"The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength." - Evan A. Baker

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Brandi's Guest Post: You Can Have Both

Most young women who pursue an acting career understand that they have to put earplugs in every morning of their life so that they can't hear the ticking of their biological clocks. If you're an actress, you're in it for the long haul - 10 years at least just to get started - and you have to put your maternal instincts on hold because you can't feed a starving child when you're a starving artist yourself, and acting is one of the most expensive career you can pursue.

So, most of us agree to choose one or the other. I personally am surrounded by friends and family who are getting married and starting families. The Love of My Life's sister is pregnant and I would give anything to be pregnant too and trade stories of morning sickness and cravings.

Instead, I'm fake pregnant on TLC reruns. Oh, the irony.

Then there's Brandi Ford. She's an actress/mother of two, who goes out for 22, and is producing and starring in her own webseries, Diary of a Wedding Planner, which she also SAG'ed herself on. Can we say force to be reckoned with?

She didn't want to have to choose, and is setting an example for her children that they can be whatever they want to be as long as they put in the work. At the end of a grueling day, sitting on the 405, going from one audition to the next, she gets to come home to sloppy kisses and hugs from her family. Brandi says life is better this way. And for those of us thinking it's a choice of a career or a family and certainly not both, Brandi proves us wrong.


Family Versus Career

Family? Career?
Family? Career?
One or the other…Family? Career?

In many occupations society/the media/the powers that be, want women to choose between starting a family or advancing in their chosen vocation and acting is no different. As a young twenty-something with 2 small children I’ve heard it all…

“I thought you wanted to be an actress?”
Translation: You’ll never make it now.

“Oh, but you’re so talented!”
Translation: What a waste!

“Hollywood is no place to raise a child!”
Translation: You’re only thinking about yourself and not what’s best for your kids.

“LA is expensive, especially with kids. Maybe you should just stick to regional theater.”
Translation: No more major league hopes for you honey! Stick to the minors.

And my personal favorite: “Well we all had dreams once, but now that you’re a parent it’s time to get realistic.”
Translation: Give up this pie in the sky fantasy and get a real job!

Now I realize most of the people who spoke these words meant well but I never let them deter me from pursuing my dream. Despite the objectives of some family, friends, classmates and even strangers, I left my well-paid corporate job and moved to LA just over a year ago and I couldn’t be more happy!

Being a wife, a mommy and an actress makes for a very full schedule. I am constantly juggling networking events, coffee dates and auditions with being the family taxi, doing the laundry, helping with homework and still finding quality time with all 3 guys {husband included}. On top of that I have a part-time job to cover all of my acting expenses so you can imagine how exhausting it can be at the end of the week. And yet, this is the most exhilarated I’ve been in my entire life! Finally, I am actively pursuing what I’ve dreamed about for years and having my family along for the ride is incredible but it does come with a price:

--Kids are expensive, to my surprise they don’t eat love!  And LA is one of the most expensive cities to live in so combine the two and you’ll definitely be living on a budget. While most of my college friends who have started a family have bought nice spacious homes outside of California, our small LA apartment cost more in rent than their mortgages. When these same friends want to plan a trip like a cruise or weekend getaway, I’m usually the one to decline, opting to put that money towards acting related purchases instead.

--When industry pals want to meet for lunch or last minute auditions pop up, I have to make sure I have reliable childcare ready to go. Yes, I have heard stories of girls bringing their babies with them to auditions but my boys are too much of a handful to ever do that. Besides, you really want to be focused before you go into the room and nothing can pull your focus more than your child. So if you can swing it, childcare is the way to go!

--When I do book something {YAY!} I usually end up on set for 12-14 hours and get home long after the kids have gone to sleep. Since only A-Listers have nannies who can bring their children to set and I’m not quite that high up in the alphabet, I sometimes miss out on moments that I wish I could’ve been around for.

--And of course, if my boys are ever sick, the whole world stops while I tend to their needs- I am Mommy after all.

With so much on my plate I do find myself envious of my childless actor friends from time to time, however I wouldn’t change things for the world! After all, there are quite a few blessings that come with being an actress/mommy…

--I have a very long-term vision of my career. With every role that comes my way I am reminded that my sons (and their friends) will one day be able to watch my performance so I don’t want to do anything that I’d be ashamed for them to see as they grow up. That doesn’t mean I won’t take risks, but it does mean I won’t do anything I’m uncomfortable with just for the money.

--I’m extremely focused and don’t have time for the Hollywood Bull. Partying is great, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not wasting away precious time & money hopping from one Hollywood hot spot to the next hoping to be discovered by a director or producer who’s really just there to look at eye candy, not cast his movie. If I’m going to spend time away from my family, it better be for something that will truly be productive.

--I am a better actor because of them. Have you ever played with a small child? Their imaginations are so beautiful to behold that they force you to be creative and completely open to all the possibilities their little universe holds…dancing with them is even better!

--I’m teaching my children not to settle for less. Though they’re both too young to really understand what it is that I do, they see mommy working hard, going to class and doing what makes me happy. In turn, they know that I want them to grow up and pursue what makes them happy as well. Currently, my 5 year old wants to be a Rock Star/Soccer Player/Fireman and what mother wouldn’t support that?

--Most importantly, I’ve learned that acting is a big PART of my life but it’s not the whole thing. Though I fully believe and expect to one day become a household name, I know that if that never happens, I will still be a star to my kids. And this is most clear to me when I come home and am greeted with big hugs & sloppy kisses despite just having had a bad audition or an off day in class.

Family? Career?
Family? Career?

Yes it would be much easier to just choose one, but my God, my life is so full and richly blessed because I have and want both. And if any of you readers out there want the same one day, just know that it can be done! Trust me, the unconditional love from your kids and the support of a loving husband/wife/bf/gf or even your own parents  will make your acting journey even more worthwhile.


  1. Thank you Brandi! As a mum and actress myself I completely agree with everything you've said. My son makes me a better person, a better actor, and more focused on what I want for myself and for us than I have been my entire life. It is so amazing for me to be able to come home to this little person and realise that there is nothing more important than him being there and being happy. However much I want to succeed as an actor, no bad audition, no too long period without an audition, and no one trying to bring me down are more important than him. It really puts things in perspective.

  2. Wonderfully said Brandi !! Your day is coming !


  4. Ophelia, you are so right! Kids really do change your perspective on just about everything, career included. They become our #1 priority and I agree, we are better people because of it.

    Auntie & Amy, thanks for reading!!

  5. You Go, Brandi! I have three kids and a husband and just dragged all of them with me to another state so I can go to grad school and get my MFA in acting. By most people's standards I'm crazy. And it has been difficult and at times very lonely because my actor friends don't get the kid thing and my mommy friends don't get the actor thing. But I am more happy and fulfilled than I've ever been, and I have to believe that counts for something.

  6. Great commentary Brandi. I believe in you and your talent and it is wonderful that you haven't chosen because what God has for you is for you. You are already a household name sweetie! Passion + support =success!!! Love ya!!!


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