Life has not been monochromatic. Even the womb was a colorful ride. While my mom was pregnant with me, a negligent driver railed into our family car at high speed. My mom was catapulted from the car into a muddied ditch and knocked unconscious. The collision’s force rolled our car and its 1.5 tons of steel just missed crushing her. Doctors thought that I’d have serious complications. I arrived unscathed - although this could be argued since I see life differently than most.
While sporting diapers, we moved from the United States to Greece, an enthralling land of antiquity. Here I spent my formative years frolicking amongst Parthenon ruins and poking jellyfish in the Mediterranean.
In an Athens private school, I sported a plaid uniform jumper, threw caterpillars at boys, skipped mass and won spelling bees. Summers were spent on the rugged isle of Crete, a region fascinatingly stuck in time with ruins of palaces and tombs. I played with village kids in ramshackle barns amongst mules and hay bales and enjoyed a simpler, unencumbered life. The richest man in the neighboring village had a rusty Toyota Corolla and many traveled by mule.
In Canada as a curious pre-teen, I accompanied my dad to prisons for his work. Inside dank penitentiary walls we shared meals with hard-core criminals. My father extended grace to those alienated by society. Through my dad's example, I learned the value of kindness (and why inmates use plastic forks and knives).
Leaving home at seventeen, I toted grandpa’s tattered alligator suitcase and an adventuresome spirit. After graduating university in Southern California, I took off to explore the globe. I hiked through a Venezuelan jungle with loin-clothed natives, climbed the Great Wall of China, observed geishas in Japan, and explored Europe…
After a volunteer mission to a Guatemalan orphanage, we were ambushed by armed banditos clad in fatigues and balaclavas. One shot a hail of bullets at my head from a few feet away. Nothing compares to bullets whizzing by your skull! Though our car was peppered with bullet holes, the only mark left on me was a deeper contemplation of life.
In glossier California, a modeling agent approached me. I appeared in commercials and magazines such as Vogue, Shape and Elle. I hosted an extreme sports show where I tandem-surfed, parabounced and piloted a glider plane doing nosedives. What I enjoyed most was the characters I met along the way - from princes to paupers to pop stars.
One L.A. dawn a friend dragged me to an audition on his purple scooter, insisting I was destined to be Snow White. To my surprise Disney plucked me out of a large throng of girls vying to be cartoon royalty. I stuffed my blond locks under a black bob wig and did merrymaking with Seven Dwarfs. Donning layers of taffeta, bloomers and tights in 90 degree heat I kissed sticky-faced kids from around the world. Ultimately this Snow drifted.
Later I was cast to be Barbie. Wearing fluffy pink or brightly sequined gowns, I was flown around the United States to sign autographs for wide-eyed kids who believed I was this doll incarnate. Gleeful faces were heartwarming yet I craved imaginative work beyond being a doll in the flesh.
I set my sights on stepping behind the camera. Despite achieving the Dean's list and being a top distance runner, a blonde stereotype thwarted progress. To dispel being pigeonholed, I started toiling in the trenches as a grip, lifting heavy equipment alongside brawny men. Often bungling and working fast, I’d bonk my shins with steel c-stands. My body was continually peppered with bruises.
After working in various capacities in production, my moxie and creative bent were noted. Over time I was hired to direct, produce, and write television commercials. Three received national recognition; one was the third highest grossing direct response commercial in the United States one year.
Today I work fultime in film development and producing. Whether gritty or upliting, I’m drawn to stories that go beyond sheer entertainment to inform us of our human condition.
From glam to grit, an amalgam of experiences has shaped me. Life has been punctuated by tragedy, loss, and the sting of death. Though feistier then high school days when voted “Miss Congeniality”, I still believe relationships are our most precious gift.
With camera in tow, I still love to freeze slivers of time, hoping to illuminate the world’s diversity and beauty. I treasure connecting with people and capturing stories of our common humanity.
Wishing you the best on your journey!