Live Your Passion. This is a sort of mantra for me and one that I like to say to my audiences at the end of my shows. Live. Your. Passion! What does it mean? What does it entail to actually live your passion? On the simplest level, it just means making sure you give yourself time to do something you love on a regular basis. Whatever gives your spirit the most joy, whether it be dodge ball, dance classes, writing poetry… fly fishing. For me it has always been music and singing. As cliche as it sounds, when I am performing I feel like I am my most authentic self.
I had a brief moment in the music industry after a stint on a national televised singing competition. It landed me representation, but I learned quickly that if I wanted a career in entertainment, I was going to have to make it happen myself. My management spoke to me like I was the next big thing, yet kept me sitting on the shelf like those million dollar Brian Atwood heels your don’t dare wear outside. I made the decision that I was fortunate enough to be a young 20-something brought to the big apple by my talent, and so opportunities would come along when they were supposed to. They weren’t happening fast enough!
I needed to do something creative, something with my passion. I wasn’t a piano playing musician. I wasn’t a music writer, but I could sing, keep a room of people captivated and was always told I had a big personality. In my mind I was a star, but hadn’t quite found what galaxy I was supposed to live in. I also knew I was funny, like really funny. At least, I THINK I’m sooo funny. If you have ever seen my live show, you know that I crack myself up.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from my mom. As a baby, she had contracted the polio virus and was made fun of for it her entire childhood. My mom told me if I didn’t want them to make fun of me, then make them laugh first…and boy, did I! Even my teachers thought I was hysterical, giving me B’s when I probably deserved C’s. The question now was how to use these tools I had within me to start something on my own? Enter podcasting.
It seemed that everywhere I looked Steve Jobs was telling me about this new platform to get yourself out there. I had been a radio show host and DJ during that time I tried to dabble with college. They just didn’t understand that I needed a curriculum that focused on how to become famous…so podcasting seemed like a great fit!
Sunday Morning Mimosa, a weekly talk show that featured hot topics and character comedy, now known as Haus of Mimosa: The Podcast was created by myself and a few good friends, including my drag partner for 7 years Gina Marie played by my best friend, Steven Incammicia. As a producer and writer of the show, it was my job to record, edit, and post the episodes each week. I knew how to do NONE of this, but my passion was driving me to get it done and I had to figure it out. I was no longer going to wait for anyone else to make “it” happen for me. I was learning that it wasn’t about how talented you might be, but about the drive you have and the work you put in to make it happen. From there, I was asked to host an event as one of my characters from the podcast, Anita Buffem! She was a fan favorite from the podcast and I had to suddenly bring her to life, which was amazing and scary. Drag was semi-foreign to me. There was the occasional Halloween costume, which I now know is NOT drag! I worked hard on figuring out what it meant for Anita to not only be heard, but now also be seen.
SEE ALSO: Anita Buffem Is Podcasting For Her Life!
I learned a lot that night…like how fishnets without pantyhose underneath will tear your inner thighs to shreds. You can’t just take a wig out of a bag and put in on your head. Most importantly, when you’re singing live to a track, do not trust a jealous queen to run your music.
I also learned that the people were loving it and laughing their asses off. I quickly went to work after that night, writing a full show that we ended up performing at theaters all over NYC!
Soooo…if you’re still reading this, I want you to know something. That I believe in you! I want you to know that you can achieve your dreams. I want you to know that it takes work and that you have to do your research and educate yourself on the things they don’t teach you at school. You might learn a step ball change at the performing arts school, but they don’t teach you how to be the president of your own corporation. You might not get it exactly right at first, but with time you will season yourself and you will grow! So, Live your passion, BE the master of your own destiny, and do not wait around for anyone else to make things happen for you!
…and remember, if they’re not shiny, Buffem!