By Ally Loprete
Thirteen years ago, I came to Los Angeles with a Bachelor's in Theatre and Film degree, stars in my eyes and a certainty that I was exactly what Hollywood was looking for. I had ten 2 minute monolgues, a mixture of classic, contemporary, comedic and dramatic, ready to go at any given time, and 12 new dialects perfected. I had 4 songs prepared for all of my musical theatre auditions, 16 bars each and the sheet music to hand to any accompanist, 2 sets of character shoes, and an attitude that wouldn't quit. I knew I was meant for something great.
I worked hard, took classes, auditioned for as many things as I could and got rejected and rejected and rejected. I kept going, only to get rejected some more.
I met and fell in love with other artists, some struggling like me, others on their way to the top. I booked some work on a soap opera, a pilot that was made but never seen, did some theatre, some student films, and a showcase or two.
I temped during the day, rehearsed for plays at night, hung out with the cast after rehearsals and crawled into bed by 1am each night. I was hired and fired from more day jobs than I could count, sent out headshots and postcards every week, and searched for inexpensive ways to see theatre on the weekends.
Looking back, those times were...romantic. I loved and hated that time. There was so much uncertainty. I didn't work as much as many of my friends did, and I remember thinking- well, now, I can't be THAT BAD.
Now that I am a stay-at-home mom, concerned about wellness checks, potty training and creative ways to cook vegetables, the life of an actor that I vaguely remember seems to have belonged to someone else. Somewhere along the way I lost the desire to perform and found a passion for giving as much of myself as I can to my children.
I did my first radio broadcast last week, This Little Parent Stayed Home, but afterwards I sat there and critiqued my own "work" the way I had done after one of my shows, or one of my auditions. Did I speak in my lower register, and use my full range? Did I push too hard or fail to miss my beats? Did my show have a beginning, middle and end, with a dramatic arc 2/3 in?
Was I funny? Interesting? Did I leave my audience wanting more?
Then the realization came that I am no longer a performer, or an actor. That life was left far behind, and thank goodness. The performance that I gave on Friday was no act. It was the realist thing I've ever done, and no theatre critique will be able to tear it apart. The truth is, I am glad that I had the chance to experience the life of a struggling actor, but I am even more grateful that it led me down a new path.
I am no longer on a mission to entertain. I am on a mission to inspire.
If just one mom or dad listening to my show felt like a good parent in that hour, or decided to go for that second child, I did my job. If one person was inspired to use the OMM directory to search for a product or service and give their hard earned dollars to a family, then I succeeded in what I set out to do.
When I think about that young girl 13 years ago who believed her special purpose in life was to be a television star on a situation comedy, and what that little girl didn't know, I can't help but smile. That young and naive girl never would have aspired for where she would ultimately land. But she also had no way of knowing the amount of happiness and joy that would fill her life, and the passion that she would embody to create a better world for families everywhere, ten times greater than the passion to see her name on her own dressing room door.
I am grateful for this new path, and the unexpected turns up ahead in my journey.
Ally Loprete is a stay-at-home mother of 2 boys, a former television, theatre and film actress, singer, performer, storyteller, and teacher. An advocate of parents, Ally founded OurMilkMoney.com, an online business directory of self-employed parents and an organization dedicated to helping parents find financial opportunities and support. She is also the host of This Little Parent Stayed Home weekly radio show available on Toginet.com, and the playwright & performer for her one-woman show about the journey of dealing with unexpected drama in life, Chasing Ally.
Ally’s passion to help others transitioned from full time working parent to successful entrepreneur has grown from her own experiences. She is determined to help other’s deal with the sometimes overwhelming prospect of starting a new business while still running a household, and is resolute about creating a haven in which we can continue to thrive and support each other in our personal journeys. Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Ally currently resides with her husband and her two little boys, Braden and Henry, in the beautiful suburbs of Stevenson Ranch, California, just north of Los Angeles.