Ever since I can remember, all I ever wanted to do was perform.
When I was a baby, I didn’t have my first words. I had my first song–the Barney theme song to be exact. Since then I was always singing. Soon after that my mother put me in dance classes and I developed a love for dancing. The summer before my 8th grade year, my dad enrolled me in a theatre summer camp at the spur of the moment because I was stuck at home, bored. His words: “Just try it out. See how you like it.”
Well apparently, not only did I like it, I loved it. Since the age of 13 I’ve been heavily involved in theatre. Acting is all that I could see me doing for the rest of my life so of course when I went off to college, I skeptically chose theatre as my major.
My family was supportive of my decision. In fact, my dad was the one who told me to major in theatre. I initially put pre-med as my major. I don’t know. I don’t get it either. My father literally said, “Candace, no. Put theatre as your major. You know you don’t like anything about science and math,” which is true but my only concern about becoming a theatre major was that I’d be broke after college. But I did as my father said and declared theatre my major.
My father was supportive of my dream of becoming an actor because he believed in me. He knows that when I’m determined to make something happen, I will do it. He did make it perfectly clear to have something to fall back on which is why I minored in communications.
But of course, people always have something to say about theatre majors. This is the usual conversation between a typical person and I about my major:
Person: Oh, so what’s your major?
Person: It’s either A.) “Oh, wow. That’s cool but what do you want to do with that? or B.) You’re not going to be able to get a job with that. C.) You got the good life. That’s such an easy major. or rarely D.) Wow, that’s so cool! Remember me when you’re famous.
Low-key, I hate telling people my major because I know I’m always going to get a snide, snarky remark.
FIRST OF ALL.
A.) What do I plan to do with that? Oh, I don’t know? Weave grass baskets? I WANT TO BE AN ACTOR, JERK ,AND I’M GOING TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN.
B.) I’M AWARE THAT BEING AN ACTOR IS NOT THE HIGHEST PAYING JOB. I DON’T NEED YOU HOUNDING THAT IN ME EVEN MORE BECAUSE I ALREADY KNOW THAT. People really think they’re doing something by telling me something I already know.
C.) THEATRE IS NOT AN EASY MAJOR. I don’t know where people got this impression that performing arts majors just sit around and don’t do anything but sing, act, dance, paint, and play all day. No. In fact, we probably work just as hard or even harder than a biology major. We have to write papers. We have to read and have discourses. We have to turn in assignments. I have absolutely no life as a theatre major. I’m in rehearsal from 6 pm- 12 am. Acting is not easy in itself. Acting is completely engulfing yourself in someone else’s world and telling their story and you have to tell their story well. It is absolutely draining emotionally and physically. You still think it’s easy? Ok.
D.) BELIEVE IT OR NOT, NOT ALL THEATRE MAJORS ARE TRYING TO BE FAMOUS. Some theatre majors want to be acting coaches. They want to own their own theatre companies. They want to teach. They want to do other things with theatre.
All in all, you don’t need to give theatre majors “reality checks.” We already know what the deal is. Don’t shoot our dreams down just because you don’t believe in it.
I’m determined to make my dreams happen and when I win my Oscar, owning my theatre and film company, just know that I told you so.