Today we’d like to introduce you to Cait Medearis.
Cait, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My journey into Hollywood’s TV and film industry is not necessarily a traditional one. I got here by way of television news–I was a TV news reporter and host for two years before I even decided to jump into training as an actor.
I had the dream of becoming a performer my entire life, from as young as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories include acting out scenes from my favorite movies with other neighborhood kids or giving musical performances to my grandparents. However, as much as I wanted to take acting classes or join a children’s acting studio, it never really happened. I don’t know if this was because I was too shy or scared or if my parents didn’t know where to start, but that wish never came to fruition.
I did take part in some musical theatre productions during high school, and had a blast every time. We happened to have a lot of amazing talent at my high school and I was able to learn a lot just by observing those kids. Still, as fantastic as I thought making a career out of this dream would be, I stayed practical. I took to heart the “Some actors never get a big break” and “Success comes to one in a million in that industry” comments, and decided that if I were going to tell stories through this medium, I would need to go the journalistic route.
I stayed the course, and pursued a broadcast journalism degree right from the start of my college career. I was offered my first position as a morning show reporter the day after my graduation, and two months later, I was living in Central Washington and going live each morning for its NBC affiliate.
It was challenging. It was exciting. It was exhausting. I had ended up right where I planned to be from the beginning of my studies, but in all honesty, I became miserable. Although there was a rush of adrenaline every time I went live or when I got to tell a story I was particularly passionate about, I knew that this wasn’t really my dream. I wasn’t having fun. I was showing up, doing my job, and wanting much more freedom than I had.
I left that contract early, and headed back to Portland for a break. I worked at a magazine there for a few months before I got an offer to start as one of the first reporters for a new NBC affiliate station opening up in West Tennessee. It seemed like this opportunity would offer a bit more flexibility and creativity in my work, so I jumped at the chance. It was great for a while, but soon enough, I was quickly burnt out once again. It wasn’t until I was sitting in my office with my co-reporter, checking out the network TV programming while we waited to meet story interviewees, when I looked at the actors and said, “I should be doing that now.”
And I left news for good.
I started applying to acting schools and was accepted into a conservatory program outside of Chicago. Soon after, I decided to move to Chicago to continue studying and build up a resume, and things started happening quickly for me. After a year, I made it out to LA, and here I am!
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?
There have been a lot of struggles. The biggest for me was finding the courage to finally make the decision to actually START doing what I knew I was meant to do. It’s also really difficult telling your family and friends that you’re leaving a successful career in television news to pursue acting. It’s not any easy decision for many people to understand right away. Luckily, they have all become incredibly supportive of this new goal of mine.
Of course, there’s always the challenge of overcoming rejection. Anyone will tell you that you hear “no” a thousand more times than “yes” in this industry, and that can get really tough, especially when you’re putting your all into training and auditions. The key is to just keep going and to truly see yourself as a successful actor.
Please tell us about what makes your experience a unique one.
I think having a background in television news has given me a different overall perspective on working in the industry. I’ve already been able to work as a professional storyteller in one regard, so now I’m just connecting those methods to my new career path. I was also able to get a lot of on-camera experience early on because of that particular career and all the training that led up to it, which has given me more comfortability on a TV or film set now.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Travel has been huge for me. I’m fortunate enough to have parents who wanted to see the world and wanted to bring me with them. I’m an only child, so I’m sure that definitely made it easier for them to do so. I got to see so many amazing countries and cultures from a really young age, and the travel bug continued for me from then on. I think those experiences have contributed a lot to my desire to tell the stories of other people, as well.
- Instagram: instagram.com/CaitMedearis
Jordan Mirani, Chris Jon, Michael Horvat, OTV-Open Television/Rebba Amaris