When you’re cast in a Broadway show, especially one that’s slated to be the next big thing, it’s easy to start planning your life. An actress doesn’t get to do that often; we live in a world of auditions, rejections, unemployment and odd jobs while we wait for that big break. I was 31 when I was cast in Bullets Over Broadway, a show that received a lot of promotion. I thought I would have a consistent job for at least the next five years. I had already spent a decade on the roller coaster that is working in theatre, but now I could finally relax. Maybe even have a baby, or two! This was my fourth Broadway musical, so getting a closing notice was nothing new to me. But to hear, “the show is closing,” after only three months, stung.
At the same time, I found my marriage unexpectedly and abruptly ending after seven years. Just six months before it seemed like everything was about to fall into place, now everything was falling apart. I found myself in my thirties without a job, without a husband and without a plan. I had an overwhelming desire to take control of my life. I’d spent the last ten years having my happiness and my job determined by a row of casting directors in an audition room. I needed to do something for myself.
I had been teaching fitness classes for the past few years as a way to get by in between shows. I had never planned for it to be more than that, but I quickly found it was something I loved doing. It felt like a performance being in front of a room of people dancing, so it oddly connected to my career and felt like home. Teaching became my therapy through that tough time. I had to get in front of a class and have energy and a positive attitude for everyone else in the room. I got to blast music, put a smile on and be surrounded by a room full of energy and determination. It really helped me focus on something positive and relieve stress.
After helping so many clients achieve their goals and making relationships with so many amazing women, I realized this job was more than a hobby. I had created my own way of working out with a jump rope that I knew was unique. I saw how it was changing my body and decided I needed to start teaching it to my classes. So I took a leap — or jump — of faith and started my own business. My class, The Rope, debuted at Studio B, a workout space in New York City, in April 2016.
But despite great press, no one came to class at first. I would come home feeling defeated and trying to figure out why my class wasn’t resonating with people. I really believed in my workout, but the fitness world in New York is oversaturated with options and trainers. It was hard to get people to take a chance on something new.
But rejection was something I was used to from my past career. I was no stranger to perseverance, and I knew some things just take time. With a new time slot The Rope started to take off. Two people turned to four, four turned to ten, ten turned to twenty. Eight months in, classes were sold out with a waitlist. To this day when I stand in front of a group of women and men eager to skip rope with me, I get tears in my eyes.
Life can definitely throw you some ups and downs, but one thing I’ve learned is how strong you become from the lowest times in your life. I found love again, have my own business and have turned into a woman I wouldn’t have recognized five years ago. Through it all, I’ve learned to believe in yourself when things seem unbelievable — that’s when you grow the most.