I was referred by my beauty teacher, Cyndi, to a woman that was designing a thirty-day feature. She wanted me to be the Hair Department Head. I told her the truth, that I had moved back to Arkansas and if I took the job I wouldn’t be able to afford to fly out, pay for a place to stay, and a rental car for the month. She was so kind and offered for me to stay at her home. What a Godsend! That whole experience was incredible. Her house was amazing, her family was wonderful, and the show shot right on Redondo Beach every day. I would get up early, head down there to miss the traffic, and start my day with a cup of coffee watching the dolphins and surfers. Such a beautiful experience.
I had an actress that would purposely sabotage hair and makeup and then a wardrobe designer that would feed into her nonsense, only to make it worse. It was an emotional rollercoaster ride, to say the least. But I learned a lot and overall the production was great. I met a lot of beautiful people too. Afterward, I flew back home breaking even financially, if not in the hole a bit. But it was all worth it!
About two weeks later, the same woman called me to Department Head another thirty-day movie. So I did the same. Thankfully, she let me stay with her for free again. All I had to do was pay for my plane ticket and car rental. This movie was a horror flick at a haunted hospital. So many crazy creepy times! I had a blast doing it and gained a lot of gore experience. Afterward, I flew back home, again breaking even financially. But like the first time, it paid off!
After another two weeks, the same woman called me to department head yet ANOTHER thirty-day movie. This time her place was not available but my makeup teacher’s house was. All I had to do was cover the plane ticket and car rental. This job was a war movie with Cuba Gooding Jr. and Ron Perlman. Not only was it another adventurous time, but it also flipped and went to Union! Meaning that I received my first twenty-two union days, which was the start of my joining professionally. I couldn’t believe it!
On the very last day, I was packing the trailer up to wrap out and I got a knock at the door telling me I had won $800. I was truly shocked. Another Godsend! I got blessed and reimbursed for all that lost money on the last three projects.
At this point when I went back home, my mom said I had to move back out to LA. I was staying too busy to keep doing what I was doing. So I found a living situation with about five people, packed myself up, and headed out there. Luckily my dad had a transportation business at the time and was able to help me move. About halfway there, I got a phone call saying my living situation fell through. Naturally, I was devastated. My dad looked at me and said,
So we headed to my great uncle’s house which is about three hours north of LA. He let me store most of my belongings until I found a place to live. I spent a few days there, said bye to my dad, and then headed to LA on a mission!
During that time, I slept in my car, couch surfed with different people I met on jobs and worked 7 days/week for about $50/day. It was definitely an unsettling time. However, I was working on student projects and meeting wonderful people that understood my hardship. They let me in with open arms and I was able to get back on my feet in about 3 – 4 months. I finally found a living situation with another girl! We shared a one-bedroom apartment for almost a year. At this point, I got introduced to a company called Larry Levinson Productions. Apparently, a lot of people received their union days working for them. I was the Department Head for several thirty-day movies with my good friend and makeup artist, Melissa. We met on the war movie and continued to work together for a while. We had such a blast while doing it! But, boy, did we work hard. Our days were about nineteen hours, with our drive, and we would carpool to help keep ourselves awake. We were making $200 / day barely paying our bills.
My year was almost up and my union days were about to expire. I was a wreck. I couldn’t believe they were about to slip away. I had about three weeks to attain eight union days. One day, my boyfriend at the time wanted to go eat lunch at one of his favorite places. When we showed up his boss was there. Once we sat down and started talking, his boss asked me how work had been. I told him my news and he said, “Well, you know what, my friend is doing a small twelve-day shoot that is flipping and going union. You could reach out and see if they need some help. It starts shooting in two weeks so they probably are already crewed up. But you never know.”
As soon as lunch was over I called his friend. Sure enough, their hairstylist had just quit and they were desperately looking for a new one. I couldn’t believe it! I set up an interview for the following day with the director and producers. They ended up hiring me!
I had never done a true period piece before. I was so nervous!! But I had to do it. So, I went home and started practicing. Two weeks later we shot the short and I got my union days!!! And again, I was beside myself that all of this magically happened. It was such a blessing and so meant to be. This was just more confirmation that I was right where I was supposed to be.
BUT WAIT!! I wasn’t in the Union so easily…… at this point I had to come up with $5500 to get in. I reached out to both of my parents and they split the cost to help me! I wouldn’t be where I am today without them and everyone that has helped me along the way. Thank you all for the amazing support, I’m forever grateful!