Let Me Teach You CPR!

Did you know that I am a Spokesperson for the American Red Cross (where I am also an Instructor for First Aid, CPR, and AED classes at various levels)? Well…now you know! 

Last week, I was invited back on The Dr. Oz Show to demonstrate how to perform CPR and use an AED, and talk about why they’re such important skills to know. It was my 4th time on the show and I had a blast shooting the segments. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to once again represent the Red Cross!

Check out all three segments below 🙂

CLICK HERE for Segment 1: How to perform CPR part 1

CLICK HERE for Segment 2: How to perform CPR part 2

CLICK HERE for Segment 3: How to use an AED

Annnnnnnd some production stills from our shoot!

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Bob Harper (of “The Biggest Lose” fame) was on The Dr. Oz Show to talk about his recent medical scare: three months ago he went into cardiac arrest at a gym. He credits quick CPR and AED use for saving his life.

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Dr. Oz wanted to showcase that anyone can learn CPR in just a few minutes – so we held a “Hands-Only CPR class” during his show and invited several audience members to participate!

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There are 2 steps to performing CPR. If your victim is unresponsive and not breathing, STEP ONE is to call 911. Then put your hands in the center of the chest, with the heel of one hand along the breastbone, and do STEP TWO: push hard and fast.

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Kicking 2017 Off in…Rochester!

 

 


 
“Take your broken heart, make it into Art.” ~Meryl Streep via Carrie Fisher

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New Year, New Adventures!

I rang in the new year by spending the day in my pajamas, and a week later I left the creature comforts of home for another #theatremagic experience. Hello from Rochester, New York! (More on that below!)

This year I’m focusing on ALIGNMENT, in every sense of the word. I want to find more work-life balance, focus on keeping my energy and output in line with my short and long term goals, improve my ability to adjust to unforeseen speed bumps in the road, and physically fix my horribly misaligned spine. Thank you Massage Therapist extraordinaire Jessica Meirs for convincing me to see a Chiropractor for the first time to tackle that last issue!! In my opinion, alignment leads to longevity. And I certainly want that 🙂

In the spirit of aligning my actions with my goals, below is a mini timeline of my current #actorlife as well as some highlights from 2016. Each of these accomplishments feels like a piece of the foundation I’m building, one I’m excited to keep growing. Be sure to like my Facebook Page, follow me on Twitter, and keep checking my Website to stay in the loop about what happens next!


On Stage Now

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Just finished my first week of rehearsals for Rajiv Joseph’s The Lake Effect at the Geva Theatre Center, directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh! It’s my first production at a LORT theatre and I’ve been having a BLAST. It helps that I’ve wanted to play this part in this play since it debuted in 2013 (I do have a soft spot for those “broken” characters, after all). Above is a peek at our rehearsal set.

If you find yourself in Rochester anytime soon, come say hello. Maybe even see our play! We open February 2 – tickets and more info HERE.

Just Passed

2016 The Song

I reunited with the Odd Sqodd gang for this annual gem, “2016: The Song!” (Click the pic above to watch our take on 2016.) Even though this year was rough for many, I hope this can make you laugh about it at least a little bit. Please excuse all the parts where I’m off key. We didn’t have much rehearsal time haha. If you want to KEEP laughing, check out some of our other sketches HERE!

Coming Up

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There’s LOTS on the horizon! A few notables:

-Catch me in the pilot of ABC’s Time After Time, premiering March 5! HERE‘s the trailer (I’m not in it but it’s still fun).

-Are you a lifeguard? In your next class you’ll see/hear someone familiar: ME! The pic above is from the new manual. I love it when my #actorlife and Red Cross worlds collide 🙂

-It’s still in the early stages, but I’m going to be collaborating on the creation of a one-woman show adapted from a young adult novel to be performed by…moi! More soon!


2016 Highlights

Playing Mahwish in Ayad Akhtar's "The Who And The What" at Gulfshore Playhouse, April-May 2016

Played Mahwish in Ayad Akhtar’s “The Who And The What” at Gulfshore Playhouse, April-May 2016

Channeling my inner chameleon as ALL the Women in the World Premiere of Aditi Kapil's "Orange" at Mixed Blood Theatre, October-December 2016 ©2016 RichRyan

Channeled a chameleon as ALL the Women in the World Premiere of Aditi Kapil’s “Orange” at Mixed Blood Theatre, October-December 2016 ©2016 RichRyan

May 22, 2016: Baby's first acting award!! All Out Arts granted me a Fruitie Award for Outstanding Featured Performance for my work as Marie Rodell in 2015's "Rachel: the Musical!"

May 22, 2016: Baby’s first acting award!! All Out Arts granted me a Fruitie Award for Outstanding Featured Performance for my work as Marie Rodell in 2015’s “Rachel: the Musical!”

Season 1 of "Regal Academy" premiered on Nickelodeon! It's so fun to voice Clara Cinderella, a mom with a secret.

Season 1 of “Regal Academy” premiered on Nickelodeon! It’s so fun to voice Clara Cinderella, a mom with a secret.

Say hello to the new voice of Lalah Sune in "Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin" Episode 4! I exercised my high-pitched, airy voice with her!

Say hello to the new voice of Lalah Sune in “Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin” Episode 4! I exercised my high-pitched, airy voice with her!


 

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Back in New York and…what? An Award? For Moi?!


“I haven’t had an orthodox career, and I’ve wanted more than anything to have your respect…you like me, right now, you like me!” ~Sally Field


Six months into 2016 and I’ve already worked at (and fallen in love with) another regional theatre AND won my very first acting award. Say what?! Plus I learned how to embed videos into these posts so scroll down to check out my performance at said awards show!

Working in this biz comes with so many ups and downs (and, if we’re getting technical, plateaus) and it feels darn good to be riding a high for a bit. Just no one ask me what’s coming next, cuz I have no idea. Anyone looking for a “too young to be in charge” or “quirky best friend” or “pretty little psychopath”-type? Spread the word: Universe, I’m ready for my next adventure!

 

The Who and The What

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At the beginning of April, when it seemed winter would never end in New York, I traveled to uber-sunny Naples, Florida to work on a show at the beautiful Gulfshore Playhouse. The Who and The What is a play about family and secrets, written by Ayad Akhtar (he won the Pulitzer for another of his plays – Disgraced – so, you know, he’s kind of a big deal) and directed by Emily Wells.

When I first read the script for The Who and The What (in 2013) I was struck by the clever writing and the brilliantly complex female characters. It’s so refreshing to read a play that doesn’t present women – let alone women of color – in monotone. These women, the sisters Zarina and Mahwish, are both headstrong and intelligent and flawed and charming. I HAD to do this play!

Thus began a slew of auditions, callbacks, rejections- I’m fairly certain I auditioned for every production of this show! I’d get called in for Mahwish, called back for Zarina, and vice versa. Gulfshore Playhouse called me in for Zarina, called me back for Mahwish and then…nothing. For a month. I figured it wasn’t meant to be. But then Super Agent Man Jim Daly called me the day before Thanksgiving to tell me I booked it!

I spent six glorious weeks in Naples, loving every second we worked on the show and getting my fill of hashtag beach life (ahem the theatre was EIGHT blocks from the beach). It was wonderful to reunite with Rasha Zamamiri, the actress playing my big sister Zarina- the last time we worked together it was 2007 and I was a baby in college, a noob to the theatre world. Rajesh Bose played our father Afzal- he and I have worked together several times through Theatre 167; how fun to have a friend with whom to explore a new city! Eric Clem rounded out our cast as Zarina’s love interest Eli- we only had one scene together (it went like this: “Hey Mahwish.” “Hey Eli.”), so we bonded over our mutual worship of R.E.I. (Mecca!). Friendship sealed 🙂

Closing a show is always bittersweet- it feels good to be back home in New York, but I will truly miss telling this story every night with my wonderful Gulfshore Playhouse family- I can’t wait to return. Enjoy some photos from our production at the bottom of this post!

 

Me and My Fruitie Award!

Last summer I had the privilege of working on a new musical called Rachel, about one of my idols, Rachel Carson. I had a BLAST playing her feisty literary agent Marie Rodell, and I guess I must have done something right because All Out Arts and the Fresh Fruit Festival awarded me a Fruitie for Outstanding Featured Performance!! I was – still am – shocked and humbled and honored. Here’s the full text of my acceptance speech, which doesn’t begin to encompass just how grateful I am for the opportunity to be a part of the Rachel journey:

“At a time when a large portion of our country wants to build walls and our own industry is being forced to reckon with its attitude towards diversity, as an actor, it’s hard sometimes to hold onto the belief that I could possibly be judged solely by the content of my character (some really smart dude once said that). Marie Rodell was a firecracker, a woman who forged a name for herself in the literary world at a time when women were supposed to leave that sort of thing to men. She was also…let’s just say she was a little less tan than me. I think that’s the PC way to say it. But Jessie and Jared and Ari saw her essence in me, and that was enough. I was enough. It didn’t matter that we don’t look alike. Thank you for taking a chance, trusting me with the privilege of bringing Marie and her way-too-high heels back to life. Thank you for seeing the content of my character – I wish more people had the vision, the courage, to be as open and willing and trusting as you. Thank you all.”

VIDEO: Click the pic above to check out my performance at the 2016 Fruitie Awards and get a little taste of Marie Rodell!!

Check out some The Who and The What production photos!

   


 

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2015: A Year of Firsts!

 

 


“I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph!” ~Shirley Temple


Happy Almost-2016!What an incredible year it’s been. I’ve learned a lot about myself as an actor and person and I feel… really freakin’ proud of all this growth! Thank you for your support this year- in person, on the phone, online- it makes my heart happy to feel your encouragement and energy 🙂 Get ready to *squee* in glee with me because I’ll be able to announce my next project… SOON.

Like my Facebook Page, follow me on Twitter, and check out my Website to be in the loop when the time comes! Til then, enjoy my top 5 of 2015- five big firsts that won’t be the last.

Have a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year <3

2015: My Top 5 “Firsts”

First SAG-AFTRA Card

In January it finally happened: I booked a job that pushed me from “eligible” to “must join.” Now I have this shiny, new SAG-AFTRA member card, and all the union protections that come with it. WHEE!

First Network Pilot Test

Pilot season. When new TV shows are cast and actors like me vie for series regular roles. Well, in March, I made it to the final round of casting for a CBS pilot! My Bloc NYC Super Agent Man (aka the inimitable Jim Daly) and I were stoked. MILESTONE!

First Scene with an Actor Idol

One of my actor-crushes is Kathryn Hahn. She’s just FREAKISHLY TALENTED and I love everything she does. It was REALLY hard not to go full on fangirl when I worked with her on Showtime’s Happyish. But I’m a professional. And PS: she’s awesome.

First Fringe Festival

The NY Fringe Festival has been on my actor bucket list since college. When I read the script for Jacob Marx Rice’s dark comedy Coping, I felt a strong pull to be a part of it. Lucky for me- it premiered at the Fringe! Working on this show was…emotionally challenging. Also I loved every minute. Especially the infamous snot scene with the brilliant Scott Thomas. Audiences must have loved it too because we got extended. TWICE!

First Marathon

I know it’s not actor-news, but I’m SUPER proud of this one: on November 1, after 18 weeks of training (and spending last year trying to qualify), I ran the TCS New York City Marathon. 26.2 miles through the streets of my city. This pic (taken by my friend Jill Sapenoff!) is from the halfway mark. Trust me- I was smiling like a maniac the rest of the race too! I could talk about it for hours but to sum up: it was one of the best days of my life 🙂


 

Posted in News

2014 Recap: Keep On Driving

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

I realized something as the clock struck midnight on January 1st: I always tend to view the new year as just that – new. It’s a blank slate, a new beginning, a chance to start over. But maybe, that’s not the right way to view things. Setting new goals seems like a great idea, but why limit my goal-setting-ability to just this one day? (Really, how many new year’s resolutions do YOU keep? I resolved last year to write more blog posts and…well…we can all see how that didn’t turn out…) What about all the progress I made last year? Why not think of the new year as continuing that momentum instead of grinding to a halt and starting from the top?

Yea…I need to get off this thing…

So this year, I’m not making any resolutions (GASP!) – I’m tired of planning and falling short. Instead, I’d like to take a quick look back at the mile markers from last year’s journey, and set my sights on the road ahead. Pardon the cliche, but life is, after all, a marathon, not a sprint. Speaking of marathons…

Mile Marker 1: Qualifying for the 2015 New York City Marathon

Of all the things I accomplished last year, I think this is the one I’m most proud of – seems like the best place to start this recap 🙂 At the start of 2014, as I re-discovered my love of long distance running, I set two personal fitness goals for myself: run one race each month and qualify (through the New York Road Runner’s 9+1 Program) for next year’s NYC Marathon. Close to 600 miles (including 11 run before dawn in the crazy heat and humidity on the island of Bimini), 2 pairs of sneakers, and 13 races later – I did it!! Look out for updates as I start training this year…and I hope to see you along the marathon course in November, because I’m going to need all kinds of love and support to get through those 26.2 miles!

And yes, I cried after crossing the finish line of my last race. My tears froze on my cheeks. It was freakin' cold outside!

And yes, I cried after crossing the finish line of my last race. My tears froze on my cheeks. December is cold!

Mile Marker 2: Performing in two (well…technically four) plays at once

In September I was so glad to work with Theatre 167 again, this time in a re-imagining of their “Jackson Heights Trilogy” called I Like to Be Here, which was directed by Ari Laura Krieth at The New Ohio Theater. It was so fun to channel my inner girly girl and banter with my wonderful scene partner Indika Senanayake each night, and to be part of such a talented, diverse, beautiful cast.

Every night. So much sass. (Thanks Joel Weber for the photo!)

Every night. So much sass. (Thanks Joel Weber for the photo!)

During the last two weeks of the show, which we performed at night, I was also rehearsing three short plays during the day with The Working Theater, directed by Dina Vovsi. It was a whirlwind experience – 12 days to rehearse, block, and memorize, followed by two full, back-to-back productions, but we had such a blast! All of our brains certainly got some exercise those weeks; it was a huge challenge to flash memorize and compartmentalize all those lines, but somehow it all worked out. And no, despite all my fears I never inserted lines from one show into another.

My wacky characters kept me sane and in line, trust me!

My wacky characters kept me sane and in line, trust me!

Mile Marker 3:  Signing my first long-term contract

In October, I started filming a new educational series. My contract prevents me from talking about the project in detail, but the exciting, new part is – it’s a seven month gig. Seven months of steady work, playing a fun, quirky character (who has a passion for funky earrings) with a hilarious, down-to-earth crew and talented, effervescent cast. It’s a dream! I don’t mind waking up at dawn to get to set because I know that even if the day will be challenging (it’s not unheard of for us to shoot 15+ pages at one go), I will be spending it with wonderful people. I’ve never had the chance to develop a character over such a long time period, and it’s really fun to have freedom to explore and play, and so interesting to watch her growth from week to week. Who knows what she’ll do next?

At the very least, I'm going to have a KILLER wardrobe when we wrap!

At the very least, I’m going to have a KILLER wardrobe when we wrap!

Those were just my top 3 milestones this year. Looking back, there were definitely other highlights – getting the chance to work on the Mixed Blood Theatre stage again (in the ensemble of the powerful musical Passing Strange); booking two television co-star roles back to back (on The Following and Person of Interest); landing a lead voiceover role on a new cartoon (more details to come!); representing the American Red Cross as a spokesperson on the Dr. Oz show (for the second time!)…

It feels strange to think that there was a point this year when I felt stuck – not quite sure how I’d fallen into a rut and a bit helpless as to how to get out of it – but time, that ever-present beast, showed me the way. Turns out I never actually took my foot off the gas pedal; I was always moving forward, but maybe… let’s say it was like driving on a plateau with really monotonous scenery on all sides.

Like what I imagine it’s like to drive through Wyoming…

It was just hard to SEE that I was still moving, but when I look back now in my rearview mirror, I can see the road behind me – I can see how far I’ve come.

This year, I’ve learned to trust. I’m tossing away my map – I don’t know my destination anyway! – and believing that if I just keep on driving, I’ll end up exactly where I’m meant to be. Maybe I lied: this year, I resolve to stay present and enjoy the ride.


 BONUS MILESTONE

If you’ve made it this far down the page, thanks for reading (or skimming)! Please enjoy this super silly video re-capping 2014, courtesy of Odd Sqodd sketch comedy group. I was so happy to be a part of it!

 

 

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