We had the good fortune of connecting with Ally Duncan and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ally, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
In my experience, as you grow older, your priorities and what’s most important to you change. When I first graduated college with my BFA in Musical Theatre, I was just eager to be on stage in any capacity, all the time. On top of working a full time job, I took every single gig I could get – whether that was a leading role, or in the back row of an ensemble. I was hungry, and feisty, and fought really hard for each opportunity. And I was working. ALL the time. Performing in 5-6 shows a season. I had NO work-life balance at all. I managed this schedule for about four years, and then the burn out hit. I missed weddings of family members and vacations. I missed true connections and opportunities to focus on myself and grow. I was tired. And even though I was always working, I wasn’t making enough money to make ends meet. I fell out of love with what I thought I loved the most, and I knew I needed to make a change. Don’t get me wrong – I am greatly inspired by those who can make the starving artist life work, but knowing that was not the life I wanted hit me like a ton of bricks. I needed to make a shift in my priorities to find the balance I longed for. So, I joined the ranks of the corporate world. I took a break. Time to breathe, and I’ve never looked back. I allowed myself the opportunity to figure out what was most important for my life and put those priorities first. I found the balance by living stably through my job with Cox Media Group, spending time with my family, and re-claiming the joy I once had for performing. I no longer take gigs anymore that conflict with big life moments that I don’t want to miss out on. I only take gigs that I feel passionately and excited about. I love the stage again and cherish every single moment I get to spend there.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
There are so many comparisons between my work in sales, and my work as an actor. While both are relatively straightforward in description, it is important to know that both require you putting in the work, and having a strong sense of self. I could sit here and tell you about them, but it might be more beneficial to share how I got here. I think if you asked anyone I work closely with in either profession, they’d say I was a go-getter. I am loud, full of energy, and unapologetic about being so. I was raised to work HARD, and take pride in everything I do no matter what the circumstances. Of course it wasn’t easy. Nothing in life worth having comes easy. I had to re-group and focus my energy. I had to put in the extra hours, the extra training, the extra discipline. I learned new things, honed new skills, and focused all that I had within me on getting the job I wanted. I cried, and prayed, and mediated that my efforts were not in vain. Then even when I got the job I hoped for, it didn’t come without its challenges. I still get thrown curve-balls often that I’m not expecting. I would say the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that you can never be 100% prepared for what happens next. Even if you believe you did everything right leading up to that moment. Expect the unexpected. Be one step ahead. Strive for perfection, but understand it’s not attainable. Allow yourself to feel sad or angry when you miss the mark, but celebrate the hell out of your successes. and GO FOR IT. What’s the worst they can say? No?

Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Well, the Atlanta Braves and The Battery are just about my favorite place in all of Atlanta. It’s a home away from home, and that team feels like family. So if my best friend was here for the weekend, we would definitely be hitting up Antico Pizza or H&F Burger for dinner, grabbing a beer at Terrapin Taproom or a glass of wine at Cru Food & Wine Bar, and having ourselves a little picnic on the lawn outside of Truist Park. During the day, we’d go on a hike up Kennesaw Mountain or take a walk down the beltline, maybe grab an afternoon bite at the Food Hall at Ponce City Market, or on the roof at Nine Mile Station.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many people who contribute to the success of my story. More than I could count. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring up parents. Ever since I was a little girl, they allowed me to follow any dream I could dream, and have been supportive of my decisions every step of the way. Even in the dark days when things got really difficult, they helped me pick up the pieces of my life and put the puzzle back together. My mother recently said to me, “I’d do ANYTHING for my girls”, and I know she meant that. She continues to prove that to me time and time again. My father is the best man I’ve ever known, and has worked so incredibly hard for everything my parents have now. They push me to be the very best version of myself, and have always inspired my journey by being the very best version of themselves. Do we challenge each other occasionally? Of course, they’re my parents. But at the end of the day, every word and action is met with unconditional love. I know how lucky I am to have them, and I deeply try to never take that for granted.

Instagram: allyduncan18