A Year in Furs

Call it winter blues, call it writer’s block, I have been been working less in the last month after the holidays than usual.  These moments of less activity kind of bum me out, but I think I am winding down from a crazypants year of hyper-activity! I have to remind myself what I have done because whenever I am feeling “lazy”, I mull over my past projects in my mind and go, “Oh!, right, I did that.”

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That refers to my being cast as Ann Marie, Ashley Greene’s rival in the ABC pilot, Americana, using my own designs to portray a fashion designer. The pilot was sadly not picked up, but this was my first opportunity to be able to showcase my two loves, fashion and acting.

On Americana with my designs!

On Americana with my designs!

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That refers to my first theater production with my old theater company, Homebrewed, back in April-May, which I served as stage manager & actor in.

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That also refers to the completion of & performance of my first full length play, Crystal Atlas, at the end of May

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That also refers to the completion of a one-act play, Yess, Texas, which I also made 9 costumes for (my Spring 2013 Collection) and performed with my new theater company as part of Williamsburg Fashion Weekend.

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That also refers to the wood-nymph photoshoot I held with one of my best friends of said collection in the woods where I grew up.

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That would also refer to the fact that I got cast as a featured wife of a warlord in one of my favorite director’s, Darren Aronofsky’s, newest film, Noah. I got to be a part of the amazing experience of this biblical times feature complete with mud, rain, and amazing sets galore.

Me on Noah

Me on Noah

 To be continued…

Womanhood

Don’t you love having your…err…period? I just started tearing up listening to Dolly Parton’s 9-5!!?? I mean, come on! So many crazy things happen to us ladies every month, be them out of character, irrational, melodramatic, angsty, or just plain insane. We can’t help it.

hahah. Happy Sunday.

Hot Tin Roof

It’s summer, it’s time for watermelon, ice cream trucks, sweating, and good vibes… and sweating.  Today was one of the hottest days we have had here in NYC in a long while and I spent it from 5am-3pm working on my seventh day as prostitute on Boardwalk Empire in the 96 degree heat.

My Father Said I Look Exactly Like My Grandmother Here

Le Legs

We thankfully had a wonderful air-conditioned set with Al Capone, boobies, cigarettes, and loose women, but I biked home at 3pm in full makeup and hair, mini shorts, a tank top and combat boots.  I got some stares from the local Bed Stuy residents, but made it in one sweaty and slimy piece.

2 Hours of Sleep, Man!!

I actually enjoy extreme heat and sweating.  My parents used to think I was insane in high school, when I would take off to Lake Scranton to run around the lake on the hottest days.  There is something so alleviating and releasing about sweating immensely as long as there is nearby shower use afterwards. I stopped by Home Depot after awaking from a nap and almost everybody was buying an air conditioner.  One man had SIX fans in his cart.  NYC is unbearable in the summer sometimes between the constant closeness of people and the concrete everywhere. I rigged up my air conditioner to work and although it’s precarious and I dropped some books out of my window while trying to put it in, it’s cooling off my living room where I sit presently.

Adieu.

 

Fashion Divorce, Fashion Make-up & A Pilot!

February 2010: Myself and my amazingly talented and devoted intern, Bethany, killed it and made an amazing collection to show for Fashion Week.  I did my biggest fashion show to date, it got rave reviews from the crowd and some press, including the Huffington Post & The AwlProject Runway asked me to audition for it’s 8th season and asked me to bring 10 pieces, as opposed to the 5 they asked of everyone else… and then I showed them the things I had worked harder on than anything in my entire life and the things I was most proud of ever and… they bashed me. I missed the final cut of contestants by one. Tim Gunn told me they’d call me that night to tell me if I was on or not.  I left the audition and made my way to my boyfriend at the time’s office to meet for coffee. I was shaking and decided that even if they wanted me, I would not accept.  I am far too sensitive to be put through the rigor morale of Project Runway’s intensity and editing. I didn’t get on, but I did realize that I was in desperate need of a fashion break.  After six years of nonstop selling, ups and downs, Etsy, customers, trends, & 16 hour days, I had to put it to rest.  I felt empty. I felt as though I had lost why I started sewing in the first place.  I’m not going to blame it on that bad PR audition, but it definitely left me questioning what I wanted of fashion.  I did not want to get into production.  I am too much of an artist to have the business-heavy skills it takes to be a real fashion designer in the fashion industry.  I was riding the wave between being a super indie handmade clothing artist and the fashion world in Vogue and I fell off my board towards the indie.  The fashion industry has a lot of evils.  I needed to re-kindle my love all-together.  I used to obsess over style.com and the fashion shows and magazines and fabrics and I found myself disinterested, feeling like a long lost daughter, unsure of her past. I pushed it away and grabbed for steady work with employers who weren’t myself; and with appointments and places to be rather than a self-made calendar.  I threw myself into acting much more wholeheartedly and my boyfriend and I broke up. I had some health problems, I kind of had a breakdown, and then winter hit. I moved out of the magnificent studio space that I had shared with ten peers, including Etsy’s founder, Rob Kalin, for three years.  The life I had known for three years was over. I was almost officially divorcing my fashion business.

Fast forward one year. My sewing studio had been collecting some dust, and I’ve become nearly completely absorbed in acting, but a glimmer started.  I sewed here and there and still sold accessories on Etsy and then a few months ago, I got a job teaching sewing lessons a few hours a week.  I made a few new dresses and pieces for myself…

Last week, all of my sadness and confusion and hard work came back full circle… Sometimes it just isn’t the right time… There were a few pieces that I was most proud of from my fashion show for Autumn 2010 back in February 2010… those things, combined with my dedication to acting (tons of classes, workshops, auditions, seminars, in the last two years) have paid the hell off.  I landed a tiny role on a new ABC fashion drama pilot called Americana. Casting was looking for SAG actors who were also fashion designers.  When I saw the posting, I screamed.  There had to be like 2 of us in the United States.  After weeks of deliberation on their part, I got it!!!! and on Thursday, three ensembles from my 2010 show that had been in a garment bag for two years awaiting their debut and two never-before seen pieces were walked down a runway on models on a freaking tv show with me as their real-life and tv designer.  This isn’t reality tv. This is a scripted Ashley Greene-starring pilot and it was utterly surreal.  I play a rival fashion design student of Ashley’s named Ann Marie. On top of it, I got to act with Emilie de Ravin of Lost & Roswell, which was my favorite show in high school. Lastly, the director of Americana is Philip Noyce, who also directed Clear & Present Danger, Patriot Games, The Bone Collector, and one of my favorite movies of all time, The Saint, which I have seen 27 times. I won’t disclose anything else.

My models & I

Hard work pays off.  I’m preparing to work just as hard from here on out.  Thank you, universe. Now, it’s time for my agent to come along….

Fun Times

I am extremely grateful…this week has been otherworldly and wonderful and I don’t think I can thank the Gods enough.

Monday was my fifth day on the set of the new Coen Brothers movie and it was just such a pleasure. The sets, the costumes, the people, it was magical and mystical and we had a singalong with Justin Timberlake, one of the stars.

I spent most of the 14-16 hours per day laughing my head off with the new friends I met on set and managed to take a couple of photos too.

A small group shot

A Little Candid

New headshot!

Thank you, universe for an amazing week or so.  Love, Desira.

Silent Era No More


Things are looking up for ole Desira.

My dedication to acting has started to really pay off and I am getting excited!! For the last two years, I have been taking a variety of classes, workshops, improv, intensive programs, casting director meet and greets, seminars, informational meetings, auditions, & have been part of films, tv shows, commercials, print ads, a theater company, and life.  This summer I spent 2 months in Los Angeles, where I enrolled in the SAG Conservatory Intensive Summer Workshop Series, which was about 40 hours of auditions, cold readings, improv, industry Q & A’s, seminars, and classes.  I also was thankfully selected among a 100 applicants to participate in 13-one on one meetings with LA Casting Directors as part of the SAG LGBT Seminar this summer.  A week afterwards, I took part in the Deena Levy Theatre Studio Weekend Intensive, a life-changing event… In October I worked as the costume designer on the independent feature, Yaatra, shot in NYC.  I have been going at this nearly full-throttle.  The next step is getting an agent and really getting to work!

With that said, I had scheduled an audition at One on One for the end of November and then decided to reschedule it for after December 1st, to really allow myself time to work on the two contemporary monologues they requested for the audition.  I had one picked and down and was practicing it like crazy, but couldn’t find another that suited me or excited me.  One of my theater company buddies and I had talked about both setting up auditions at One on One to motivate each other, but he wound up going in several weeks before me.  When I told him that I had finally set up my audition time, he implored me to wait, to work my butt off on the monologues with critique because it was much harder to get in that he thought.  He had not gotten in, but was well-liked by the casting director and told to come in again soon.  Said friend was worried about my sake and said that they were only admitting 30% of those who auditioned and I really needed to be at the top of my game.  Two days before the event, I was wavering.  Friend had made me nervous.  The next day, I called to ask about their cancellation policy.  I didn’t get a hold of anyone, so I waited.  Then, something hit me and made me decide to say, “No, I am ready.” I decided to throw myself into the monologues, practicing like a zealot, adjusting, altering, and finessing my delivery the night prior.  I also set about really developing these characters for myself.  I created their stories, their backgrounds, where they lived, who their familes were, what kind of demeanors they had.  I wrote and wrote, making the monologues’ words on a page, my own. I didn’t sleep as well as I had hoped that night, but I woke up ready.  The day’s rain thrashed against my house and made for uninviting exteriors to venture out to.

I decided on a vintage 1960’s dress for myself to wear.  The two monologues I had selected were very different in period, environment, and character, but it’s best to wear something flattering. My busted umbrella hardly fought off the rain, but I made my way to the offices, furthering the stories of my characters on the walk, the subway, and in the waiting room.  I don’t know what brings this on, but lately, I have become very able to feel alien in my environment and disengage myself from myself and my surroundings.  I psyched myself out in the waiting room, becoming the livid woman I needed to be for the first monologue.  I wrote out countless things that would make me this way, recounting people, events, and feelings that brought on immense anger, rage, and frustration.

I got called into the audition room about a half hour late, so I had that extra half hour to prepare.  I went in, did my thing, talked briefly with the CD, who drilled me on my training, classes I have taken and are taking, and he sent me off with the promise of letting my know my acceptance within 24 hours.  I was sincerely uncertain of what he thought of my audition and I was leaning towards, no because of his somewhat neutral reaction towards me.

My theater company was holding new member auditions uptown all day, so I set out to watch and read to the  applicants, which was both a blast and an utterly baffling experience–the latter because of the insane asylum-worthy few who showed up at our door.  One woman, who had come completely unprepared with so much as a scene to read with us, refused to leave the premises for over an hour; spouting promises that she was so amazing, we needed to have her with us, despite her inability to contribute to our monthly member dues. I digress in efforts to avoid speaking distastefully.  We got some really stellar auditioners and made some careful and sometimes easy choices for who we would admit.  After a few hours, I got an email from One on One.  Afraid to open it, wanting to leave my disappointment for when I was alone, I caught sight of the word, “congratulations”. Shocked, I opened the email to see that I had been accepted!  Oh my word.

It was a wonderful magical day and after spending six of the nine  hours watching and participating in the new member auditions for 68 Cent, I am so excited to see how our company grows and morphs with the new talent we’ve added.

xoxo Happy Weekend!

Desira