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Art & Life with Stephanie Drake

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Drake.

Stephanie, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
When I was seven, my Dad took me to my first Broadway show, The Phantom of the Opera. As soon as I walked into the theatre, I could feel it was something very special. And once the curtain went up, I was done for! From there, I began acting and singing in school plays and local chorales. When I was going into 8th grade, my Dad’s job moved us from Augusta, GA to Baltimore, MD, where there was a wonderful performing arts high school. I auditioned for their theatre program and was put 21st on the waiting list. I like to think this was my first test to see if I could handle the rejection and disappointment that coincides with pursuing an acting career! With only a few days until classes started, my Mom got the call that there was a spot for me. I took it with no hesitation. That school, Carver Center for Arts and Technology, is where I really learned the craft of acting. I had amazing teachers who inspired me daily and made a life in the arts seem possible.

After high school, I studied theatre at the University of Southern California. I struggled for many years post-graduation until I found myself in Brian Reise’s cold reading class. Brian taught me about the business of acting and how to book the job. He also helped me get an internship at a talent agency, which really taught me about the business! After interning for a few months, the agency took me on as a client, which led to booking my first national commercial, getting my SAG card, and a recurring role on Mad Men. I feel so fortunate to have been a part of Matthew Weiner’s iconic television show. Since then, I have worked on indie films, TV shows, and several commercials, but what I am most proud of is the content I create.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
There was a moment three years ago when I was sitting on my couch, bored out of my mind. Work was slow and I felt creatively unfulfilled. I decided right then and there that I was finally going to make something myself. I had an idea for a short film, which I then wrote in two days and shot six months later. To date, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I am so glad I did it. It’s called After Meredith and is based on my life right after working on Mad Men. From there, I have been writing all kinds of things. I’m most excited about the comedy feature film I’m working on with my writing partner, Caroline. I’m also creating fun, silly videos for my social media. My experience with After Meredith made me realize that my true purpose in life is to make people laugh and feel good through my art. I am so excited to continue doing just that!

How do you think about success, as an artist, and what do quality do you feel is most helpful?
To me, success means living a full, happy life. I’m certainly not happy all of the time, but I have created a life for myself where I get to do what I love everyday and I’m surrounded by people who believe in me. What could be better than that? I think the one quality you must have to succeed as an artist is stick-to-it-iveness. This business is so hard and comes with amazing highs and devastating lows. It’s really easy to give up. But if it’s all you’ve ever wanted and dreamed of, you keep going!!

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
After Meredith is available on Vimeo and featured on The link can be found on my Instagram: @stephaniedrake1. If you haven’t watched Mad Men, I highly recommend! I play Don Draper’s ditzy but lovable secretary, Meredith, in seasons 5,6, and 7. I am currently re-watching and it’s even better the second time around. And if you’re into horror comedies, Deep Murder, Fear, Inc, and All the Creatures Were Stirring are all available on iTunes.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Caitlin Fisher; Micah Dahlberg

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