by Angelina Impellizzeri, 2nd-year actor
I auditioned for The Juilliard School Drama Division two times. The first time I auditioned for Juilliard (in New York) I was wait-listed and subsequently not offered admission to the 2010-11 school year. So there I was, in upstate New York, at the end of my senior year at Bard College. I had spent almost the entire end of my last semester focused on getting into Juilliard. After I didn’t get in I wasn’t sure what to do next. I didn’t have a back up plan at all. So after graduation I moved back home to St. Louis, Missouri. It was summer. I had a six-week teaching gig that I treasured, but when it was over I was unemployed and my student loan debt was knocking hard at my door. I had to get a job…a couple, actually.
Retail, retail, retail. That quickly became my life. It was a dark, dark miserable hole where my weekly hours were determined by how many people I could sign up for credit cards. I wasn’t acting. I wasn’t even reading plays. I didn’t do anything related to theater for months and one day my body cried FOUL! Walking to my car one evening after some crazy coupon day at work, I stopped outside of my car door because I felt this strange tingly gut instinct come over me. My body was trying to tell me something…Oh boy. I think I need to reapply to Juilliard. But wait, can I really go through that whole process again? January 22nd to May 1st was how long it took me to get rejected the first time…I don’t know if I can muster up the strength to give it another go.
A few weeks later, I found myself at my computer staring at the “Submit” button on the online application. It was the deadline day. The application had to be submitted by midnight. Still just staring. Come on stomach, tell me what to do. Somewhere close to midnight I got up from the computer and started scream-dancing down to my mom’s room shouting, “OKAY! OKAY! I DID IT! IT SENT! IT’S IN! I’M DOING IT AGAIN! OH MY GOD I’M GONNA THROW UP! WHAT THE *BEEP* IS GOING ON! OKAY! I GOTTA FIND SOME MONOLOGUES!”
A few months later I was on a train headed for The Windy City on my way to Juilliard Audition #2. I’ll never forget walking into that Chicago audition and seeing Kathy Hood and Richard Feldman’s warm greetings and smiles welcoming me and everyone else into the waiting room. Something was different though. It was me. I had this realization that if I didn’t get into Juilliard again I COULD STILL TOTALLY BE AN ACTOR AND KEEP GOING AFTER MY DREAMS! You see, I didn’t know this about myself the first time. I had a do or die attitude. Get in or your life as an actor is over. You failed. That attitude didn’t help me, and quite frankly, it wasn’t any fun at all. The best thing that I did for myself was to take that pressure off of my shoulders. I believe that this change of mindset greatly helped my second audition and ultimately led to my admission to the school. If there is anything that anybody can take away from reading my little story I would say…
**PREPARE. BUT CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK. SMILE. IT’S ACTUALLY GOING TO BE OKAY NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS. HAVE FUN! GO INTO YOUR AUDITION KNOWING THAT TODAY IS JUST ANOTHER DAY THAT YOU GET TO DO WHAT YOU LOVE TO DO…and nothing more.**