When did you graduate/what was your major/where are you now?
“I graduated in May of 2012 with a degree in Interior Design and a minor in Theatre. I studied abroad my sophomore year, and I wanted to continue traveling after graduation. I got a job working for a study abroad provider which gave me the opportunity to travel domestically and abroad. Now I’m living and working in the film industry in New Orleans!”
What are you doing now?
“My answer to this question is usually, ‘A lot of things!’ Work in the film industry, especially as an actress, isn’t guaranteed, so I work a handful of other part-time jobs to support a life pursuing my dream. I made a commitment to myself to remain flexible in my day-to-day schedule so that I could do what was necessary to fully commit myself to pursuing acting.”
What led you to this point?
“I’ve always wanted to act in film and television, but I needed a lot of growth, courage, and confidence to get to a point where I was comfortable giving up comfort and financial security to chase my dream. My collegiate, study abroad, and professional work experiences all played vital roles in this growth.”
How did your experience at Southern Miss impact your next steps?
“My study abroad experience was certainly the most formative and influential time during my four years at USM (shout out to the Luckyday Study Abroad scholarship for making that possible). Studying abroad forced me out of my comfort zone, challenged the way I lived and thought about life, and helped give me the self-confidence to allow myself to pursue a career that is out of the ordinary.”
Where do you see your career heading in the short term?
“I’ve had to learn to redefine how I see success in my career. Success used to be getting praised in the work place, getting promoted, making a lot of money, having benefits, etc. Now, I look at success as fulfillment, enjoying the journey, and going on a lot of auditions every month. So for the short term, I’d like to see even more auditions, more personal investment in the community, and some involvement in live theater.”
Do you have any regrets you would like to mention?
“I would certainly go back and do some things differently, knowing what I know now. But I can’t say that there are any regrets because you learn from all experiences, especially the unpleasant ones and the mistakes!”
Who are some people that had a personal impact on you during college and why did their investments and influence matter?
“Oh goodness, so many people made personal investments in me as a student and individual that I don’t think I could remember them all. Some that are standing out to me now are Dr. Ellen Weinhauer, now the fabulous dean of the Honors College; Stephen Judd, Head of Design and Technology and Professor of Scenic Design in the Theatre Department; Jessica Lamb Jones, Luckyday alumna, study abroad advisor and interim director; and Claire Hamilton, Interior Design Program Coordinator. Each of these people had such a huge impact on me academically and personally. I spent countless hours in their offices and will be forever grateful for their unending encouragement throughout my four years at USM–and for the post-graduate love with which they all shower me! Their investments were paramount because I often ended up in their offices when things weren’t going well. Whether I was struggling with a paper, frustrated with another professor, or having a hard time adjusting, each of them always seemed to be able to give me the words to help me work through my current predicament, see the learning opportunity, and, most importantly, keep going in a positive direction.”
What words of advice would you have for current students? Fellow alums?
“Students: Get to know your professors. They care about you and your success more than you’d ever believe. Take advantage of office hours. You are paying for them, so get the best bang for your buck! And you might even make a few lifelong friends and mentors in the process. Alums: Stay in touch with these people who made a lasting impact on you. Let them know how thankful you are for them. Handwritten notes go a long way.”
Interview was compiled by Kayla Rowe, graduate assistant with the Luckyday Program.