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Meet Stephanie Barkley

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

Stephanie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Oh, where to start… I think I have worked in every department in the film industry. I know how it all works. I graduated from Indiana University with a studio arts degree so the job offers were endless as you can imagine. I bounced around Chicago painting murals, family portraits, kids bedrooms, sitting at farmer’s markets inside an 8X8 tent selling original artwork. However, my first real job in the business was when I got hired to paint and build sets at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago. From there, I started to get more into production design and art direction more regularly. I relocated from Chicago to New York where I continued to work in the art department. Believe me when I tell you there is nothing like driving a twenty-four foot box truck through Manhattan at rush hour. I was a boss, get off me! I art directed the feature film, The Normal Heart, and a number of Indies, produced music videos and commercials, life was good. However, It wasn’t until season 38 of Saturday Night Live when I realized my true passion was to perform. I needed to quit designing, as much as I loved the art department, my heart was no longer in it.

For years I had been surrounded by great performers, designing the worlds around them, watching from behind the curtains, and now my heart was telling me to step out and perform. Well technically, I closed out with Sharknado II because who could resist being a part of that hexalogy and designing the saw hand that Tara Reid wore, that was me. But after that, I decided to focus on performing. I enrolled in improv classes at Upright Citizens Brigade in New York, I started putting my own comedy out there and thats when the term “viral” started becoming a more everyday thing. I started getting hired as an actor more and more, working with really talented and funny people. I relocated once again to pursue the dream and to get out of the blistering cold winters of New York. Hello Los Angeles! This past Spring, I began writing and developing my first feature alongside Bad Weather Films, some incredibly funny fellas. We collaborated with other fellow actors/comedians I’ve worked with and I’m more than thrilled with how it is coming along, currently in post-production. I also have a number of short films and features out on the festival circuit this year so to say I’m grateful is an understatement! I have been in Los Angeles for the past seven years and I’m carving my way. If you see me, say hi.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Smooth road? If it was smooth it wouldn’t be worth it. I think at times, I am my biggest obstacle, actually most the time. The fear, the self-doubt, the over-analyzing, the fun-loving questions, we all know too well: am I doing the right thing? Am I doing enough? Does this make me happy? What is happiness? Should I get a real job and make normal money with health benefits? Why is health insurance so expensive? Do I need that? I poop regularly so I think I’m healthy. The typical human cognitive experience. But aside from my own fears and doubts, this business can be hard. Life throws punches, sometimes kicks and scratches, pulls hair. During my stint in New York, I got married to a very funny and talented creative like myself but after a few years, it didn’t work out, we grew apart and eventually got divorced, which was really hard for me and even harder for my parents, they’re Catholic and have been married for 44 years. I felt like a failure. I felt alone with all the same daunting questions bubbling to the surface, peering around the empty corners. It was hard. I learned that being alone and being lonely are two very different things. When shit hits the fan it’s best to turn the fan off, assess the situation, probably lots of shit and then start cleaning one spot at a time. The self-doubt, the fear, the inner critique, all of those things will always be there, but I find those things make it all worthwhile. I’ve learned more from my mistakes than I have my successes.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
My business is creating, I specialize in comedy, creating characters that we can all relate to and laugh with because life is funny and people should laugh. Aside from acting. I started a creative company called Two Socks. We write and produce funny content for brands and help consult on strategies to grow their social media presence. The thing I’m most proud of is being my own boss. I meet new creative people everyday. I love working with passionate people and taking an interest in their lives. We are all so unique and different, there is nothing more exciting than learning about someone else and sometimes I may take one of their idiosyncrasies and put it into my own work. We are all giving and receiving constantly. I think knowing this helps drive me and my company.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
There are so many how can I name them all? I’ll start with Chase Joliet. My husband, the old ball and chain, my business partner, the father to my soon to be child, oh yeah I’m pregnant! Shhhh, don’t tell anyone. He will most likely read through this for me and jazz it up or delete random ramblings. He is so very patient with me and always challenges me to create. Everyone I’ve worked with creatively deserves all the credit, my friends mostly, I learn from them all. Everyone chasing their dreams and working hard, standing up for what they believe in. I salute you. My sisters, who are often funnier and more talented than me, it’s easy to look good when you are surrounded by such wonderful company….and my parents, let’s be honest, they’re pretty funny too, and if they didn’t have sex, I wouldn’t be here. Thanks mom and dad.

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Image Credit:

First Photo, Photographer, Matt Misisco, Other photos, Matt Misisco, Yellow Photo, Troy Blendell, Sensei FuManchu Photo, Jason Ross Levy

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