There are a variety of reasons why I chose to come here.  I wanted to come to Michigan because I connected with the people here.  I had never met more dedicated and genuine teachers and students in my life.  But in addition to this, I chose Michigan because of the plethora of opportunities and resources that are available here.  You truly can do anything here if you know where to go.  This past semester, I created a student-produced web series with the help of grants, university equipment and an incredible team of students from both the School of Music, Theatre and Dance and Film, Television and Media.


Coming to school as an aspiring actor, I struggled to find stories that I could relate to.  It didn’t take me long to realize my friends had the same problem, despite our differences in identity.  Even with what nowadays feels like an over-saturation of content, there are still so many untold stories out there that are necessary to helping others feel seen, validated and represented.  I realized quickly that if there was a story I wanted to share, I’d have to write it. 


This past semester, I had the privilege of working with some of the most talented and dedicated students on campus to film a five part series called Undeclared.  In this story, we follow two naive college roommates in a narrative that satirizes the joys and absurdities of growing up and dealing with mental health, socialization, dreams and sexual spaces.  In this exploration and fictionalization of the lives of my friends and I, I sought to mine and celebrate the things that make us unique and the things that bring us together. I got to learn how to write, produce, edit, collaborate and create something of my own. It has truly been an irreplaceable experience and I’m excited to share this work and future works very soon!


A lot of people asked me why I went through the trouble of taking on such a large project. My friends would often see me hauling carts of cables and LED’s up and down State Street on filming weekends or sleeping in the Duderstadt during editing days and ask why I was doing all this work for an independent project.  But for me, I never had a doubt in my mind that every ounce of energy that I put in was worth it – because I knew I was doing something I loved and cared about.  


When you’re an actor, especially an actor of a marginalized identity, it will be so easy for people to try and put you in a box.  I have no doubt in other fields of study, students feel underestimated or boxed in similar ways simply because of the culture we live in.  But it is important, especially in the performing arts, to fight for how you want to be represented.  And if people don’t listen at first, you show them through your work, your passion and the stories you have to offer.