Today we’d like to introduce you to Racheal Yeomans.
Racheal, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I am a musical theatre performer in Los Angeles. I moved here from Ohio seven years ago to go to AMDA college of the performing arts. I started dancing when I was just over two years old and started performing in musicals around the time I was seven. Dance eventually took up too much time for me to continue theatre recreationally. In my sophomore year of high school, I sustained a hip injury that forced me to leave dancing, I took three years of physical therapy and have countless chiropractic appointments – through all this treatment, I have been able to dance in professional productions with no pain or fear. The injury was a bit of a blessing in disguise, when I had to leave dancing, I filled my time with Show Choir and rejoined the world of Musical Theatre. When graduation came around, I couldn’t pass up the chance to pursue making a living doing what I love. It hasn’t been easy, the past seven years have come with an abundance of health, personal and professional struggles, but I had great training and have great friends, connections and representation–people who truly believe me and encourage me to keep going. I graduated about four years ago and have been so thankful for the amazing opportunities I have had to perform in multiple states and cities and learn aspects about the industry I would have never experienced.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The road has been FAR from smooth.
This industry is cut-throat, you have to keep pushing– obviously there are the road bumps everyone feels along the way, breakups, heartache, loss, rejection, the temporary things that can get us down– but you have to keep showing up, you have to keep pushing forward.
My current turbulence is an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, after 2.5 years of researching it and working with doctors, I have a pretty strong grip on managing it, but it was TOUGH at first. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune condition where your thyroid produces antibodies that attack your thyroid, and your thyroid controls everything–it’s a huge part of the endocrine system, it controls your metabolism, your body temperature, your energy levels and more. Having an underactive thyroid can cause fatigue, muscle/joint pain, inflammation, weight gain, hair loss, dry skin, depression, anxiety, heart issues and more.
For years I was trying to find which diets, medication and supplements worked best for my body, for years doctors have been telling me they can’t help me, and through it all I never stopped showing up, and I didn’t stop booking. I have gone to rehearsals and auditions in pain, I have gone and had panic attacks but anyone I’ve worked with can attest to the fact that I never showed it… I’m far from a prideful person but I am definitely proud of how well I can push forward in an unforgiving career while carrying so much on my shoulders. I’ve had days where I feel defeated when I get tested for arthritis and Lupus and I’m scared I will watch my career shatter with every blood test I get. But I keep leaning on the tool belt I have put together- leaning on God, leaning on my family and friends, leaning on doctors, leaning on nutrition, leaning on my training, and I know with all of that I can and will pull through.
It’s taboo to talk about health issues in the industry because we have a preconceived notion about chronic illness. We think people who struggle physically or mentally may be less than equipped to be successful and reliable in the industry. That is a real shame to me, so many of us know how to take care of ourselves and push through and we keep these things hidden out of fear that a casting director/choreographer/producer won’t cast us because of our health, but autoimmune conditions are becoming more and more common, and it’s important that people don’t feel alone when they receive their diagnosis. I was scared about how my body would change with my diagnosis, and I researched and saw that Gigi Hadid also has Hashimoto’s, it changed everything for me, when I was getting tested for Lupus, I remembered that Selena Gomez has Lupus. These women reminded me that I do not have to rethink any aspect of my career just because of a diagnosis. If I can provide that same support for my friends, or for a high school student who wants to pursue the arts but is doubting herself– I mean, that’s the whole reason I wanted to do this, was to inspire others to be authentically themselves, to break down barriers in the industry and just keep moving forward.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am a dancer/singer and I work regionally in Los Angeles. In my training, I was always taught, just show up. 90% of “making it” in the theatre industry has nothing to do with your talent, it’s about being reliable, hardworking, a go-getter and showing up, that’s how you build relationships and that is how you start booking.
Everyone I work with emphasizes that, and they are complimentary on that. It’s a heartwarming thing to be recognized for traits that are true to my person.
In high school, I was taught “everything is an audition” and WOW! It’s true. I was monitoring an audition once and a week later got a message from someone who was auditioning, asking me to come in and audition for his show –because he thought I was polite, professional and organized, every person you interact with is an audition. On the flip side of that, I’ve been monitoring auditions and have had people be so rude to me that I let the producers know. You never know who you are talking to and what pull they have. Be polite and be kind, it’s so important and makes this industry a worthwhile place to be.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I had to start over, there’s very little I would do differently – I mean, of course I would have loved to take it all more seriously from a young age, there’s a definite advantage to training as a child and really diving into it. However, I’m also so incredibly thankful that I was able to experience other aspects of being a kid. I wasn’t always traveling for auditions or competitions, I was doing everything recreationally because I enjoyed it, the pressure of a professional career in the arts is heavy, and carrying that as an adolescent can be hard and confusing-I’m thankful that my mom and dad allowed me to live freely.
The advice I give to high schoolers pursuing the arts when I work with them over the summers is, get out of your hometown–even if you go back, you will grow SO much more if you leave your comfort zone and take advantage of every opportunity you get–whether that’s mock auditions, classes, q&a’s, wake up early, get into every class you can, study in every city you can and just take it all in.
- Website: https://rachealsyeomans.wixsite.com/rachealyeomans
- Instagram: @rachealsarah
Photos taken by Kelsie Kiana Photography, Forrest Leo, and Glover Burke Photography