Invest in yourself — The more stuff you know and the more skills you have, the more valuable you are as an actor. So never stop learning your craft, or trying new things, swimming, fencing, cooking, accents or other languages, etc. The list is honestly endless.
As a part of our interview series with the rising stars in pop culture, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mary Magyari pronounced Ma Gary.
Mary Magyari is an American actress from St. Clair Shores, Michigan. Mary grew up doing theater, starting her professional career dancing for the Nutcracker at age 8 as a toy soldier. Mary graduated from Specs Howard School of Media Arts for Radio Broadcasting in 2007, and has continued education in Acting and Voice Over from the Michigan Actors Studio.
Mary has appeared in commercials (including Delta and Tappers), local indie-film projects, and appeared as a featured extra in DreamWorks 2010 blockbuster Real Steel staring Hugh Jackman. Although she has a few IMDb credits under her belt, Mary has been spending the last few years on stage, most recently playing Elizabeth Lavenza in Frankenstein and Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I know its cliché to say I was born to do it (acting) but ever since I could walk or talk, I was singing or creating skits to perform for others. At events I would always find a stage or microphone to put on a show. Once I experienced my first theater performance in 5th grade playing the Evil Queen in my school’s production of Snow White, I couldn’t get enough of acting and performing. It was then I understood a fire had been lit.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
As an actor life itself is filled with interesting experiences that you get to incorporate with your craft. I have so many interesting stories on my life resume, I wouldn’t even know where to start but when I reflect back on some of the times I have had and people I met, things I’ve done, I get so nostalgic.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I was on the set of Real Steel in one of the arena scenes and there was this guy on set that looked just like Steven Spielberg (who was producing the movie at the time). So, everyone behind the scenes are looking and laughing, trying to talk to him, getting everyone else excited saying “Steven Spielberg is on set”. This guy was dressed in gaffers’ clothes and had a crew badge so I knew it wasn’t him but of course your brain starts to think “Ok, I know it’s not him, but what if it is? I am such a huge fan; you hear stories about how extra’s get discovered. What if he is undercover?” Now I always try to act professional on set so I didn’t want to break out into fan mode. Well he ended up making his rounds to me and said hi. Of course, it wasn’t him, but it was still an exciting and funny moment.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Since everything is shut down with the pandemic, I am staying busy working on voice over projects. One in particular is a Batman fan project where I play the role of Cat woman and Harley Quinn. I am on stand-by for my fight scenes in ‘The Papers Series’; where I play Sarah Quinn a Paper Soldier in a dark paper spoof comedy. I am also developing my Irish accent for a feature I will be working on this Fall, more details to come for that.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
On the set of Real Steel, I met Hugh Jackman and later was able to reconnect with him at the wrap party. Hugh was so genuine and down to earth. I also had the pleasure of sharing an elevator with Director Lee Kirk on the set of The Giant Mechanical Man, again super nice guy.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
For inspiration I watch motivational videos on YouTube. I think any actor who puts in the work will thrive. Learn as much as you can, especially with the down time during this pandemic, I have been reading books and scripts, and take webinars to stay up to date on my craft. Tips for not feeling burnt out…Mediation and me time (me time could be reading, or anything that is relaxing and decompressing).
You have been blessed with success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?
This is probably my favorite question, and most important one. Failure and success are in everything we do. Don’t be afraid to fail, live for it. Learn from it. Failure is just a form of growth and when you understand that you can go farther. Never stop polishing your craft. There is always something to work on or learn. Read books, take seminars, webinars, classes, follow your favorite artists, travel, learn about new cultures. Surround yourself with likeminded creative individuals who are just as passionate as you. In fact, surround yourself with people who are better than you. My dad used to say “There is always someone out there who will be better than you at something”. What a humbling thing to think about, but also inspiring. We always want to push ourselves to be better versions of ourselves with people we look up to, yet at the same time there is someone out there looking up to us. Listen to inspirational and motivational speakers, there is always a consistent message being given. Learn about yourself and know that YOU are your worst critic, don’t let yourself (fears and doubt) hold you back. This work is hard work, but it’s the hard that makes it great!
Can you share with our readers any self-care routines, practices or treatments that you do to help your body, mind or heart to thrive? Kindly share a story or an example for each.
Self-care and decompression are so important especially when doing more dramatic roles. Fitness for energy and meditation for serenity. I also believe in the power of prayer, every night I say what I am thankful for and reflect on the things I want to work on and ask the universe or God to guide me. Also drink lots and lots of water!
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Be true to yourself — Know your brand. Know what kind of actor you want to be. Set achievable goals. Create a networking list of people you look up to and want to work with and connect with them.
- Follow your intuition — If it doesn’t seem right, its probably not. Starting out there are a lot of people who will take advantage of young inexperienced people, whether it’s taking your money, over charging you, or asking more of you than you’re willing to give. Do your homework, read reviews, look at their resume, stick with trusted sources.
- Fall Forward (Fail up) — Look for the no’s, expect them. Failing doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Rejection doesn’t mean you’re not good enough, your just not right for the part right now. I find when I don’t get a part that I want, but I am cast as someone else; Ok what is the lesson I need to learn. I used to always have this stigma from being cast as the lead in all my school plays that I only wanted leading roles. It wasn’t until I started getting cast as ensemble parts that I was able to be utilized more, I could work on character range, I learned more about silent acting (example: party goer could be in a whole scene with no lines so you need to create realistic business without being distracting). It’s fun for me when I see shows or watch movies, I always look at the extras and ensemble to make sure they are in the scene fully committed. As an actor no matter how small your role is, always be in the mindset that people are watching you, so commit fully!
- Invest in yourself — The more stuff you know and the more skills you have, the more valuable you are as an actor. So never stop learning your craft, or trying new things, swimming, fencing, cooking, accents or other languages, etc. The list is honestly endless. Another point to this is take the job, get the experience. I have dated people in the past that didn’t approve of certain projects I was involved in so I turned them down which limited me. I didn’t get the experience and I am not even with that person anymore.
- Be a “Yes Man/Woman” — for the most part I have always been the type of person to willingly help out or go above and beyond in a project because the more experience you have the more valuable you are and more knowledgeable you are. There was one time in my early years, I was offered job to be a stand in (body double) for Rachel Weisz in the film “Oz The Great and Powerful”. At the time, being so fresh in my career I didn’t realize how incredible and rare this opportunity was, and because I wouldn’t get the time off from my part time (dead-end) job, I had turned it down. Looking back, I would have taken it in a heartbeat. If nothing came from it after, oh well… but you can always find another part time (dead-end) job. Another missed opportunity I had was on two separate occasions I was asked by people on set (one was a sound tech, the other was a director) if I wanted to learn more about that specific job or what my interests in the industry were. Being timid and new, I froze. I didn’t necessarily want to learn about sound editing or tell the director “I am an actor!” I didn’t want to seem unprofessional, I didn’t know what to say at the time. Now I know the answer is always YES, and just be yourself!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I think a very relevant life lesson is “This to shall pass”. Any time I get nervous or anxious I try to remind myself to just breath and that in an hour or half hour or even a day it will be over and I will survive.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Oh man, there has been so many from my parents who have supported and encouraged me, I can always count on my mom to be honest with performance notes. My boyfriend Nick Marinello, who teaches high school theater and does community theater, I truest his feedback so much and respect him as a performer. I have friends throughout the years who I can rely on; Jordan Messing, a close friend of over 10 years who has also worked in the industry with me. Tom Walters for helping me through a really dark time in my life, I definitely wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for him.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I am a big advocate for Mental Health treatment and suicide prevention. If there was a way to provide help to those struggling, or guidance for people in need I would love to help with that or am open to ideas of what that would look like.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
Gosh, this question is always so hard to answer. I have so many favorites for so many different reasons. To name a few that I can think of right now, (people who I admire and respect or be mentored by, as well as just someone to grab a drink with):Tom Hanks, Kate Winslet, Michelle Pfeiffer, Charlize Theron, Denzel Washington, Dwayne Johnson, Chris Evans, Jake Gyllenhaal, Reese Witherspoon, Morgan Freeman. But if anyone would like to grab lunch, by all means I will make myself available! I just love connecting to people in general no matter who it is.
How can our readers follow you online?
Instagram is my favorite platform: www.Instagram.com/Legendary_Mary89 . You are welcome to add me on Facebook under Mary Magyari, I have a Facebook fan page that is still in the process of being updated, and IMDb at www.IMDb.me/MaryMagyari .
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!
Thank you so much for having me. This has truly been a pleasure for me to take part in this interview, I had so much fun. Until next time!