EP 150: Paula DeLuise (autogenerated)
[00:00:00] Dane Reis: [00:00:00] you booked it. Episode one 50. Alrighty. Or let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Paula de Louise, are you ready for this Paula?
[00:00:13]Paula DeLuise: [00:00:13] I’m so ready. So ready.
[00:00:16]Dane Reis: [00:00:16] Right on Paula was born and raised on a long Island, New York as a child. She competed and was a national dance champion. Many times over holding regional and national titles. She has danced in many productions, which include Royal Caribbean cruise lines. Toured with
Lisa, Lisa Love, inc, and performed with.
[00:00:36] And sync Vegas credits include showing the sky at the Rio hotel and casino and as dance captain for Jerry Mitchell’s peep show at planet Hollywood. You also may have seen her on the last two episodes of season three’s ice loves Coco. In addition, Paula was an install director for celebrity cruise lines, as well as a producer and lead Vixen of cocoa and the vanity Vixens in 2010, she started organized and.
[00:01:05] Produced Broadway bears, Las Vegas, which was an annual event for five years to benefit Broadway cares slash equity fights AIDS. Currently, Paula is in New York city and has performed on Saturday night, live with Miley Cyrus and was dance captain swing and understudy for the Tony award winning director and choreographer, Jerry Mitchell and co choreographer.
[00:01:28] Nick cankles, new Broadway bound production of halftime at the Papermill play house. Most recently, Paula danced alongside rebel Wilson, Liam Hemsworth, Priyanka Chopra, Adam Devine, and Brendan Scott Jones in the final scene of the film. Isn’t it romantic Paula. That is a very condensed.
[00:01:52]Overview of who you are and what you’ve done, but why don’t you tell us a little bit more about yourself? Fill in the gaps and a little bit more about what you do as a professional in the entertainment industry.
[00:02:06]Paula DeLuise: [00:02:06] sure.
Well, first of all, thank you so much for having me. I’m very excited to be here with you. Um, like you
[00:02:12] Dane Reis: [00:02:12] Thanks for being here.
[00:02:13] Paula DeLuise: [00:02:13] Oh, no, thank you.
Um, like you said, I was born and raised on long Island, New York. My parents actually still live in the house I grew up in, which I find is rare these days. Um, I am the oldest of four girls, so I have three younger sisters, which we all grew up dancing, but I’m the only one who chose it as a career.
Um, I started dancing at the age of three and I trained in ballet tap, jazz and lyrical. Um, the studio that I trained at felt it was very important to, um, instill versatility in us and make sure we were REL well-rounded dancers, which now I find is such a helpful. Tool as a professional, um, to be versatile these days.
Um, so you’re so much more hireable when you’re a versatile and you can pick up any style that a choreographer throws at you. Um, so yes, I trained in all styles and I started competing when I was seven years old and I competed all the way up until I graduated high school. Um, there was a t-shirt that one of my friends had bought me from school.
Uh, that said I can’t, I have dance because. Anytime on the weekends, my friends from school were going to the movies or going to a party. I always had to say, I can’t, I have dance. We always had rehearsal on the weekends or dance competitions on the weekends. And right after school, I would go home and do my homework.
[00:03:32] And then,
you know, two hours later, I was at the dance studio all the way until 11 o’clock at night, and then come home shower, go to sleep, wake up and do it all again. Um, so I literally. Eat breathe and sleep dance growing up. Um, and so upon graduating high school, I did attend a Delphi university as a dance major.
[00:03:54]And after completing my freshman year, I decided I just wanted to get out there and audition. I felt I was young, my body was working and I wanted to work. So my parents and I came up with an agreement that I would take a year off from school and audition. And if I. Didn’t look anything out, go back to school for something else.
[00:04:16] So that may school ended the end of may. I went into the city and went to an audition for Royal Caribbean cruise line. And I’ll never forget that day. And I actually, I booked. My first audition and I started my
[00:04:34] Dane Reis: [00:04:34] Whoa. Cool.
[00:04:35] Paula DeLuise: [00:04:35] Yeah. I started my career at the age of 19. Performing in the production shows onboard their cruise ships.
[00:04:41] I got to travel the world, make friends with people from all over the world and get to do what I love and got paid to do it.
I mean, I was living the life at 19 years old. Um, I did that on and off for about seven years. And I’m still kicking it at age 40. So whether it be in musical theater or in a film or TV, as you stated, uh, or donating my time and talents at Broadway bares to benefit Broadway cares, equity fights AIDS, I’m still dancing.
um, I feel that’s what keeps me young. Right? Right? You’re only. As old as you feel. I think dancing is what has kept me going and what has kept me young. Um, I am currently living in Northern Westchester, so just an hour outside of New York city be with my husband and our beautiful 18 month old daughter. So, um, I am a mom now, as in addition to being a dancer, um, I took about two years off.
[00:05:35] I found. I got, I was pregnant.
Well, actually funny story, when I was filming isn’t it romantic? I was two weeks pregnant. I had no idea. Um, so yeah, so, um, right after filming, I felt. Without I was pregnant and I, you know, pretty much slowed down on the dancing. I was still teaching a bit and running auditions, but, um, I wasn’t really dancing myself and, and being a new mom, I don’t really get much time to myself.
So, um, these last 18 months have been dedicated to being a. Give his mommy. And so I felt towards the beginning of this year, um, my husband and I said, okay, you know, now is such a good time to start getting back into auditioning. And my agents were calling me with some auditions. So I started going and I thought, okay, this is great.
[00:06:21] 2020 is going to be my comeback year. It’s going to be fantastic. And I actually booked another movie. And of course it was supposed to film in March and COVID happened. I didn’t get to make my comeback. So,
So, uh, I’m, I’m really hoping that this is all over, you know, just like everybody else, um, sooner than later, so that I can have my comeback because I miss dancing.
It’s, it’s tough to be away for that long. You feel out of the loop. And, um, I’m just, um, I’m ready to start dancing again. So I’ve actually used this time to get back into shape and, um, taking virtual dance classes, which have been amazing. So many people have been doing Instagram live classes or zoom classes just to help one another.
And, and I think just as a creative outlet and, um, just to kind of. Still be in touch with one another. And it’s been helpful for me personally, to be able to have these tools so that I can get back into shape and, and continue with training so that when things do come back, I’m ready. yeah, I mean, that’s kinda my story right now.
[00:07:27] Dane Reis: [00:07:27] Yeah, brilliant. It’s a great story as well. And you have really done so many different things. Congrats on being a new mum. Uh, that’s great. my wife and I have a little girl she’s turning four next month. I can’t believe it. Yeah. Mind blowing.
Um, It sure does. Yeah. And it is also, you know, a challenge to be a parent and be in the arts for sure.
[00:07:54] But Hey, it’s one of those things that is possible. We work it out and you can have it all. That’s what I love about this industry. Right?
Right? It’s just what you want to make happen for your life. And also love that you won the, uh, the agreement with your parents. You’re like, you know what, not only am I going to win, I’m going to win on the first one and off you went.
[00:08:13] That’s so cool.
[00:08:15]Paula DeLuise: [00:08:15] I’m very lucky. I have a very strong support system within my family. And I think that is so important when you’re in that entertainment and industry and show business to have a strong support system because of all the rejection. Jen we face and the uncertainty in this business, it’s just so nice to have supportive family and friends and parents and siblings.
So, um, I have to say I’m very blessed and I was fortunate enough to grow up so close to New York city. It’s just a train ride away. Um, so I was able to
[00:08:49]live at home with my parents while going into the city for these auditions and. I always said, I admired most of the people that I met auditions, which are now some of my greatest friends.
Um, I, I admire them for picking up and leaving these. Other cities that they come from to move to New York and they just leave their families to come and pursue their dream. And it’s so hard at the end of the day, when you leave an audition and you feel rejected going home to an apartment that may be.
[00:09:22] You have a roommate that you don’t know that well, or it’s just different to go home to your parents or your family
when, when you’re feeling that rejection and you’re sad and upset, and it’s nice to have family as opposed to, you know, maybe nobody or just a roommate. And, um, I just, I admire anyone who.
[00:09:41]Dane Reis: [00:09:41] any of that.
[00:09:42] Paula DeLuise: [00:09:42] that in a, I just think that it takes courage to,
you know, just come to move to New York city with your suitcase and find an apartment and go to these auditions and try and find your side, her work and not have that support right there with. Phew. Um, so I, I feel very blessed and fortunate that I was able to have that and still do at age 40.
[00:10:05] My parents are still my biggest fans, you know?
you know? So, um, I just, yeah, I felt it was important to say that because people do, they, they up and leave wherever their hometown is and they come to New York and some people make it happen and sometimes it doesn’t, but it, you have to know that you made a bold choice to move to this.
[00:10:24] City and that in itself
is, is a huge reward. So yeah.
[00:10:29] Dane Reis: [00:10:29] Absolutely. Yeah. Thank you so much for saying that and acknowledging that for all the people that are out there, that also the listeners that are listening to this right now that are in that exact same situation for sure. And let’s move on to our first section here and. Look, I am a sucker for a good quote, Paula, what is it your favorite quote?
[00:10:56] You’d like to share with everyone.
[00:10:57] Paula DeLuise: [00:10:57] my favorite quote is life. Isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass and dance in the rain. And I don’t just love it because it says dance in it. I just feel it, especially now.
Um, it’s, it’s such a great quote and such wonderful words to
[00:11:18] Dane Reis: [00:11:18] wonderful.
[00:11:19]Paula DeLuise: [00:11:19] so it’s one of my favorites. I have a few, but that
[00:11:21]Dane Reis: [00:11:21]
[00:11:21]Paula DeLuise: [00:11:21] by far my favorite.
[00:11:22]Dane Reis: [00:11:22] Yeah, that is such a good quote. I haven’t heard that quote for a long time and you’re right. It is so pertinent for this time in history and
I mean really the word dance in that entire. Quote is, or it can be very literal of course. Right. Right. But it definitely plays the metaphor.
[00:11:41] Doesn’t it for having fun, letting go enjoying yourself. Yeah.
Well, let’s move on to this next section here. And Paula, of course, you’re an entertainer, I’m an entertainer. And I think that you’d agree that this industry can be one of the most subjective brutally, honest in personally emotional industries in existence. And you know, you know, as well as I, that in order to create and have a successful career in this industry, like you’re having now, it takes a lot.
[00:12:16] Of dedication and hard work. And while, yeah, there’s an outrageous amount of fun and excitement being an entertainer, doing what we do. There are also our fair share of obstacles, challenges, and failures. We are going to experience and we’re going to have to move forward through. So tell us, what is one key challenge, obstacle or failure you’ve experienced in your career and how did you come out the other side better because of it.
[00:12:42]Paula DeLuise: [00:12:42] So I obviously have faced many challenges. Like you said, this business
is, is full of them. Um, but I felt it’s important to do talk about the specific one, um, because I wish. I would have known this when I was starting out. And I, I feel like this could help so many others. Um, for the longest time I was the youngest in the cast that I worked with.
[00:13:10] So almost in my cruise ship contracts, I was the youngest and I always was hesitant to go for the dance captain position, which on cruise ships. It’s. A position that you have to interview for. So they don’t choose.
I mean, they make the choice after the interview, but they give everyone in the cast the opportunity to go and interview for the position.
[00:13:35] And I was always hesitant because I was the youngest and. And I thought, Oh,
well, I’m working with people who are older than me, or they’ve done it before. So why would they choose me on, on younger? And I I’ve, I’ve never done it before. So I never took the opportunity to go for the dance captain position.
[00:13:55]And I always thought I could do a great job
and, and I would have liked to have been the dance captain, but I always held back. And I always decided, Oh, I’m going to just take the wardrobe supervisor position or the wigs supervisor position. So I was still in a row, a managerial position. And I still had to create a laundry schedule.
[00:14:17] I still had to communicate with the home office in Miami. So I was still doing some of the same tasks, but I wasn’t the dance captain. And after my time on cruise ships, I decided it was time to put my feet on the ground if you will. And,
um, stay on land for a bit. I thought. That I would like to go for a teaching position for Royal Caribbean as a rehearsal director in their studios in North Miami.
[00:14:48] And when I expressed the interest to the home office, they sent me the application and we set up an interview time and I had to book a flight from New York to go down to Miami for this interview. And I filled out the application that they requested that I bring with me along with my headshot and resume and.
[00:15:07] The woman that I met with was looking over everything. And one of the questions was, have you ever been dance captain for us before? And I answered honestly and said no, because I hadn’t. And she looked at me and she said, I just assume that you had been dance captain for us because you’ve worked for us.
w w you know, for so long, and I said, no, I, I had never been to as Catherine. She said, well, I’m fine. Fortunately, that’s one of our requirements. You have had to have been a dance captain for us, or you held a director position with another company. And I didn’t have that experience because I danced for them on their cruise ships performing.
so, unfortunately she couldn’t hire me for the position. I may have been very qualified for it, but because I wasn’t dance captain, I couldn’t. Get the job. And I was, I left in tears. I was so upset because I was upset with myself for never going forward for the position and allowing myself the opportunity to possibly get it.
[00:16:06] I talked myself out of it, which then in turn, I wasn’t able to get this position that I wanted because I didn’t take those opportunities. To go for the dance captain position. And I was so upset and I felt like I wasted my time and my money on the flight. But what I really learned was never to be afraid to take a chance or go for something because you never know what could come of it.
[00:16:36] And. I took that. And after that,
um, I ended up living in Florida and taught dance at a private school. Um, the kids were able to take dance as an elective, but fulfilled a PE credit. So I taught middle and high schoolers, but I miss performing at that point. And I said, where can I go to do what I. Love to do, but not in New York city.
[00:16:58] And I thought Vegas and I always thought I was too short to dance in Vegas cause I’m five, three. And
you know, most, most of the older Las Vegas showgirl shows have taller dancers and
[00:17:12]Dane Reis: [00:17:12] there’s some tall
[00:17:13] Paula DeLuise: [00:17:13] nice. Yeah. And I said, you know what, I’m not going to let that. Hold me back and I’m going to take a chance and I subscribed to Vegas auditions.com and I saw that they were auditioning for show in the sky.
[00:17:24] They were turning it over to a new production company and they were revamped things shows, and they wanted a whole new cast. And I said, I think this is something I should go for. So you had to submit to. Who be invited to the audition. And I submitted, and I found out that I was asked to come to the audition.
[00:17:41] So I had to book a last minute flight, but I took the chance and I took the flight and I went out there and I ended up booking it. And I was so glad that I didn’t talk myself out of it because I thought I was too short and I just went for it. So moral of the story is you never know, just go for it. And even if it doesn’t work out for you, you’ll learn a lesson from it or you’ll get something out of it.
[00:18:09] You’ll make new friends.
You’ll, you’ll maybe audition for a producer or director that may keep you in mind for another project. So just always go for it. And in working in doing a lot of volunteer work for Broadway cares, equity fights AIDS, for sure. works in the office. She runs the strip athon every year that we do for Broadway bears.
[00:18:31] And the one thing that she tells us when we were doing,
um, our fundraising thing, she said, you don’t ask the answer is always no. And I take that with me, for everything. I apply it to everything because what’s the worst that’s going to happen. Someone’s just going to say no, but if you don’t ask, you’re always going to wonder why, and you’re never going to know.
[00:18:51] So if you don’t ask, yes, the answer is always going to be. But at least if you ask or you take that chance, you’ll know. So that’s my advice on that, but that was my one challenge. And my one obstacle was not taking a chance. And in this business, you have to take chances.
[00:19:09]Dane Reis: [00:19:09] Yes, Paula, thank you so much for all of that. That entire section was absolute gold. I am so happy that you said that, and this is why I think. This is what it’s becoming apparent to me, how important this podcast is becoming for our industry and people that are aspiring to create careers in this industry, people that are in this industry looking to navigate it or get more out of it.
[00:19:34]That advice is insanely good. You’re right. You have to go out there and look, this industry is so crazy. There are so many things that are out of our control. We have to really capitalize on the moments that we can control. And you have to say yes to those opportunities. If you want that thing, go get it.
[00:19:54] See what happens you have to try, because that in fact is a very huge thing that you can control. So take hold of it.
Don’t don’t cut yourself out of the picture prematurely. go see what can happen. And if it works out, it works out, it works out. And if it doesn’t, Hey, like you said, you still learn something from that.
[00:20:12] Or I’ve had other guests on this podcast that have said, I went in for this audition. They said, you know what? That was great, love what you did with that song. You are not right for this project, but I’m going to send you in for this one. And that happens in the room. And it’s a real thing.
[00:20:28]Paula DeLuise: [00:20:28] Yes,
[00:20:29] Dane Reis: [00:20:29] So always put yourself out there.
[00:20:32] yes. Thank you so much because that is such a valuable section.
[00:20:36] Paula DeLuise: [00:20:36]
Well, yes, I felt it was so important to share that. And that goes along with my favorite quote is of course we’re we’re all right now feeling this, that things aren’t always going to go. According to plan. And instead of sitting around and feeling sorry for yourself, we’re waiting for things to hopefully get better, choose to find that little bit of law.
[00:20:56]Like amongst the darkness, that little glimmer of hope and see the positive in this situations. And that will help see you through, because in this business, like you said, there so many unknowns, so much uncertainty, we face so much rejection. And if we let all those things consume us and. Put a negative effect on us.
[00:21:16] You’re going to quit and you have to go into, to all these auditions with a positive mindset, taking it as an opportunity. [ for free class or just opportunity to dance. And you might, like you said, not be right for that particular show, but you never know, sitting behind that table who was working on another project that you might be right for.
[00:21:39] And it’s so easy for us to get discouraged after an audition that we may have been cut from that you have to think. That audition may not have worked out because there is something, another opportunity that is waiting for you that might be better, that you’re, you are a better fit for. And now more than ever, I’m applying this quote to my daily life.
Um, you know, my husband is, uh, head prop men for Diana, the musical, the princess, Diana musical. And so he’s been out of work since. March 12th. And the two of us have been home since March 12th. And we’re finding that we would have never gotten this time, had this not happened. So we’re using this time.
[00:22:23] We’re finding the positive, the silver lining in that we’re getting so much family time together. And we bought a house last September and we’re getting so many home projects done things that we would never have had time. Four. And who knows what the future holds? I wish we had a crystal ball, but,
um, we never know if we are ever going to have this time again.
we’re, we’re trying to turn it into a positive and, and just enjoy this time together. So yeah, absolutely. That, that quote holds true for everything.
[00:22:55]Dane Reis: [00:22:55] for sure. And it’s so good to hear that you are capitalizing on it.
You know, we, in the beginning of this whole COVID craziness, I can imagine you were like most everyone else that it was super scary, freaking out a bit, but then. As you realized, Hey, this is, this is kind of kind of what it’s going to be for a minute.
Let’s let’s really try to focus on the positives. Where are the silver linings? Because again, it goes back to ? What can you control? And if you stick in, if you live in that mindset, you’re going to be much better for it. And much more successful, not just professionally, but also in your personal wellbeing.
[00:23:31]Paula DeLuise: [00:23:31] Absolutely.
[00:23:32]Dane Reis: [00:23:32] Great.
Well, let’s move on to a time that I like to call your spotlight moment. That one moment in time you realized, yes, I am going to be an entertainer for a living or maybe it was, yes. This is what I need to be doing as an entertainer. Tell us about that.
[00:23:54]Paula DeLuise: [00:23:54] So again, I feel very lucky and blessed because I knew at an early age that I wanted to be a professional dancer.
Uh, when I was in sixth grade, we had to write down what we wanted to be when we grew up for them to put it in our sixth grade end of year. For your book. And I wrote that I wanted to be a professional dancer and it’s so funny because when I run into people, I went to elementary and high school and junior high school with, they all say I still have my sixth grade year book.
[00:24:25] And I look back and I say, Paula’s knew that. She wanted to be a professional dancer and that’s exactly what she’s doing. And I just, I look back and I laugh. I say, yeah, no,
I, I knew what I wanted to be. And I knew what I wanted to do, and I didn’t let anything get in my way or stop me from doing exactly what I said I was going to do.
[00:24:46] And. Again, growing up on long Island, we were so close to New York city. My parents always took us into the city to see Broadway shows, and I’ll never forget the first show that I saw that I truly remember saying to myself. That’s what I want to do. The stages where I want to be was crazy for you. I saw it in 1992 with Karen Ziemba and that was the moment that I realized I want to be on the stage.
[00:25:12] And for a while I toyed with being an architect, I took all architecture courses throughout high school, and I even looked into architecture schools to go for college. And my dad brought me, bought me a drafting table and all that. All of my triangles and my T square and all these pencils. And
I, I went and saw another Broadway show and I said, dad, I’m so sorry, but I want to be a dancer.
[00:25:40] And he said, No need to be sorry, but I think like his heart broke a little bit. Cause he was so excited that I wanted to be an architect,
but you know, like I said, I had such, I have such supportive parents that he was like, okay, we’re gonna switch gears and let’s start looking at schools for dance. And that’s how we found that Delphi university.
[00:25:58] But I knew when I was 12 years old, that this is what I was going to do. And,
um, I, I wasn’t letting anything get in my way. And. The moment that I, I really realized this is what I need to continue to be doing was, after I left a Delphi, there was a little lag time between when I auditioned for Royal Caribbean, when they actually called me to go onto the ship.
[00:26:20] And so in between those few months, I did the. This world cup opening ceremonies. When I dance with him sink and I got to perform in front of 35,000 screaming fans.
[00:26:34] And let me tell you the adrenaline and the feeling was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. And at age 19 dancing for that amount of people with N sync was just the best feeling.
[00:26:48]I said, I need, this is what I need to continue with. I am on the right path and this is what I need to do.
And, and I just knew it. And that that’s how it all happened. Yeah. Pretty amazing.
[00:26:57]Dane Reis: [00:26:57]
So, so cool. Yeah. I really like that I forgot to ask you this earlier, when you started talking about your career and working with Royal Caribbean, and you just mentioned it again. And I wanted to, I wanted to just get a little short opinion of your experience on cruise ships and how you feel about cruise ships as a market for entertainers to perform on
[00:27:19]Paula DeLuise: [00:27:19] Oh, absolutely. So I did it for seven years. So if that tells you anything,
I, I had a great experience. It truly depends on the company. Somebody work for, um, I’ve only worked for Royal Caribbean. I then went on to teach for celebrity later on, um, a few years ago, but they are sister companies. So in a sense, you are working for Royal Caribbean when you’re working for celebrity and celebrity, when you’re working for Royal Caribbean.
[00:27:42] I think it’s such a great experience, especially. For performers who are just starting out in their career, it is such a great stepping stone to give you that experience of being part of a production. If you have never been,
over and over and over and over.
[00:28:15] It keeps your, keeps you on your toes. I think that’s where it really helped me become a swing and several of the shows that I’ve done and it takes a certain person to be a swing. And I think. Cruise ships, being able to perform different shows in the same week really helped my mind to be able to switch gears so quickly.
Um, but it really gave me all the tools that I needed to start my career and start it successfully. And I, I personally think that it’s. Now more than ever if cruise ships come back before Broadway, I mean, why wouldn’t you go and work on a cruise ship to make money and do what you love? You know? Um,
[00:28:54]but I, I truly think for sure, Royal Caribbean has state of the art theaters there, their technology on that.
[00:29:02]On the shifts are just as good, if not better than some of the Broadway theaters and,
um, their production quality is, is very, very, very good. It they’re difficult shows. They’re not easy. You’re not doing the running man in a g-string. You are working your butt off and, um, I, I really enjoyed it. And like I said, I have friends all over the world.
[00:29:22] Now. It was such a positive experience for me. Of course. Like any other job you have your ups and downs. There are things that maybe not, may not be so glamorous or exciting about working on a cruise ship, because you do have your ship duties. Not only are you a performer,
but, but safety reasons you have another. Position on the ship as a muster station leader. So you’re in charge of 150 guests. God forbid an emergency happens. So there are things like that that might not feel so glamour, but that comes along with working on a cruise ship here in the middle of the ocean. You want to be able to save your life and others as well.
Um, but for the most part, I think it’s such a great stepping stone, or maybe that’s all you do in your career and you know what that’s okay. Because you are a working professional. I have to say there have been times where we’ve done decrease after the show. So we’re standing at the entrance. Or the exit when guests are leaving the show and, you know, just thanking them for coming to the show and they feel it’s a neat experience because they’re getting to see the performers up close and personal, and many times they’ll come over to you and say, Oh, that was such a wonderful show.
[00:30:29] You guys are also talented. You should really consider doing this professionally. And we’re like, we are, we get paid to do this. And are. Professionals. If you get paid to do
what you, what you’re doing, you are a professional. So, um, I, I think I had a great experience. It, it’s not for everybody, you know, you are living in close quarters, you live with the people you work with.
[00:30:50] So if you’re the type of person that needs your privacy, it may not be the right fit for you. But overall,
I, I think it’s. Uh, a fantastic job for a performer. Um, especially like I said, starting out in your career, or if you’re on the road to retirement, you just want to ship and be able to do your shows, but still travel and save some money.
[00:31:13] It’s a great way to retire too. So I’m all for it. I think it’s great.
[00:31:20]Dane Reis: [00:31:20] Brilliant. Yeah. Thanks. Thank you for that little tangent and explaining that because. Even today. I feel like a lot of people still give ships a bit of a negative stigma. And
I, I personally had a brilliant time on ships and for all the same reasons that you think that they’re so good. I also agree with that.
[00:31:39] They really are a brilliant place to train. You. Get more reps on stage. You get to work on different styles. You never get bored. You get to travel, you make money.
I mean, The checklists keep getting hit. I think down in, down the list as you go. It’s it’s really good. Are they for everyone? No, for sure. Not right, but that’s okay.
[00:31:57] But the other thing is that I like about them. Your contracts are usually seven months including rehearsals, right? So give it a go. What seven months isn’t that long in your life, if you realize after seven months,
you know, it ships aren’t really my thing. Worst case scenario. You saved a bunch of money and you got to see the world and you made some great friends.
[00:32:17] Paula DeLuise: [00:32:17] exactly. I
[00:32:18] Dane Reis: [00:32:18] There you go. All right. Well,
Well, let’s get back on track a little bit and piggyback on that last question. And let’s talk about your number one, booked it moment. Walk us through that day, the auditions and callbacks, if they happen to be a part of it, but what was going on in your life. And what about that moment?
[00:32:41] Makes it your favorite book? That moment?
[00:32:44]Paula DeLuise: [00:32:44]
Well, I feel like we’ve been talking about this now, uh, for a bit, but it was my role Caribbean audition because it was the first one and I was 19 and I hadn’t really auditioned for anything before. And I remember. Taking the train getting up at like five o’clock in the morning. I think it was to do my hair and makeup and make sure I had my bag packed with all my shoes and my headshot and my resume.
[00:33:09] And I took the train it’s about an hour and 15 minute train ride.
Um, we’re from where my parents live to Penn station. And then I remember walking to the studio and I, I cannot remember the name of the studio at the time, but I remember walking up and see. In a line of female dancers all the way wrapped around the block.
[00:33:31] And I
[00:33:31] was like, Oh my goodness, there was at least 200, 200 girls at the audition. And so I just got in line and I stood and I waited and I, thankfully I was within the first group, they brought in a hundred girls at a time. And,
uh, Uh, I was in the first group and I remember they brought us in and they gave us, um, a studio where we could warm up and kind of get ourselves ready.
[00:33:54] And then they quickly took us into the studio where the audition was. And I remember being in the warmup room, looking at all these super tall leggy girls and I was getting so timid. I thought that I should probably leave at that point. And I said, Nope, you came here, you got up, you got ready. You’re going to stay here.
[00:34:11] You made a deal with your parents. You. Have to do you have to do this, you have to stay. And so I stayed and we went into the room and they had us just go across the floor just so they can weed out to make sure you had technique. And we literally just did step by step, bottom up all the way across the floor.
[00:34:28] And of course, again, in my head, I’m thinking there’s all these long leggy girls kicking their faces. And here I am By the time, of course, they pair me with one of the tallest girls and I’m thinking in my head, Oh my gosh, I’m so not getting this. So
they, they had us first hundred go, we went across the floor and they called out numbers and my number was called and I was like, there’s no way they must’ve made a mistake.
[00:34:51] And so I said,
well, they called my number. I’m going to stay. So they told us to come back into ours. So I said, okay, I got to go find something to do for them. Two hours still kind of stay in the studio and I wanted to stay warm and make sure I didn’t miss anything. If they made an announcement, I wanted to be in the studio still.
[00:35:09] So I stayed and
they, they brought in the next a hundred girls and then he saw all the guys. And so it was a good long two hours. And then they brought us back into the room. So from 200 girls, they narrowed it down to about 50. So they brought all 50 of us in and we learned a combination. And it was a fun, like jazzy combination, again, just to see style and technique and to see how you perform.
[00:35:34] So we did the combination, we did it three at a time. And at that point it was feeling more confident because I said, okay, I made it pass if it has nothing to do with my height clearly. So
I’m, I’m, I, I’m just gonna be more confident and I’m going to stay positive and I can do this. And so we did the first combination.
[00:35:52] Another cotton. They kept 25 of us. And then
they, they said, okay, go outside and wait, we’re going to bring the guys in. So then he brought the guys in, the guys learned a combination, they made a cut. Then they brought all the girls and guys in and we learned another combination. And so now they started the audition at 10:00 AM and then.
[00:36:14] Here it is about, I think it was like 4:00 PM. By the time we came in to learn that second combination with the guys. So then we learned another fun combination, lots of jumps turns, kicks, and they decided to make another cut. And so from twenty-five girls, they narrowed it down to
like 15 of us and the same thing with the guys.
[00:36:36]And then they had us, I think we learned like three more combinations by the end of it. It was. 6:00 PM. I was
[00:36:43] exhausted so sweaty. It was a very long day, but because their shows are so diverse and some of them, they are now doing musicals, but most of their shows are review shows. So you have to be able to do all different styles, which is why it felt so important at the beginning of our interview to say, versatility.
[00:37:04] So important and making sure that you’re not a one trick pony,
um, that you are so much more hireable. If you are able to adapt to any style that is thrown at you. And I was so thankful that day, that, that I had all the training that I did because otherwise I probably would have never have gotten that far in the audition.
So. Again, here it is six o’clock. They finally said, okay, we’re not going to teach you anymore. Um, they sat us down. They gave us some paperwork to look over. They showed us a brief video of what a shift blade ship life is like. That’s a little tongue twister. Um, and you know, just a brief bit about the company and.
[00:37:38] I’ll never forget Mark Dao and Sherry zonker there.
Um, from Chicago, Sherry’s dunker was a Fauci dancer and she’s also, uh, she was part of, they were both part of river, North company in Chicago. Um, he came over to me and he said, so how old are you? And I thought, Oh no, if I say the wrong answer, like, am I not going to get the job?
[00:37:57] And I said,
well, no team, because you have to, you had to have been 18 to, to work on a ship. So I said, 19, You know, and You know, and he said, wow. He said, you’re that good? When you’re 19 said, I cannot wait to see you when you get older. And I was just like, Oh my gosh. Like, even if they don’t call me ever those words alone, I said, I made it, I did it.
[00:38:16] And so that,
that, that audition, like I said, it was a long exhausting day, but it, it definitely was the day that I felt like was my booked at moment. and. Obviously moving on peep show and working, being able to work with Jerry Mitchell and Nick Hinkle. And then again with the two of them for halftime, those are two incredible booked at moments.
Um, from when I was 19 years old, I wanted my equity card. I want it to be equity. You so bad, because like I said, in between auditioning for Royal Caribbean and actually getting the phone call with the contract and what should they wanted me to go work on? I had continued auditioning and I audition for Saturday night fever because that was on Broadway at the time.
[00:39:00]I had gotten
called back and called back and called back for that show. And finally it was down to me and another girl for a replacement and they had called me. In for the final round. And they said to me, at the end of my audition, they said, um, you’re amazing. And you’re really great, but you’re too short.
[00:39:20] And I just wanted to cry because I said, you had me go through all of this just to tell me I was too short. Like
Like didn’t, you know, you know, from the minute you saw me that I was too short, But I was so grateful for the opportunity to be able to audition and, and get that experience and sing. And let me tell you a singing as is not my favorite.
[00:39:37] I definitely prefer dancing, but I,
you know, I have trained in singing, probably not as much as I would have liked to have and I should have, but, um, to be able to get through the singing. Portion of audition and to get called back was a huge deal for me. So that in itself was rewarding. Um, even though I didn’t book it.
[00:39:57] And I remember being on the train on my way, home that day, and I was hysterically crying, talking to
my mom, my mom. And she said, well, actually Christie from Royal Caribbean called and she left a brief message saying that, you know, they, they would like for you to. Be to go in 10 days. And I said, Whoa, what?
[00:40:12] Dane Reis: [00:40:12] Whoa,
[00:40:14] Paula DeLuise: [00:40:14] that’s how, that’s why you may, something may not work out for you. And it’s for a reason. And I did not meant to go work on cruise ship and start my career that way. And, um,
um, so that’s another reason why I’ll never forget that day. Um, Was because Royal Caribbean really pulled through for me.
[00:40:31] And that’s why,
you know, I think it’s such a great opportunity because it was for me. So that was my moment. But, I did want my equity card so bad because I was going to these Broadway auditions. And as I’m sure, you know, you have to be union to go to these auditions. And you can go to the audition, but you’ll sit around and wait to see if they’re going to see non-union.
[00:40:54] And I would sit around and we called it crashing the equity audition because we would go, we would put our name on the list and then we would sit around
and wait and wait to see if they would possibly see non-union. And that’s how I’ve made. So many of my friends. We would all go to these auditions together and sit and wait together.
um, That in itself was an amazing experience. Just, you know, creating friendships with other dancers that were crashing, right. Equity, auditions, but I wanted my equity card so bad so that I could go to these auditions without. Crashing them. And most of them we would get seen, or they would at least take a headshot to do some type casting, but I still wanted it so badly.
[00:41:34] And then it wasn’t until after moving to Vegas and getting it to show in the sky. And then peep show was in Vegas and I auditioned for peep show and getting into peep show. I finally at age 30, got my equity card and,
um, it’s been. Now, so helpful being back in New York, being equity, inequity member, um, and being able to go to these auditions and not worrying about crashing the audition and waiting around all day.
[00:41:59] And I feel for the dancers
that that do now, especially when I walk into those audition rooms and I see them all sitting there and, you know, some people may say like, well, what are they doing in here? They’re, they’re taking up our space, um, you know, for warming up and I get that part of it, but then I also feel for them because. I was one of them. We were all them at one point. getting peep show is another huge booked at moment, um, to, to be able to work with Jerry Mitchell and Nick Hinkle and to get my equity card for sure. Um, but yeah, those, those were my booked at moments, I would say
[00:42:31] Dane Reis: [00:42:31] Yeah. Yeah. I love it. And let’s take a moment to talk about the present. What projects are you working on now? What are you looking forward to? And it’s a crazy time, right? We’re a bit this global pandemic. How do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years?
[00:42:51]Paula DeLuise: [00:42:51] So I’m going to be selfish and saying right now I’m working on myself.
Um, because all we do have right now is time. So I have that time to be able to work on myself, getting back into shape, taking the Instagram live dance classes and zoom dance classes. Um, And just getting back to myself and, um, being ready for those auditions for when things do start up again and I’m looking forward to things starting up again, so I can have my comeback moment.
Um, but. Yeah, that that’s pretty much what I’m working on. Now. I also started two and a half years ago. I started my own wedding day, me. Um, so that’s been keeping me very busy as well because that’s another industry that got hit very hard during all of this and most of my couples, as well as. Other couples have had to postpone their weddings for this year, for next year or even the year after.
[00:43:45] So I’m getting a lot of bookings for next year.
Um, so that’s been keeping me very busy as well. Um, and my daughter, Ava has been keeping me very busy. So that’s, I’m working on being the best money I can be for my daughter. Um, but. You know, it’s, it’s hard to say how I see the entertainment industry moving forward.
Um, like I said, I wish we had a crystal ball, but all I can say is that for sure, New York city, but performance it’s all over the world are some of the most resilient people. And there’s such a strong sense of community and community pottery, especially in New York city that when. Broadway. And when things do come back, it’s going to be better than ever.
[00:44:27] And I cannot wait because everyone has all this creativity this time to get more creative and. All this energy that when it does come back, it’s just going to be like fireworks, like an explosion. And
it’s, it’s going to be amazing and people need it to come back and we need this to come back because it’s culture.
It’s, it’s an outlet for people and people need to be entertained. And yes, we have the TV and movies and Netflix and Hulu and all those wonderful, Outlets at home, but there’s nothing like live entertainment. And so I wish I could say, Oh, it’s going to come back, you know, in may, but we don’t know. And, and I just, I just know that when it does happen, it’s going to be amazing and watch out everyone and get your tickets now because it’s, it’s just going to be something special.
[00:45:17]Dane Reis: [00:45:17] I really like your insight. And I think it’s so good that you’re taking your time for yourself because that’s, again, what we can control in this moment. Hey, and. It is time to move on to one of my favorite sections in the interview. I call it the grease lightning round. I am going to ask you a handful of questions.
[00:45:37] I want you to answer them as quickly and concisely as possible one after another. Are you ready?
[00:45:43]Paula DeLuise: [00:45:43] I am ready. Let’s go.
[00:45:45]Dane Reis: [00:45:45] All right. First question. What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer? second question. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
[00:46:01]Paula DeLuise: [00:46:01] Okay. This is going to probably sound cliche and silly.
Uh, but my parents told me this and instilled this in me and my sisters. And always follow your dreams. Like I said, they’ve been my biggest cheerleaders and fans, my whole life. They have been my biggest support system, which like I said, is so important in this business.
[00:46:19]And , it just sticks with me even now at age 40, like I said.
Um, but another very important piece of advice is that you never know. Oh, who is watching and you never know who’s who and who talks to who in this business. It’s so important to be pleasant, to work with, to have a good reputation, because reputation is everything in this business.
[00:46:42] You can have all the talents in the world, but if you are not pleasant to work with, you will not work.
Uh, people do talk. Um, and like I said, you never know. Who’s watching who’s. In her room watching you take class or who came to a performance that you don’t know about. And, and they may be looking for somebody to cast in that show that they came to see, um, working on another project.
[00:47:03] And if you’re up there,
you know, marking the show, then they’re definitely not going to hire you. So. Being pleasant to work with and, uh, having a good reputation is definitely another great piece of advice that I received.
[00:47:19]Dane Reis: [00:47:19] Yes. So good. And the third question, what is something that is working for you right now? Or if you’d like to go pre COVID, what was working for you before our industry went on? Pause.
[00:47:33]Paula DeLuise: [00:47:33]
well, , um, I’ll have to talk pre COVID as well as pre-baby. Um, but I also do apply this in my everyday life as well. I’ll end with my, um, wedding coordinating business, attention to detail and being reliable is what has really been working for me. Um, trying to anticipate what it is.
[00:47:52]Choreographer or a director is going to ask or need before they even say it or even think that they need it.
Um, that’s one of the reasons why. I feel, um, the dance captain role has been something that I have taken on for the last few, uh, shows that I have worked on is, is because of my attention to detail and because I am reliable or so I’ve been told, um, I also treat everyone with respect and try to create a fun and positive environment.
Uh, I try to organize other activities outside of the show, whether it’s a food or toy drive or the birthday cake club, um, at peep show, funny story. And we’re trying to keep this lightning grease lightning fast. But, um, this is funny. So at peep show, I would keep a little plastic drawer set. I, my dressing station with some snacks, because I would be there for rehearsals all day.
[00:48:43] And so on a break, I would quickly run around and get a protein bar or,
you know, a little bag of pretzels or something. And so I always kept them in, in my drawer. And. Some people found out I had this little drawer and they would come in and, and ask, can I have a snack? And of course, I’m going to say yes, well then I would go open my drawer the next time.
[00:49:01] And there would be no snacks. So I started giving extra stock to my little snack drawer, and then I would find there was no snacks the next time I would go in. And so I brought in another bigger,
uh, set of plastic drawers and I. Stockton. I went to Sam’s club and I bought the biggest box of small bags of pretzels I could find and granola bars and protein bars.
I, I stacked it up and everyone said, you know what? We should call this Paul Green instead of Walgreens. And I kept like, you know, I mean like, you know, I mean emergency stuff in there and band-aids and tissues and everything. And so after a year of having Paul Green
[00:49:38] Dane Reis: [00:49:38] Okay.
[00:49:38] Paula DeLuise: [00:49:38]
um, the cast. That they would, uh, monthly take up a collection and they would all help contribute to Paul greens.
[00:49:44] So I just, I believe
in, in having a positive and in creating a positive environment and a fun working environment, and I think that’s one thing that works for me is I, I truly genuinely. They care about others and want them to always have a positive experience. Um, even if it’s at my own expense. So that’s one thing I think is, has worked for me and I think will continue hopefully to work for me.
[00:50:10]Dane Reis: [00:50:10] for sure. And the fourth question, what is your best resource? Whether that is a book, a movie, a YouTube video, maybe a podcast or a piece of technology that you found is helping your career right now.
[00:50:24]Paula DeLuise: [00:50:24] In all honesty, something that has helped me right now, but also in the past is the actor’s fund. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the actor’s fund, but they have been such a helpful resource. Myself. And I know so many others, especially during this crazy time,
um, the actor’s fund foster stability and resiliency, and provides a safety net for performing arts and entertainment professionals over their lifespan.
Um, so if you’re ever in need of any help, whether it be for health insurance, or housing, or even a career. Transition or just anything they offer such great counseling. Just go to the actress fund.org and you’ll find so many different resources for anything that you might need. Um, I use them for career transitions for dancers.
[00:51:10] Which was a grant that I received to be able to take my online course to get certified for wedding and event planning. So they will help you think about their transition because,
you know, at some point we’re all going to have to make that transition. And it’s so nice to have a resource of professional. All performers that it can help you make that transition a little bit easier and have that support system to help you make the right decision. They give you some career counseling and making the right decision of. What might be the best path for you when you’re making that transition? So, um, the actor’s fund has truly been a helpful resource for me.
[00:51:48] And I’m going to say,
uh, the, you booked it podcast has definitely been helpful. It’s something that I’ve been listening to for the last few months now.
[00:51:56] Dane Reis: [00:51:56] to for the last few months now
[00:51:58]Paula DeLuise: [00:51:58] have to say thank you
for, for starting this, because it truly is so helpful, especially now more than ever. So thank you.
[00:52:06]Dane Reis: [00:52:06] Oh, you’re welcome. Thank you.
That, that means a lot. Thank you so much for that. Yeah.
[00:52:10] Paula DeLuise: [00:52:10] Yeah.
[00:52:10] Dane Reis: [00:52:12] And let’s get into the fifth question. If you had to start your career from scratch, but you still had all the knowledge and experience you’ve collected from your career in this industry, what would you do or not do? Would you do anything differently or would you keep it the same?
[00:52:30]Paula DeLuise: [00:52:30] So I would have to say, I would keep everything the same. I have no regrets on any of the decisions I’ve made or the choices or the opportunities that I have been presented with.
Um, the one thing that I would. Do differently is I would take more vocal lessons and start them a lot sooner than I did, um, because I would love to be more confident in my singing.
[00:52:51] And I think that I could work even more if I was more confident with my singing. So that would be the one thing for sure.
[00:53:00] Dane Reis: [00:53:01] And the last question, what is the golden nugget knowledge drop you’ve learned from your successful career in this industry? You’d like to leave with our listeners.
[00:53:11]Paula DeLuise: [00:53:11]
Well, I have said it before, but I’m, I’m going to reiterate
[00:53:13] it because it is so important.
[00:53:15] being versatile, being adaptable, being prepared and being patient are so important in this industry.
Um, like I said, being versatile so that you can be more hireable so that you can work so much more if
[00:53:30] you’re a well-rounded performer.
[00:53:31] And like I said, not a one trick pony being able to pick up and adapt to any style, a choreographer throws at you. So valuable, especially if you’re part of a workshop or a new original production where things are constantly changing from one day to the next,
um, being adaptable is so important and being prepared as crucial, not only prepared with the right shoes or a tire or your headshot and resume, but do your research know who you are?
[00:53:57] Auditioning for and what you are auditioning for with the internet and the knowledge literally at your fingertips, there is no excuse to not do your research.
Um, also know that your body language and how you present yourself at auditions is very important. They know the minute you walk into a room, what kind of performer and person you are, they watch how you pick up choreography.
[00:54:21] really focus on how you present yourself as a performer. And one last little thing I want to say.
Um, I had mentioned her before Sherry’s dunker. Uh, I had worked with. At Royal Caribbean. Um, she’s amazing. She said something to us, uh, when we were working with her that I will take with me and I, I say it to anybody that I work with.
[00:54:43] She told us to color within the lines and I had to sit there and think for a second. And. What she means is a choreographer is going to give you the choreography. And those are the lines.
Like, I don’t know if you remember, or like a coloring book, right? You get the outline and then you, you take your crayons and you color in, well, well, the choreography is the outline, but your personality is the color that you choose.
[00:55:09] You get to add your personality, but you don’t get to change the choreography. So that. That is so important when you’re working with choreographers is
you don’t, you don’t have the right to change their choreography, but you do get to add your personality to it. So always color within the lines. And finally, um, being patient is.
[00:55:27]Just know that nothing happens overnight. You have to put in the time, the dedication and the hard work don’t get discouraged and give up after the first. No, because you’re going to get 10 nos for every one. Yes, you get so be patient with yourself. Allow yourself though those rejections, because it’s going to build you up and give you that tough, thick skin that you need to really survive and thrive in history.
[00:55:53]And I will leave you with those words.
[00:55:56] Dane Reis: [00:55:56] ah, so good. And I really, all of that was gold by the way, for everyone, please rewind that. But I really like the imagery of coloring within the lines. Really great.
[00:56:08] Okay. And to wrap up this interview, Paula, it is time to give yourself a plug. Where can we find you? How do our listeners connect with you?
[00:56:17] Is there anything you want to promote?
[00:56:20]Paula DeLuise: [00:56:20] Yes,
uh, on social media, you can find me on Facebook, on Paula dealer, Louise I’m on Instagram. I am at princess Pula. Um, or my website is dot com. Um, if you are getting married, um, or interested in managing business, you can find me on Facebook, uh, the best day ever events and on Instagram, um, at the best day ever events by Paula and the website is the best day ever events.com and my husband and I through this have started a little
[00:56:52] Dane Reis: [00:56:52] started
[00:56:53] Paula DeLuise: [00:56:53] The balloon business. We make balloon arrangements for people. We wanted to bring some joy to everyone in our town. And
I mean, we do travel a little bit, um, to deliver, but, uh, we wanted to just spread some joy during this crazy time and bring some people, some smiles. So we, we ha we make balloon arrangements, whether it be for a birthday.
you know, any occasion and, um, so that’s called let’s Flamingo balloons and we are on Instagram at let’s Flamingo balloons.
[00:57:21]Dane Reis: [00:57:21] Brilliant. And for everyone listening out there, I have put the links to everything. Paula just said into the description of this episode. So you can easily connect with her and be sure to share this podcast with your fellow entertainers, coaches, art and entertainment educators, when anyone really, anyone, you know,
you know, aspiring to create.
[00:57:45] A career in this industry, you booked, it is the number one resource of expertise on how to actually create a successful career in this industry case in point, look at everything that just got said in this episode with Paula, everything she gave you. And as of today, there are now 150 other episodes of other fantastic guests that have their own unique insights and really those core fundamentals of what creates.
[00:58:13]A successful career in this industry. So please, if you enjoy this episode, subscribe, share it. So you don’t miss tomorrow’s Paula. Thank you so much for being here. It’s been an absolute pleasure having you on
[00:58:26]Paula DeLuise: [00:58:26]
Well, thank you for having me. And it was an absolute pleasure speaking with you, and I wish everyone out there, the best of luck and stay safe and healthy. Please wear your masks.