This question causes anxiety for many. I have been asking myself this for the past couple of years. Why me? Why would anyone hire me? Why would anyone want to work with me? What is it that makes me special?
And after auditioning for more than 10 years I still had massive difficulties to answer this question truthfully.
Every time I sent an email to an agent or casting director there was the imposter’s voice whispering in my ear: Why you, Helena?
After traveling the world, studying drama at places such as the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art or the Michael Howard Studios in New York City, I found myself again in the midst of rejections, discouraged to send another email, being numbed by the voice which grew too fast to control. So I decided to look at other jobs, maybe acting just wasn’t meant to be the end game. Maybe it was acting which will get me to another place. I’m not gonna lie and say this thought didn’t hurt. But it was a reasonable choice after having to experience a selection of awful shows in which you were exposed to bullying and sexual harassment.
I was working as a tour guide at the time when my sister called me and said I should go and get some non perishable food because the supermarkets in Germany are all sold out. I just walked home from an accent workshop at the actor’s centre and was quite confused when I picked up the phone.
I call this season: The time toilet paper got rare.
This changed my two lives: Auditions were mainly via self tapes and tourists got banned from England.
My choices of jobs turned out to be the ones most effected by a pandemic - who would have known.
After theatres closed and tourists became criminals I found myself with no income, no clear timeframe of when this surreal situation might end and in a new relationship. Life gets surprisingly expensive when you’re in love - especially when one of your love languages is giving gifts…
I made the decision to listen to my instinct from 6 months ago and applied for jobs in an area not too far away from acting. Sales.
It did help to have a dad who has been working in Sales and Marketing for the past 30 years and a brother in law who is a decision maker at one of the leading tech companies in cloud computing and digital streaming (I’m not sure if I’m allowed to name it but it is the reason why you might have a show like the man in the high castle running in the background).
Three months of interviewing, saying words I never thought I would ever understand let alone use, I found myself at an amazing company selling a solution to help businesses help their employees and I was terrified. A part of me thought they see me and say: This must have been a misunderstanding, please leave this property. But they didn’t. Instead I got the most amazing encouragement from a manager who always called me out on the moments he saw me doubting myself. Moreover, he was lifting me up with pep talks on WHY THEY CHOSE ME.
The first time I have had a decision maker standing in front of me giving me a pep talk on why they chose me.
And it wasn’t because I was more qualified than the other candidates nor because I knew someone in the company. It simply was because they knew I will add value to their company.
So. Why am I telling you this?
People with different life choices don’t have different needs. Actor or not, we are all living with belief systems that shape our reality.
This Blog is not just for actors or sales people. I want to dedicate this Blog and my work to the people who feel overwhelmed by the simple question: Why Me?.
I might not know your journey but I understand your fear and I do want to help you figure out what to do with it.