Today we’d like to introduce you to Marissa Mayer.
Marissa, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am an LA native, and I started dancing and singing around eight years old. I am fortunate enough to have grown up with two extremely supportive and loving parents, without whom I wouldn’t be where I am today– pursuing a life I love. Growing up, I trained at various studios around the city, and summer sessions at a few professional ballet/contemporary intensives. I went on to study dance at the L.A. County High School for the Arts. It was there that I decided I wanted to be on Broadway, and I’ve been pursuing that goal ever since.
I graduated from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA, with my BA in Musical Theatre and a Minor in Dance, and immediately moved to NYC, where I lived for a year before returning to LA. I am now a bi-coastal, professional actor/dancer/singer. I also teach dance and am in the process of relaunching my own organizing business!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There have been many ups and downs ever since I started training, but post-college had proven to be the most challenging time– specifically my first year out of school when I was living in New York. I left college with low self-esteem and little belief in myself as an actor. NYC was hard, obviously, and in so many ways, I “failed”. It was the first time that my decisions and thoughts were clouded and fueled by fear; I stopped dreaming about my future. There was a slew of reasons why I didn’t vibe with NYC, but in short, I was surviving not thriving.
After not even a year in the city, I got a lovely little welcome gift from the apartment below. Bedbugs. It was four months of a living nightmare. They were the catapult that jolted me out of my routine and forced me to realize how unhappy I was. With the help of my (then) boyfriend, I moved back to my beloved Los Angeles. That was the best decision I’ve ever made. Two years and a few months later, I’ve performed in nine shows, quit my retail job, signed with an agent, and have received eligibility to join the actor’s union. Needless to say, my heart is happy in Los Angeles, and thus my thoughts became more positive, and naturally, my life started evolving in the way I wanted it to.
The realities of this career have always been a tough pill to swallow. Like most people, I like certainty, stability, and routine; knowing that I may never get those things in my life, is hard to deal with. I could be in four Broadway shows in a row and then not get anything for a decade. That thought comes up frequently. I constantly remind myself that ‘what will be will be’. My gut has always led me in a positive direction, so I just have to trust it. The future is full of possibilities and the only constant is change.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
I am self-employed as an actor, dancer, and singer. I perform in musicals mostly, usually as the comedic, supporting broad, or in the ensemble. Fairly frequently, I also get to be the Dance Captain, which is a member of the company who is responsible for knowing everyone’s choreography, teach any new company members the choreography and to uphold the show once the creative team leaves. It’s such a fulfilling, challenging, and fun part of my job. I perform regionally, mostly in different parts of CA, and most recently, Ohio.
In between theatre contracts, I teach dance to all ages at six different studios in LA. Most recently, I have been working on my business Organize It! With Marissa, where I go into people’s homes or offices and help them de-clutter and organize any space. I did this as a teenager and am super excited to get it going again.
I think I am most proud of my ability to manage myself as a freelance artist. There is so much work that goes into the business side of performing. This year was my first as a full-time freelancer, which has been so exciting and also came with a large responsibility to keep a productive and efficient schedule for myself. I’ve learned to manage my weeks as a business, with auditions, taking class, financially and otherwise. I keep track of all of my finances daily and save every receipt for write-offs. I log everything into a spreadsheet monthly… I’m a bit anal-retentive. There’s also the marketing component of my career– I’ve spent the last year making a cohesive online presence for myself, which means investing in rental space, lighting, camera equipment, etc.
I’ve been able to keep myself on track by setting goals and spending a lot of time on my personal development. I believe in manifesting and the power of the law of attraction, so I post every goal or intention on my walls/mirrors so that I see them every day. I’m quite proud of myself for staying so consistent with this type of work; I’ve had to let go of perfectionism in order to stick with consistent goal setting and follow-through. Setting audacious goals is scary because they may not come true. I ‘fail’ about fifty percent of the time! The victory is going after something I love and that scares me.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Practically speaking, I would’ve started saving money a long time ago, haha. Intrinsically, I would’ve allowed myself to be happier, especially during the lower points in my journey. I have always been a perfectionist and I think that ‘all or nothing’ attitude got in the way of my happiness quite a lot. One of my favorite authors, Mike Dooley, wrote something that I now live by: “Enlightenment is allowing ourselves to be happy with who we already are, where we already are, and with what we already have… no matter what.” I love this mantra because it allows me to enjoy the life I currently have, while also feel fueled to pursue my dream life.
Here are some other mantras I live by or lessons from over the years:
Everyone is doing their best.
I take responsibility in any situation. I do not blame, deny make excuses, or become a victim to circumstance.
Thoughts become things.
There is no formula for getting where you want to go. All that I know to be true is to be clear about your end result, take consistent baby steps, and enjoy the process.
- Organize it! With Marissa: $30 an hour or a flat rate depending on the project.
- Website: www.marissa-mayer.com
- Phone: 6616445989
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @mayer_marissa
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/organizeitwithmarissa/
Zachary Kemper, Laura McMullin, Brooke Rose