EP 34: Alyssa Gray (autogenerated)
Dane Reis: [00:00:00] You booked it, episode 34, Hey, entertainers and performers of the world. I’m your host, Dane Reis, and welcome to you. Booked it. Where I chat with inspiring entertainers, seven days a week by digging into their journey. We’re going to discover everything you need to do to be a successful entertainer, you know?
[00:00:25] Cause. Training, usually skips that part about how to actually make your skills work for you in the real world. Fellow entertainers, my drive here at you booked it is to share the inspiring and incredible journeys of successful entertainers. We are here to support your journey. So go to youbookeditpodcast.com and join the, you booked it, email community, where we dig deep into truly actionable things you can be doing right now to help you book that next audition, submission or gig.
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[00:01:22] Let’s do this. All righty. Let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Alyssa gray. Alyssa, are you ready for this?
[00:01:34] Alyssa Gray: [00:01:34] I am.
[00:01:35] Dane Reis: [00:01:35] Oh, right. Alyssa was born and raised in San Francisco, California, where she fell in love with the aerial arts at the age of nine. Alyssa began performing professionally when she was just 16 years old, shortly after she moved to Japan to perform for Tokyo Disney.
[00:01:54] This experience only catapulted her love for performance and world travel. Her career has taken her nearly all over the world on cruise ships and on tour. She has performed with celebrities, such as Deborah Gibson. Cool, and Enrique Iglesias. She has also worked for companies such as holiday at ice, the radio city, Rockettes and circle just LA Alyssa is usually seen performing alongside her partner and husband David Gray.
[00:02:22] When she’s not on the road, Alyssa is happy to call Las Vegas, her home, Alyssa. That is a quick intro 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, if you will, who you are and a little bit more about what you do as a professional. Yeah.
[00:02:42] The entertainment industry.
[00:02:44] Alyssa Gray: [00:02:44] Absolutely. Thank you, Dane. Well, as he said, my name Alyssa gray and I was originally from San Francisco. I’m currently based in Las Vegas. I’ve lived here for about 13 years now. So I guess technically I can say I’m from Las Vegas now, not San Francisco. Um, I’m a freelance aerialist in Vegas and internationally.
[00:03:03] So I often perform at big corporate events, organization dinners or after parties, music award shows, and also touring shows. And for the past four years, I’ve been performing regularly at Omnia nightclub at Caesars. So I’m pretty much all over the place.
[00:03:20] Dane Reis: [00:03:20] Fantastic. Well, let’s move on to this next section here in.
[00:03:23] Look, I am a sucker for a good quote. What’s your favorite quote? You’d like to share with our listeners.
[00:03:31] Alyssa Gray: [00:03:31] I believe my favorite quote would have to be progress over perfection. I know as an entertainer, I’m really hard on myself and self critical, and I think that’s something a lot of entertainers struggle with.
[00:03:42] I would say that I absolutely suffer from perfectionism. So progress over perfection is a constant reminder for me, especially right now with everything that’s going on and just putting one foot in front of the other is more important than being perfect at something right now. I’ve been interviewed a couple of times during the pandemic now and been asked this question more than once.
[00:04:02] So I wanted to dig a little bit deeper into it. So I checked out the definition in the dictionary of perfectionism and it’s. Complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement. So that’s not really realistic,
[00:04:17] Dane Reis: [00:04:17] so
[00:04:17] Alyssa Gray: [00:04:17] perfect. We have no room for growth and as artists, I believe we’re always constantly growing and trying to look for new ways to change and evolve.
[00:04:26] And so progress over perfection is definitely one of my favorite quotes and it’s something I need to refer to constantly.
[00:04:36] Dane Reis: [00:04:36] Absolutely. I love that quote, and I think there’s so much for anyone listening to take from that, because like you said, being an artist is a journey and it’s and do, and based on the definition, it is quite impossible to be perfect.
[00:04:51] Isn’t it? I love that you have that quote, you love that quote and it’s embodied your career in your life.
[00:05:00] Alyssa Gray: [00:05:00] Yeah. Right.
[00:05:02] Dane Reis: [00:05:02] Well, let’s take a moment to go to this next section and look, Alyssa. You are an entertainer. Hi. I’m an entertainer. And I think you’d agree that the entertainment industry is one of the most subjective, brutally, honest, personally, emotional industries existence.
[00:05:21] And you know, as well as I, that in order to create and to have a successful career in this industry, like you’re having now, it takes a lot of dedication and hard work. And while. Yeah, there is an outrageous amount of fun and excitement traveling, working on those corporate shows being on stage. There is also our fair share of obstacles, challenges, and failures that we’re going to experience.
[00:05:47] And we’re going to have to move forward through if we have any hopes of continuing to do this professionally, 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.
[00:06:04] Alyssa Gray: [00:06:04] I agree with you. It’s no easy job being a performer and you really do have to have a thick skin because you know, you’re dealing with projection a lot.
[00:06:14] Um, and I think that, um, I have been my own biggest obstacle. Going back to the perfectionism idea. There are a lot of different jobs or auditions I didn’t even apply for or go after, because I didn’t feel like I was good enough or that the casting director. Wouldn’t think that I was good for the spot.
[00:06:33] Mmm. In a few instances, I, I didn’t even go two an audition or a casting. Didn’t let them see me because I thought I was wrong. Instead of letting them make that decision for me, I made it for myself, which was, you know, I should have let them see me, but I sit in my own way. Mmm. And I still struggle with that in some aspects.
[00:06:55] I, over time have learned that it’s better to go after something and let. Other people make the decision, if I’m a good fit or not, or maybe I’m a better fit for a different part. But if I hadn’t gone, they wouldn’t have seen me, you know, or yeah. You never had the opportunity to find that out if I didn’t put myself out there.
[00:07:11] So I think I’ve stayed in my own way more than anything Mmm. In this industry and that’s been difficult, but the, the Mo the longer I’m in the industry, the more I know, I just have to go after things that I want. And if I get turned down, that’s
[00:07:25] Dane Reis: [00:07:25] what happens. Yeah. It’s just part of the process, right? Yeah.
[00:07:30] And I think it’s good to know. You say, look, you say, I’m going to go into the room and let them make the decision because right. When you really start looking at why people are cast for certain roles or for different opportunities or jobs or whatever, it might be so often it, it has really very little to do with the actual thing you’re doing.
[00:07:51] Right. It’s more about you as a person that is, that’s the big subjective part of it that. You’re you, you know, and if people like that, and if you’re a good vibe and a good fit or a good Looker, 1,000,001 other potential factors, and that’s great, but there really is so much that’s so out of our control that getting out of our own way and just.
[00:08:13] Doing it and putting ourselves out there is really the best way to succeed.
[00:08:17] Alyssa Gray: [00:08:17] Yeah. If you don’t give yourself the opportunity, how would you ever know? Right.
[00:08:20] Dane Reis: [00:08:20] Absolutely. Well, let’s move on to this next section 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 living or maybe it was, yes.
[00:08:37] This is what I need to be doing as an entertainer. Tell us about that.
[00:08:42] Alyssa Gray: [00:08:42] So mine was totally the, yes, this is what I need to be doing as an entertainer. There’s a feeling that you get on stage in front of an audience. And I, I don’t know how to describe it. And I think many people don’t know how to describe that feeling, but it was about seven years ago.
[00:08:56] I believe my husband and I were performing the wheel of death act on tour with holiday on ice. I’m in a production called speed and there would be this moment of silence just after we finished performing our act. And just before the music changed and the show would go a different direction, you would like float in that silence and you stand on the edge of the ice and look out on thousands and thousands of people and you feel it, you feel it in your heart, you feel it in your gut.
[00:09:21] And, you know, it’s just where you’re meant to be at that moment. And I don’t know how to explain that feeling other than feeling like full, like your heart just feels full and there’s no other way I can compare it to any other experience I’ve ever felt. Yeah. And you’re on. There are certain jobs that give you that feeling.
[00:09:39] And I don’t feel it every time I go on stage. Yeah. I feel it when I perform at a charity, that means something to me. And I can’t quite pinpoint what makes me feel that way, but you just feel full and it feels like you’re standing there and you know, that that’s exactly where you’re meant to be.
[00:09:56] Dane Reis: [00:09:56] Absolutely. I could not agree more. And it’s. It’s one of those feelings that if you’ve been doing this little while you, you know it, you know, when you feel it and like, like you said, it’s very hard to articulate that feeling, but Oh my gosh, it is. It’s why, it’s why I do this. You know, it’s so fantastic.
[00:10:15] Well, let’s piggyback on that question and let’s talk about your number one. Well, moment. Walk us through that day, the auditions and call backs. If those happened to be a part of it, what was going on in your life? And what about that moment? Makes it your favorite book, dude, moment,
[00:10:35] Alyssa Gray: [00:10:35] as you said in my intro, I had been doing gigs professionally since I was about 16 years old.
[00:10:42] So when I was 19, I went to an audition for Tokyo Disney sea. It was my first big audition. They had us warmup. We tumbled, we must’ve done a few more things that I don’t really remember. I must’ve been caught up in the whirlwind of what was going on. I was then pulled into a room with a few other people to watch a video of the show that they were thinking of casting me for.
[00:11:03] And after watching the video, it took me four measurements and then shoot me out the door and sent me on my way and said they had to finish their audition. Run. But they intended on calling me with a contract offer, all moved so fast. I was kind of stunned. Yeah. I didn’t quite know what to think or what I was going on as I walked out the door and it was a bit of a blur, but it was one of those things where you fit the, you fit inside that little box at that moment for what they were looking for and okay.
[00:11:30] A month or so later I received a phone call offering me a contract to move to Tokyo, to be. The little mermaid in an aerial production called under the sea. And it felt so unreal. So at 19, my parents back me up and put me on a plane to Tokyo, where I ended up living for a year and a half. And that was the true beginning of my professional career.
[00:11:48] Dane Reis: [00:11:48] love it. That’s such a good story. Yeah. It isn’t interesting how some of those auditions you go in you’re like, I don’t even know what just happened. Yeah. What did I just do?
[00:11:58] Alyssa Gray: [00:11:58] I really didn’t know. So fast.
[00:12:00] Dane Reis: [00:12:00] Yeah. I can imagine you felt a little bit of limbo in a way I’m super excited. Cause I’m pretty sure I got this gig, but do I yet?
[00:12:08] I’m not sure
[00:12:09] Alyssa Gray: [00:12:09] exactly. Cause I was staying with my aunt and uncle in LA and they both work in the film industry and they were like, they didn’t want me to get too excited because they know what the, the industry is like, so yeah. They, yeah, they were like, okay, well, I’m so glad it went so well. And we’re really happy for you, but know if it doesn’t happen, don’t be discouraged.
[00:12:28] And it ended up happening exciting.
[00:12:33] Dane Reis: [00:12:33] Well, Well, let’s take a moment to talk about the present. What projects are you working on now? What are you looking forward to? And of course we are amidst this global pandemic. How do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years? Those
[00:12:50] Alyssa Gray: [00:12:50] are all really good questions right now.
[00:12:52] My focus is staying in shape so that when events of any sort do come back, I’m ready to go. Uh, they are saying large events may not come back until next year. I’m hoping that’s not the case, but if it is, I’m trying to be ready for those and hoping smaller events will pop up here and there. And I’m excited to see how big D big events are done differently.
[00:13:14] I’m just not sure at w a K passively they will be at. While I have the time, which I don’t believe we’re ever going to get this time again in our lives, I’m exploring other career opportunities. So I’ve always really been drawn to the healthcare industry and I’ve always wanted to give back another way.
[00:13:32] So I’m taking this time to do a little exploring and see what comes of that. Take a couple of classes in different areas that I’m interested in and just kind of see where that goes. I’m also doing some like. Informational interviews with people who work in fields that I think I might be interested in later.
[00:13:50] Mmm. I’m not done performing by any means, but I also, no that I can’t do this forever. And I’m kind of using this time to see what might see what doors may open in the future.
[00:14:02] Dane Reis: [00:14:02] Yeah, absolutely.
[00:14:03] Alyssa Gray: [00:14:03] Yeah. And while I wish entertainment would come back, the way that it was, I don’t know that any of us can know.
[00:14:11] See that that’s a realistic expectation at this moment. And to be honest, I don’t really know what entertainment’s going to look like. I know a lot of industries are moving online and it’s hard to move in our industry online. You know, there’s just no replacement for live entertainment. You don’t get the same feeling.
[00:14:28] Dane Reis: [00:14:28] Yeah. Six is great experience.
[00:14:32] Alyssa Gray: [00:14:32] Yeah. So I’m curious to see which, you know, which way it goes. And as things start to open up more. Okay. A lot of creativity and innovation in this time, I believe. And it’ll be interesting to see what way entertainment goes.
[00:14:47] Dane Reis: [00:14:47] Absolutely. Okay. Well, let’s move on to one of my favorite sections of the interview.
[00:14:53] I call it the grease lightning round. Okay. I am going to ask you a handful of questions. I want you to answer them as quickly and concisely as possible. One after another or you ready?
[00:15:06] Alyssa Gray: [00:15:06] Yes, let’s go.
[00:15:08] Dane Reis: [00:15:08] All right. First question. What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer?
[00:15:15] Alyssa Gray: [00:15:15] don’t really think there was anything in particular that was holding me back from committing a hundred percent. Yeah. Other than the uncertainty of work, that it can be discouraging at times, but I found it. I found other ways to supplement that income when I’ve needed to.
[00:15:29] Dane Reis: [00:15:29] Yeah. And the second question, what is the best piece of advice ever received?
[00:15:36] Alyssa Gray: [00:15:36] Mmm. I am such a planner and I love to plan for everything and we’re facing a global pandemic and I can’t plan for anything. And my dad keeps telling me sometimes you have to jump and just build your wings on the way down. So I’m trying to go with that and plan as much as I can. And sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and figure out the rest along the way.
[00:15:54] Love it.
[00:15:55] Dane Reis: [00:15:55] Third question. What is something that is working for you now, or if you’d like to go pre COVID, what was working for you before our industry went on pause?
[00:16:07] Alyssa Gray: [00:16:07] I think learning to be open to new and exciting opportunities last year was a bit of up and down for me. So I really just decided to open myself up and be open to new ideas and new thoughts.
[00:16:18] And it’s really amazing when you open your mind and open your doors to new things. They come flooding in, in different ways you would have never expected. So those are always welcomed new and exciting opportunities.
[00:16:32] Dane Reis: [00:16:32] Absolutely. And the fourth question, what is the best resource? Whether it’s a book, a movie, a YouTube video, a podcast, maybe a piece of technology that you found is helping your career right now.
[00:16:49] Alyssa Gray: [00:16:49] I had heard about the actor’s fund in the past. And now that we don’t know when entertainment is coming back, I went on a bit of a search for some supportive resources and the actor’s fund has a wealth of information. I’d heard about them before or a career transition for dancers, and they have so much more, they have daily workshops on topics, like how to look for a job during a pandemic, how to look for health insurance, how to rewrite your resume for a normal job.
[00:17:14] They also have career counseling and have. A COVID-19 emergency relief fund for those who need a little extra help and just going through their site and talking to the people there is so reassuring everyone I’ve talked to has been kind and helpful. And it’s really nice to know that most of them are entertainers or had been entertainers previously.
[00:17:34] So I can’t recommend them enough and everybody should do themselves a favor and go check them out. The free resources are invaluable for sure.
[00:17:42] Dane Reis: [00:17:42] I love that I personally had no idea that they had all those extra resources. I knew a bit of their mission, but that’s fantastic. And the fifth question, if you had to start your career from scratch.
[00:17:56] But still had all the experiences you’ve collected from your career in this industry, what would you do or not do? Would you do anything differently? What would you keep it the same?
[00:18:06] Alyssa Gray: [00:18:06] To be honest, I wouldn’t change anything really. I’ve been so fortunate. People have paid me to travel the world and meet some of the most, truly amazing people while working and performing.
[00:18:17] I think the one thing I would change that I’ve touched on earlier is that I wish I would have believed in myself a little bit more when I was younger. And I let, what I thought other people were thinking of me has too much power. I’ve learned that earlier in my career.
[00:18:31] Dane Reis: [00:18:31] Absolutely. And the last question, what is the golden nugget knowledge drop you’ve learned from your successful career in this industry that you’d like to leave with our listeners?
[00:18:43] Alyssa Gray: [00:18:43] Uh, the golden nugget, uh, I think it’s about who, you know, and your connections are everything. And within that, your work ethic is so important. Small things that I think are forgotten, like being on time, being flexible when plans change, and even when events are not going your way, or they’re really lousy, is he pleasant to those around you, your connections or your agents.
[00:19:04] Remember those small things. And they will remember them in the future when they think about who to book. So I think your work ethic and. Knowing that your work ethic affects your connections so much is very important.
[00:19:17] Dane Reis: [00:19:17] Absolutely. In fact, I might even go so far to say that it’s your network of connections that really enables longevity in this career.
[00:19:28] Alyssa Gray: [00:19:28] Absolutely. I’ve worked for them the same people for years and years, and you make those good connections and they come back to you for more and more. So it’s, it’s really important.
[00:19:38] Dane Reis: [00:19:38] Absolutely. And to wrap up this interview, it is time to give yourself a plug. Where can we find you? How do our listeners connect with you?
[00:19:49] Is there anything you want to promote?
[00:19:51] Alyssa Gray: [00:19:51] You can find me on Instagram at Alyssa marks gray I’m on there and on Facebook as Alyssa gray, G R a Y. Both of those.
[00:20:01] Dane Reis: [00:20:01] Beautiful, Alyssa. Thank you so much for joining me today. It’s been fantastic having you.
[00:20:08] Alyssa Gray: [00:20:08] Thank you. It’s been wonderful to be on.
[00:20:11] Dane Reis: [00:20:11] Give it up for our five star reviewers, Megan Melville, stop clown and Kirby Jo long.
[00:20:16] Thank you so much for your support. Thank you so much for joining us today. My one call to action for you is to go to youbookeditpodcast.com and join our free email community. Where we dig deep into a continually growing resource of truly actionable things you can be doing right now to help you advance your entertainment career.
[00:20:40] Don’t miss an episode. We have a new guest, seven days a week search for you, booked it on Apple podcast or your favorite podcast app and subscribe today. All the best to you. We’ll see you tomorrow.