again and then applying it into my day to day escapades. It certainly gets better. Our industry is hard and can feel very isolating at times. Your happiness is the key to keeping you sane and in the right headspace to take on a world as challenging as the life of a performer and to be able to be vulnerable and 100% yourself every time you walk into a room… but hey. You’re doing it because it makes you happy, right…?

Be happy, babes xo


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