I had the pleasure of interviewing Rory Nicole Ogden who is a 16-year-old actress-singer, plus-size model and social activist.
You may have seen her in one of the many PSA’s she has done.
She has recently moved to Hollywood to advance her career and firmly believes if you are lucky enough to have a platform you should use it for social good.
Thank you so much for joining us! Let’s show everyone you’re a normal human being. What are your hobbies, favorite places to visit, pet peeves? Tell us about YOU when you’re not at the office.
“My favorite hobbies are photography and painting. I am a visual arts type of person, so I love creating art. When I have spare time I also like volunteering at the Pasadena Animal Shelter. I really love animals, especially dogs and cats. Helping them is definitely one of my passions. To me there is nothing more relaxing than a little puppy love. In fact, opening an animal rescue is something I have planned in my future.
“I currently have a few favorite spots to visit. I went to Cancun last Christmas with my family and I fell in love with the warm sandy beaches there. I can’t wait to get back again as soon as I have some spare time. Warm sand is like heaven to me. NYC (New York City) is definitely tops on my list of places to go! I am a big city lover and NYC has always been a favorite spot since I was a kid. But my favorite place to visit will always be back home in Hershey, Pennsylvania. It really is the sweetest place on Earth. I love going back and seeing all my friends. I am actually heading back there next week!
“I don’t have a ton of pet peeves but one thing that makes me crazy is never being able to adjust the water to the perfect spot in the shower. It’s always one click and it’s too cold, so you go one more the other way and it’s too hot. I also can’t stand people who litter. The amount of people who throw garbage out of their car is mind blowing. It is especially terrifying here in LA when people toss cigarette butts out of their cars. It’s such a wildfire risk.”
Can you tell us something about you that few people know?
“Most people don’t know that I came out to California at age 14, finished up High School by age 15, and then enrolled in college. This way I am free to work on different projects and I am able to work as what is called ‘legal 18’ in the film industry. I don’t need a set teacher or class time on a TV/film set. My former classmates will all graduate in 2020.
“I am also very private about my acting life. Most of my classmates had no idea I was an actress until my school saw in a local newspaper I was going to be on an episode of ‘What You Do’. They decided the topic about peer pressure to take diet pills was one everyone should watch, and they announced it over the loudspeaker. Needless to say most people were shocked.”
Do you have any exciting projects going on right now?
“I just released a very funny political spoof. I did a horror film called The Litch which just came out on video. I also just did an episode of Soul Pancakes Post Secrets which should be out soon. It is the second Soul Pancake project I did this year. I love those guys! Also, this football season tune into Fox Sports and you will see me in a new PSA for The #SEEHER campaign. You can bet I will be tuning in to watch my Eagles soar to another Super Bowl win ;).”
Many people say success correlates with the people you meet in your life. Can you describe two that most impacted your success and why.
“Number one has to be my mom. She is my biggest cheerleader in life. She also doubles as my coach, driver, and confidant. She always has my best interests at heart. The fact that she was willing to put her own life on hold and move to California so I could pursue my dream says it all about her.
“The other influential person in my life would be my Manager Matt Chassin. He opens a lot of great doors for me. He gets me on Red Carpets and invited to a lot of Hollywood functions. Those networking opportunities are fun and a great way to meet more people in the industry, which hopefully gets me on more sets!”
The concept of mind over matter has been around for years. A contemporary description of this is having mental toughness. Can you give us an example (or two) of obstacles you’ve overcome by getting your mind in the right place (some might call this reframing the situation)?
“I had a situation a few years ago that caused severe eye issues. I had lost my color vision and depth perception. I was temporarily legally blind. It would have been real easy to stay in bed and drop out of the film I was about to start shooting but I didn’t want to do that. I was the lead in the film, so I had about 100 pages of dialogue to memorize. I had my mother read the lines into a tape recorder so I could play them back and memorize them. This actually worked! We shot the film and you would never know I was struggling to see at the time.
“The other thing that is hard for me is my shyness. If I don’t already know you I tend to be shy. This can be a big negative in the audition room. The fact that you have to become another person and perform in front of a room full of strangers makes me nervous. It is very easy to feel powerless in that situation. Sometimes you get to an audition and there are a few dozen people there. You are all going out for the same role, so you have to stand out. You have to learn to push the shyness down and become the character you are auditioning for. The whole secret to acting is to not act, it is to BECOME the person.”
What are your “3 Lessons I Learned from My Most Memorable Failure?”
“The most important lesson I think I have learned in this business is always get in the room if you can. Don’t settle for a taped audition if you can possibly get in front of a casting director.
“The second most important lesson is that ‘on time’ means LATE in this business. It doesn’t matter how long they keep you waiting, if you keep them waiting one minute it counts against you. Even in L.A. where traffic is brutal you can’t be late. Use an app that has real time traffic updates.
“Third most important: If you travel for an audition and they are on a time crunch to cast the project stay over just in case.
“A few years back when I lived in Pennsylvania I was up for a recurring role on a what was to become a popular Hulu series. They were in a time crunch to cast the role. I auditioned in the morning and they said they would get back to us later that day about call-backs for the next day. I spent all day and evening killing time in NYC. It was snowing at 9 p.m. so we figured we would make the three-hour drive home since we didn’t hear anything.
“At midnight when we were five minutes from home we got the text for an 8 a.m. call-back. The role was between me and one other girl. They said it was OK to do a video audition since it was snowing and we were three hours away. In the end, the role went to the other girl because they felt she would never miss a day filming. We had been prepared to move to NYC had I gotten the role but not being there in person hurt me.”
What unfiltered advice can you give aspiring stars regarding how to avoid common mis-fires in starting their career?
“Grow a tough skin. No matter how good you are you will have rejection in the movie business. Sometimes you don’t have the right look, the right sound, or the right movements for a particular role.
“Don’t let the rejection change who you are. Turn that rejection into the power to improve your craft. Keep learning and training. Take every chance you have to get into the room and learn to treat getting into the room as a big accomplishment.”
What is the best lesson you learned from your worst boss?
“My worst boss was a young producer doing a student film. She was constantly late, sometimes by over an hour. She then had to set up. Actors were left sitting around wasting time for hours. She also never had enough food or water for the cast and crew (which was very small). So, I learned a few things from her. Always keep water in my bag and never be late, people don’t forget the time they spend waiting for you.”
What is one “efficiency hack” you use consistently in your life to keep your time and mind free to focus on your strengths and passions?
“This will sound really strange… I have extremely long thick hair that takes hours to dry. On the way to set or auditions I usually spray some Frizz-Ease in my hair and stick my head out of the sunroof while my Mom is driving. It dries my hair and leaves my curls soft. I also find it is very relaxing and peaceful for me to have the wind blowing on me right before an audition.
“All actors or musicians have sleepless nights. We have a term we use with our clients called the ‘2 a.m. moment.’ It’s when you’re wide awake and thinking not-so-positive thoughts about your business choices and future. Can you describe a 2 a.m. moment (or moments) you’ve had and how you overcame the challenges?
“Usually my 2 a.m. moment is all about ‘did I do the right thing leaving all my friends and family to move 3000+ miles away for my career?’ On nights when I don’t get a part I wanted it is easy to let this creep into my thoughts. I will usually text my bestie back home when I need some reassurance that I did the right thing. The nice thing is the time difference. My 2 a.m. moment is her 5 a.m. moment and she is usually getting ready for school at that hour.”
Nobody likes to fail, and we sure don’t like to admit we failed. Can you describe a moment when you confided your most closely-held business issues/problems to someone close to you, and how the conversation(s) helped you work through the issue?
“When I lost that co-star role that I really wanted I was really frustrated. I second guessed my mom’s choice to not stay over in NYC and I was second guessing my choice of acting. A day of binge-watching Law and Order and talking it out with my bestie Dianna made me see the light. After that I stopped taking failure personally and realized it is a part of this business. I always know something better is waiting for me after a failure.”
What’s on the drawing board for your next venture?
“I am currently the set photographer on an amazing series of films called Seven Short Films. It is directed and produced by an up-and=coming 17-year-old filmmaker.
“I will then be filming a short film in December that I am really excited about but can’t give details.
“I also have three features that I am slated to star in the future that are finishing up their funding. One is called A Different Class. It is an extremely powerful script. The current racial climate makes this the right time to get this movie made. I can’t wait to give this character a voice. It is going to be an amazing, empowering film. The other two are still under wraps.
What did we miss? Feel free to share any other thoughts or advice on overcoming failure, initiatives you’re currently supporting, any other relevant information you would like to share with the readers.
“Don’t be surprised if you see me out and about protesting for civil rights, serving food in a soup kitchen, marching to help preserve our environment, supporting LGBTQ equality, or helping to get out the vote. I intend to be even more vocal about my social activism in the future. Follow me on my social media to keep up to date with what I am currently doing!”
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
This was really awesome! Thank you so much for joining us!
Originally published at medium.com