Today I’m toasting to… “Your First Day!”

I remember being new in the commercial auditioning process and meeting Janet Hubbert: You know…The one who played Aunt Viv on The Fresh Prince? The first Aunt Viv!

Anyway, she was REALLY nice and extremely helpful although all of us there, (about 200 actresses) including Ms. Hubbert were competing for 1 of 4 spots in this ad.

She was telling us not to be nervous, to be ourselves, and she even gave us some business pointers. I remember leaving the audition thinking, “Wow…most people, especially women aren’t like that. We are so competitive and sometimes so afraid of losing what we “have” that we are afraid to help, teach, or share information sometimes.”

I also walked away saying to myself, “If I’m ever in the position to help or school someone less experienced than I am….I wanna be so confident and so secure with my gifts that I can do so without thinking twice.”

A new girl started with us at work today, and all I could think about is…I remember being “the new one” so many different times; in so many different places.

I was so INEXPERIENCED, but so EXCITED, yet so NERVOUS on the set of “Dead Presidents” that I accidentally hit the actor (Keith David) who I was in the scene with in the head! With a gun!

His head started BLEEDING. He was yelling “CUT! CUT! CUT!” The directors (The Hughes Brothers) stop shooting, but they ain’t know he meant “CUT!”………….literally. Ha!

I still remember the glare he gave me as he said, “Sweetheart, you need to learn your marks.” I was too scared to tell him that I was too scared to even look down to make sure I was on my mark. Plus, I had to pee, AGAIN. Lol!

THANK GOD another actor saw me frazzled and pulled me to the side and said, “Relax. Have fun. You’re great. And you are here for a REASON.” He even rehearsed another scene with me. I kid you not, his words, his peace, his kindness…meant the world to me and a world of difference. The next day, I was knocking my scenes out in ONE TAKE!!! No Oscar though….:(

I’m far from a saint, but it bothered me once when an actress told me not to help another girl (who was a first timer) at an audition; Her EXACT words were, “We are all competing…let her figure it out.” Wow….Really?

I mean I get that and all, but don’t you remember what it was like to be the new one? On your first day? I can be INTIMIDATING! And even if no one helped you, don’t you wish someone had???

Sway and I talk all the time about what it was like first getting into this business. The angels along the way, the assholes, the supporters, and the old heads that had to school you. Last week we talked to actor Ethan Hawke (you know from “Training Day”) and he spoke about what it was like working with and learning from Robert Dinero and Denzel Washington.

He said, “The great ones aren’t great by accident.” “They study, they learn, they choose, they make you better, they teach.”

You know, sometimes I get so sick of how competitive, backstabbing, and petty ANY work place can be. Watching folks run around trying to do WHATEVER they can to so-call “secure” themselves, meanwhile they an unaware of the karma they create.

Making money, looking fly and appearing to have it all is GREAT, but I’ve learned that TRUE security is in your heart…In your spirit. And when you have that, you can help and teach ANYONE without feeling threatened; Or looking for something in return.

It’s not the “new person’s” fault that the come to work on the first day, excited, nervous, in the way, passionate, wanting to learn everything, wanting to be liked, and full of ideas: We ALL know that feeling. We’ve ALL had it. Is it the new person’s fault that maybe some of us have lost it?

If you are praying for GOD to Bless you, Show you your purpose, or help you with your purpose…Trust me: One day, no matter how young or old you are, you will be THE NEW PERSON (Having a First Day) so watch how you treat folks.

If you wake up tomorrow, you are BLESSED! Be excited about your future! Be excited about learning something new! Be passionate about your purpose! Be Great! And not by accident: Study! Teach! Choose Wiser! Be “NEW” and begin to approach life as if it’s your FIRST DAY!

CHEERS!
HB

Me & Ethan Hawke

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