by Molly Rushing
In the spring of 2015, I became so sick that I missed most of the spring audition season. For the first time in my career, I found myself without summer work, and I was shocked to find that this bout of unemployment felt like an attack on my very identity. As the spring came to an end and I slowly got better, I continued scouring audition boards, but the opportunities were now few and far between. I did, however, notice an audition for the Tracy Anderson Method (also known as TAM). They were looking for trainers, and since I've always had an interest in working in the fitness industry, I decided to go. That summer, I did not work at a theatre, but I did work my butt off for eight weeks to become a Tracy Anderson Trainer, and it turned out that job would support me in between shows for the next three years.
This job has been such a huge blessing to me. It has allowed me to do contracts out of the city and come right back to work without missing a beat. At TAM, I am given the opportunity to help strengthen others as I strengthen myself. The classes are physically demanding and the content ever changing, so I am always pushed to grow as a trainer and an athlete. But this job also offers the gift of flexibility. For the last two years, I've had the privilege of performing in the ensemble (and covering the lead) in Anastasia on Broadway, and I have continued to teach classes based on my availability and energy.
Although I am disappointed that Anastasia is closing on March 31, I feel thankful knowing that I have a job I love waiting for me on April 1. That job does not feel quite as glamorous. Instead of wearing multi-thousand-dollar costumes made head to toe for my body, I will be wearing leggings and tanks. Because our studios are heated, I will be drenched in sweat for hours each day, making makeup and hairstyling potentially pointless. However, there is still so much to look forward to. While I may not be performing for a house of thousands, I will have the chance to connect with and encourage the amazing women I train each day. I never expected to find a job outside of theatre that could be such a fulfilling way to channel my passion and energy, that adds so much value to my life and to others. When I think back to the spring of 2015, I can honestly say that I’m glad I did not book a show that season.
When an actor finds themselves without a show, it can suddenly seem like they no longer have a purpose. We actors often place much of our identity in our resumes. While I’ve come a long way, I will always be fighting that battle. But now I see that when things don’t go the way we wanted, we might actually be led to new opportunities we didn’t know we wanted. Your life is so much more than your resume. Whether you find yourself wearing a gorgeous costume, or sweaty leggings, or an unflattering catering uniform, your life is still full of value and possibility. If we embrace each season and what it has to teach us, we have a far better chance of finding fulfillment in our lives, no matter what costume we wear.