I dreamed a dream
Ever since I could remember, all I have ever wanted to do was theater.
My mother and father would play cassettes of Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables live and I would always sit in the back seat of their cars singing each song at the top of my lungs, pretending I was the star of the show.
It was from those cassettes that I became obsessed with wanting to be a "star."
As I got older, I realized although I loved to perform, I also loved theatrical and movie make-up. For fun I would put make-up on my friends, turning them into bodacious divas, supernatural beings or just helping them apply everyday makeup correctly. I would often put crazy makeup on friends who played concerts in the Buffalo area, per their request. They'd ask for David Bowie one week and horror movie makeup the next.
Around Halloween time, I started taking appointments for friends who wanted zombie makeup done. Buffalo always has several zombie walks, so for a few weeks up until Halloween, I would go to friends' houses, rip up their old clothes, throw some fake blood on them and turn them into some truly, disgusting ghouls.
When I started my first year of college at UB, I had the strange idea that I was meant to be a medical anthropologist. I started my freshman year in archeology courses and several different science courses as well.
It wasn't until I saw Cabaret performed at UB that year that I realize: "What the hell am I doing?" I was sitting in these classes pretending to give a damn about anthropological reasons for patriarchal societies and I completely forgot about who I was.
My sophomore year, I enrolled in strictly theater classes, not realizing the many paths within the theater world. I then decided to dip my toes back into acting after so many years and after my first audition, I was cast as Becky in Spring 2012's Fen. Although I loved performing again, I became increasingly interested in the costume design process of the show.
I showed my quirky makeup designs to Catherine Norgren, the associate chair and professor for the theater design and technology department at UB. She immediately recognized my talent in makeup and passion in art and offered me the opportunity to design for a show.
She's been my mentor ever since, along with Lynne Koscielniak and Dyan Burlingame who are also faculty in the theater design and technology department.
I quickly found out that the design and technology department at UB was full of the most talented, hard-working people I had ever met. I aspired to be at their level of skill and creativity. It's been a wonderful experience not only designing with them but gaining such great friends, too.
This week, Forgiving John Lennon, a play directed by renowned actor and professor Stephen McKinley Henderson, will feature my hair and costume design. It will be the first time my work will be showcased in a student-designed professional production.
Although I may not be the 6-year-old aspiring star I once was, I'm still working in the theater world and loving what I do.
I currently volunteer at St. Christopher's School in Amherst, teaching kids the fundamentals of acting and basic design skills. It is through this that I hope to inspire young kids to pursue their dreams.
Theater was - and has stayed - my dream, and every day I work in theatre it has been a dream come true.
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