Thursday, February 4, 2010

Gilda, Marjorie, and James... And The gloriously unique.

"While we have the gift of life, it seems to me that the only tragedy is to allow a part of us to die -- whether it is our spirit, our creativity, or our glorious uniqueness."
-- Gilda Radner

1. Hello my cyber-lovers... I write you laaaaaate. After meeting up with friends at The Other Room on Abbot Kinney in Venice. And here I am -- Horton Hatches The Egg. "I meant what I said. And I said what I meant. An elephant's faithful one hundred percent." (shout out to Paulie!)

Lately I've been having these encouraging, life-affirming, "of course that happened" full circle moments. Like when I was thinking of the quote for tonight's blog, I found this perfect one from Gilda Radner. And her reminding us of our "glorious uniqueness" is the message of the day.

And this full circle feeling plays perfectly into my discovering Gilda's quote. Because when I was studying in NYC, Gilda was a woman, an actress, a comedian, I began to feel connected to:

1. When I worked for Joel Siegel at GMA first as an intern and later as a freelance assistant, I learned of Gilda's Club because Joel had been a dear friend of hers and he spent a lot of time and energy at the home named after her to provide counseling and support for cancer survivors. I remember walking down to their beautiful brownstone on West Houston Street, running some beloved errand for Joel. Beloved because I loved hopping into a cab -- on his ABC dime! -- and exploring the city, the sugariest parts of the city as a young girl learning about all of these chic and super cool restaurants and shops, I learned about Molton Brown and Kiehls through Joel. And Gilda.

2. The first theater I almost booked was to understudy the role of Gilda Radner Off-Broadway. I believe it was Elissa Meyers who was casting it and she was a good friend of Joel's. I came sooo close, but ultimately the director felt that my acting was so in the moment that I might be a bit of a loose wheel if cast. I ended up booking Broadway a few months later.

3. A year and a half ago, when I tested for Saturday Night Live -- Well, actually for a few years before I tested, a bunch of people told me that my humor reminded them of Gilda. And the truth is I never really saw her work -- of course more recently I started to watch her stuff because I was curious about her. But being on that SNL stage in front of the 12 producers, including Lorne Michaels -- I felt a bit of her spirit, how she must've felt up there. What those lights and that stage and those make-up rooms and green rooms do to you. You are a star when they do your make-up and hair. When their lovely cameraman Chris lends you his glasses because you've somehow lost your own Harry Potter glasses.


2. And what I feel happening more and more in this process is that I am embracing my own glorious uniqueness. My former acting coach and dear friend, Marjorie Ballentine, always said to me in class, "Kieren, you are different. There is no one else like you." (She's the pretty woman in the upper right hand corner.) Because sometimes amidst all the Latina models sashaying in and out of class, I started to think -- gosh, where do I fit in? And Marjorie would always say, "You are beautiful, but different. And it is a good thing." She always encouraged me to be an adult. She'd say I knew how to play a girl, but what about finding my power as a woman? I SO feel the reverberations of this now. I am absolutely loving my own skin. It's like I simply removed the doubt switch.

Not that I am perpetually happy and don't experience any fear. It's just that I am SO certain of my path, and because of this certainty, I pick myself up and carry on with a quick spring in my step. I used to malinger over things and get so far down, it would be that much harder to get back up. Glorious uniqueness... I am learning. And perhaps one of the biggest lessons is the simplest. What Marjorie was saying a few years ago: I am different. And this is exactly what I want to be -- no -- need to be at this moment in time.

Different fills a hole. A missing piece. To become that star the world needed, was missing desperately without having known something was off. Or maybe it's just the combination of inspiring laughter and within seconds reminding the world of the undercurrent of sadness that pulls at all of our hearts from time to time... This Life is Beautiful and Heartbreaking. And perfect in its combination of the two. I bring this with me. This is my story. This is how I fill a hole. How I shine as the brightest undiscovered star -- soooooon to be discovered star.

Call me, DIRECTOR.



You'll make my senior year... :):):)

3. And speaking of directors, through my beloved facebook, I reconnected with the director who began my career for me -- James Lapine. (His kind face is in the upper right hand photo). He cast me in The Diary of Anne Frank. And one night while perusing through my mind, thinking of the myriad of people whom I have known and loved in the past and especially NYC peeps because they are where it all began for me... I thought of James and I found his name with no pic and private profile and I messaged him. And he got back to me!!! It's been over ten years!!! I tried unsuccessfully to get back in touch with him via snail mail last summer. Nothing. I have thought of him so much and nothing. Then, one facebook message and we are re-connected. Full circle moment. The director who began it all for me. And -- THE DIRECTOR who can break everything open for me. From girl understudying to woman starring.

And the truth is, I will be creating this STARRING ROLE for myself regardless. I think Gilda would be proud.

3b. I met with Mark Roberts, the entrepreneur, inventor, movie producer again today for lunch. This time I treated him to Gjelina. WOW. That place is stupidly good. It's also on Abbot Kinney in Venice -- see what I mean about the full circle? He blew me away with his invention which shall be unveiled within the next 6 months. His dream and project is SO HUGE that my mind almost went white. Like -- how does a young man dream up something soooo blow you away huge???!!! He DREAMS BIG DREAMS. And as Madonna said yesterday, he is not afraid to say what he wants. Majorly inspiring. And the fact that I am drawing people like Mark The Fearless Inventor into my life. Good sign. Very good sign. p.s. He shared as mellowly as I would share the fact that I dig toast -- that he's already been on Good Morning America (full circle!) and The Today Show for his other companies. And he is personally funding this latest jaw dropper. Holy shiiiiite.

Happy sigh.

On this note of ephemeral evening bliss... I bid you all adieu. I heart every one of you and feel a connection to you all as I lay on my bed tucked into my afghan, Gatsby sidled up to me...

Embrace your glorious uniqueness. And take a moment to day (Zoiks it is today!) and notice the full circles in your life. They will warm you and make you feel safe. And they'll give you faith that everything is connected.

We all are.

Sleep with the angels... Then, go out into this world and be gloriously unique.

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