Today we’d like to introduce you to Sara Pauley.
Sara, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’m an actor who made the move to Los Angeles after working in off broadway, regional theater, commercials and voiceovers in NYC and Philly. I’m originally from the midwest and graduated with a BA in Theatre and Drama at Indiana University. I also teach Pilates and have devised movement for ensemble stage and film productions for some international visual artists.
While in NYC, I was cast in my first off broadway show and I met several dancers who were going through their Pilates training in Brooklyn through former American Ballet Theater dancer, Lawson Harris. They needed bodies to train and so I jumped at the chance because I had never done Pilates before. I ended up working in her studio for almost two years learning the business and eventually became a Pilates instructor myself.
Now in my tenth year as a Pilates Instructor, I have taught celebrities and worked in management for several corporate and franchise Pilates studios in NYC, Houston and Los Angeles. I have finally opened up my first full private and online Pilates studio in Los Feliz and continue to work as an actor through my representation, who, yep…you guessed it, I met while teaching Pilates.
Has it been a smooth road?
When I first came to LA, I put my head down and worked like crazy and did not audition for the first two years I was here. I needed to survive and the startup franchise I moved out here to work for kept growing and the promised opportunities for advancement meant I would have had to relocate for far less money than originally promised. What was my dream Pilates job slowly became a nightmare as helped franchise owners after franchise owners turn profits while I was living off of Starbucks gift cards. I had to take additional side gigs that I swore off doing when I left New York, like getting hired to do Bottle Service as a 38 year old (and realizing your coworkers were young enough to be your kids) and taking cater waitering jobs for events that as a professional actor you should be attending as a guest.
While I was trying to make ends meet, some reproductive pre cancer decided to pop up in my cervix, I almost would have had to leave Los Angeles if I had not had access to free services through Planned Parenthood due to the cost of the procedure I had to have. My father also had a Stage IV cancer diagnosis and open heart surgery the same year, so I felt that I mentally could not focus on anything other than my health and my dad’s health. I was getting stretched way too thin, and simply stated, my old survival jobs needed to go the way of the dodo. I couldn’t find peace or heal working in night clubs and I would not have job security working for a franchise that was limiting my hours. I realized that working for myself was the only answer and I started training people with equipment that was gifted to me by my boyfriend who realized my passion and dedication to Pilates.
Meanwhile, the future manager of my acting career was taking my classes at my old studio and was hounding me to send him my headshot. I was so absorbed by trying to make money doing corporate Pilates that I had agents chasing me for representation and I was turning them down. I realized that I needed a reset on my priorities and remember that not acting for two years made me forget a large chunk of who I was back in New York. I was still that actor that wanted to create and collaborate and I was still that Pilates Instructor who kept fighting for people over profits. Life is too short. So I abruptly quit my Pilates franchise job and started focusing on how I could meld my acting and fitness practice together on my terms.
Many people come to me because I am an intuitive empath and I can help relieve pain associated with muscle memory. I’m also a damn good Pilates Instructor who can kick your butt, however, sometimes we need something more than a drill sergeant running a boot camp class. Being more mindful of my body has led me to start educating myself on Reiki energy healing and nutrition as a way to help people heal themselves.
As a new business owner, I am building my Pilates practice slowly and organically while auditioning for film, television and voiceover projects. Last year I recorded my first audiobook on Audible and took Core Track classes at The Groundlings. The sky is the limit in terms of what I want to produce artistically and I am looking forward to showing more of that in 2020 and beyond.
Please tell us about your business.
Wundagirl Pilates is a private Pilates studio based in the heart of Los Feliz offering one on one Pilates sessions on the Cadillac, Reformer and Wunda Chair. Classes stay at affordable and accessible rates ranging from $5 for an online group mat class and up to $60 for a full hour of in studio Pilates apparatus work.
As a natural empath, I can tune into what is gently happening with your body. My sessions start with a conversation, rather than just sawing through movement without mindfulness. My goal is to add Reiki and Nutrition services this year to create an overall wellness studio where you can go to heal and feel fantastic.
The best way to get started is to contact me! Most of my in studio private clients come from referrals and my private in studio one on ones tend to book pretty quickly. The best way to get access is through my new online Pilates group mat classes. You’ll meet some like minded people who want to take their fitness further and will be part of a unique online community that will cheer you on while you get fit in the comfort of your home!
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love the opportunities you have in Los Angeles to be a version of yourself that you could never be anywhere else (what up, 38 year old bottle service girl!) It’s also can feel like a complete fantasy world that a lot of people can get lost in very easily. The trick is to not get lulled into thinking that you don’t have to work hard to get what you want.
- Online Pilates Mat Class – $5
- Unlimited Monthly Online Pilates Mat Class – $40
- Private In Studio Pilates Apparatus session $60
- Website: www.sarapauley.com
- Phone: 646-541-7226
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @wundagirl
- Facebook: @pauley.sara
Michael Roud Photography. Glen Rich Photography.
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