Today we’d like to introduce you to Emilia Ray.
Emilia, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I guess it all kinda started in second grade when my mom took me to the activity notice board in my elementary school. She said, “Okay, you can pick one thing.” And as she listed dance classes, chess clubs, and soccer teams, my eyes went to one paper; Drama Club. Every semester, I put on plays and sang silly songs, and fell further in love with the attention and silliness an acting class allowed. Throughout junior high and high school, I auditioned for every play and defined myself within that creative world. But I always thought that would be it. I was a theatre nerd. It would look good on my college resumes and maybe I would use some of those skills as a teacher, or nurse, or something else practical.
Then, one year for my birthday, my mom got me tickets to see RENT at the big theatre in Phoenix. After the show was over, we got in the car and I started breathlessly crying. I said out loud that I wanted to do “that.” I wanted to affect people with storytelling. I wanted to be an actor.
From there, it was college auditions, The University of Northern Colorado’s Musical Theatre Program, and finally the big move to LA. Now, I’m almost four years in and I know I’m just beginning. I’ve found an acting class that I’m obsessed with, and I am adding credits to my resume that are providing the foundation for why I’m here. I am building a career focused on longevity. I am building a life not only as an actor but as an artist.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The last four years in LA have been quite the rollercoaster. It’s really hard sometimes. Like, really hard. I’ve felt overwhelmed and afraid. I’ve felt out of my league and on the outside. But I’ve also experienced bravery and I’ve found inclusion when I’ve opened myself up to it.
The craziest thing about being an artist is that there is no right way to do it. So often, that means you always feel like you’re doing it wrong. I have wasted many days comparing my journey to someone else’s and wishing I was farther along in some capacity. The mindset shift that this is a lifelong process, rather than a short-term goal, has changed everything. I still have tough days but I no longer think in terms of time frames. Instead, I look for the next project and the next form of inspiration. I started writing and producing my own work on top of auditioning for other peoples projects. I opened up opportunities by going out for traveling theatre productions as well as fun student films and web series. I created connections and collaborated with incredibly talented people in hopes that we will all continue to rise up in the industry.
If I were to offer any advice, it would be to find your people, your tribe, your home. That’s what grounded me. That’s what made LA feel like a place to build a life and career. Beyond that, I would just say fall in love with the feeling of bravery. I consider bravery to be much different from fearlessness. See, I am always scared. I was scared to move here, I’m often scared of auditions, and sometimes I am petrified by the idea of the future. But when I overcome my fear in spite of its presence, I feel unstoppable. The whole world opens up to me and I’ve just got to keep focused on my dreams. Cheesy, I know. But possibly the most important thing ever.
Please tell us about your work.
I like to describe myself as an artist because I think it is the most all-encompassing creative descriptor. That being said, I am first and foremost, an actor. I love acting beyond words. It terrifies me and excites me and challenges me every day.
If I had to choose a specialty, I would definitely focus on stage work. For a long time, I thought maybe I would be better suited in New York or Chicago, but I have found that the theatre scene in Los Angeles can be filled with incredibly unique work. I love Shakespeare and other period pieces as I love to dig in. to the history of a show and character.
I also really love to sing and have a not so secret spot in my heart for musicals. I think they can be an amazing combination of many people’s favorite things, music, and storytelling. While I know some of them are a bit eye-roll inducing, sometimes there is nothing more powerful.
Beyond my credits as an actor, I like to think I have something to offer this industry. I believe in the importance of generosity and gratitude. I am a part of Urban Confessional’s free listening movement where I open my ears and heart to the streets of North Hollywood. I am an active supporter of the body positivity movement and hope to further influence casting of all body types. And most of all, I am an activist for empowerment and gender inclusivity. I want to tell stories about strong, dynamic women. I plan on dedicating my life to these causes, and I will use my artistic skill set and passion for the industry to contribute wherever I can.
Were there people and/or experiences you had in your childhood that you feel laid the foundation for your success?
Growing up, I think I always felt I was underestimated. Not by my parents but in some ways by the outside world. I was cute and blonde and kinda chubby before curves were a thing. And I think I always felt like there was an expectation that that was all I would ever be. I remember meeting women when I first moved to LA and thinking, “wow, they are so confident.” These women who took ownership of their power and talent and beauty. That’s what I always wanted to be. Then one day, I was having coffee with a guy I hadn’t seen in years and I said something about wanting to be confident and strong, and he just goes, “well, that’s how I see you.” It kind of blew my mind. I am constantly looking to surround myself now with people who build me up. People who inspire me and look beyond the blonde and see me for who I am working to be. All of this ties in so often to my work as an actor and my willingness to be vulnerable while simultaneously stepping into my power.
- Website: www.Emilia_ray.com
- Phone: 4802920663
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @emiliaray143
Michael Falco Photo, Whoh Lee Schneider Photography, Alix Rae Photography, Alexander Prejean Photography