Yep. That's me alright. Poodle-headed, post-puberty middle-schooler. We all have "those pictures." You know? The ones from the past that literally make you laugh...out...loud! The ones that leave you wondering, "What was I thinking with that hairdo?? What about that outfit?!"
The picture on the left was taken during 6th grade and was my very first headshot. Things were done differently back in the late-eighties and very early-nineties in the entertainment industry. I was around 12 years old when I asked my parents to take me to local talent agencies and they graciously obliged. I ended up signing with a company and soon found myself learning how to strut down a catwalk, making sure I led with the correct leg getting on stage. I learned how to strike multiple quick poses for print shoots. And I'll never forget the makeup class where I found myself layering my face with green concealer and thick foundation . . . and oh, yes . . . the bright red lipstick because it needed to be dark enough to show in a black-and-white image. It was SO BRIGHT that I kept that lipstick for many, many years as a memory!
We did the headshot photo shoot, which that memorable picture on the left resulted in, but sadly I didn't stick with the business long. I dabbled in a couple small (very small...only had 13 people in my grade alone!) plays, but found I enjoyed the production side of the camera rather than the front.
I wasn't naturally extroverted, so the idea of acting soon took a backseat, but I kept finding myself drawn to the craft in less direct ways. Like taking a couple acting classes at the community college and choosing film history and critique courses to fill my elective requirements.
Fast forward a handful of years and quite a bit of experience under my belt, including living in Romania and Hungary, getting married, and having my first son. I found myself back at the same talent agency in 2004 to see if they needed another cute baby for their roster. But while I was there, I thought . . . "Why not?! I'm definitely more out-going than I was over a decade ago. Why not try this again?!"
Well, that was 13 years ago and what a ride it has been!!! My face is on a Purina Mills cat food bag and in an education magazine in Great Britain. I've hung out at O'Hare Airport overnight for a United Airlines photo shoot with a Ford model. I even got to give birth on camera for a film. Oh, the adventures this path brings.
Not until the last few years have I found that I truly love this form of art and the challenge and excitement it brings. And thankfully, with the changing times comes new and better headshots. Praise the Lord!
So these pictures above not only depict me growing older, but is a testament to growth...maturity. Some people fear the word "grow" when it relates to their age. Why not look at the next year of life as an adventure with excitement and wonder? I realize not every phase of life is full of celebration and can be overshadowed by trials, but the ultimate choice on how you allow it to affect your life is in your hands. What I didn't tell you are all the difficult times through those years above. Being ridiculed. Car accidents. Dad's prostate cancer. Losing loved ones. Husband's tumor scare. Close-death delivery experience. Back spasms and high blood pressure. 911 calls. And the list goes on. But without them . . . the good experiences and the bad, I wouldn't be as strong as I am today.
I accept the grey hairs that are trying to make their way to the front (instead of under my long locks). I accept that there will be many unforeseen difficulties ahead. I accept that growing is a part of life that I strive to embrace.
Don't just go through life, grow through life.