We had the good fortune of connecting with Courtney Locke and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Courtney, what inspires you?
In the last two years, my perspective has totally changed. My husband and I found out we were going to be parents…PARENTS! On top of normal first time parents fears, we had only been in Atlanta a short time and was nervous about losing traction in my career or losing it all. At my six month mark, my morning sickness finally subsided and I was able to see clearly that I wanted to succeed that much more for my son. He is the reason I work so hard.
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.
I have been performing and pursuing a career in the arts since I was thirteen. I think I watched behind the scenes and documentaries about my favorite artists like they were how to guides. I started doing what my favorite artists did: perform at fairs, go on auditions, sing the national anthem anywhere I could and started writing/producing my own work. I started writing songs and getting into the studio to record them at a young age. I loved it but between money, connections and just lack of confidence sometimes, it wasn’t an easy road. This career never is but I kept going. About 8 years ago, after several years with my agent in Houston, I started booking like crazy. I booked commercial after commercial, went to New York to audition for Wicked and even booked a movie! I was on a high and so excited for where my career was going. Around that time, I also reconnected with an old friend and we started dating, a few months later we are packing up for our move to New York. I found an apartment and was having meetings with agencies. He got offered a job in Atlanta where his parents were and after several times of me saying “no,” I finally said “yes.” The first few months in Atlanta were devastating, I was able to sign with my current agent but I had not started booking yet. I had gone on a few bad auditions and I could not find any non-industry work to keep us going. I started sending emails out like crazy and one of them happened to be for the Atlanta Children’s Theatre directed by Spring Mason. She was looking for a new choreographer for her summer program and I wanted it. I sent her as many materials as I could as well as a breakdown of how I would choreograph one of the scenes. I laid it all out there to get the job and…I did! After that, I started booking various choreography jobs, shows at the Springer Opera house as well as modeling several times a month for an online catalog. It was really going great and I was able to travel to New York to train and audition a few times a year. I also produced a short dance film for the Atlanta Dance Collective’s Femmefest called Tuesday Morning which I directed, choreographed and danced in with my friend, Maddie Tweed. Then my husband and I got pregnant. I was very much certain my career was over before it had really started. I had not won my first Academy Award…how was I supposed to have a baby? The industry I knew was not easy on moms and I knew no one would hire me when I was six months pregnant. I went through a few months of depression especially since I could no longer eat blueberries and I gave up on my career. When I was six months pregnant, I finally came out of my haze and realized I had to keep fighting for my career. Not just for me but for my unborn son. I started going on auditions again, even auditioning for the Rockettes and Debbie Allen at six months pregnant! I started writing and planning for my production company. I had always wanted to start one but I thought I needed to be somewhere else in my career before I could. My goal is for Actor Mommy Productions to be on the same level as Shondaland, Tyler Perry Studios and Hello Sunshine one day. But for right now it is starting small with a podcast, blog and a short film. The Actor Mommy Podcast and Blog will launch on February 1, 2021. I am talking to actor moms about their experiences and how they manage both baby and career when you are not a house hold name yet. You will be able to find it on Anchor, Spotify and at actormommyproductions.com. I am also producing and shooting my second short film this month. I want moms in our industry to know that your career isn’t over. You can still achieve your goals and dreams but things look a little differently now and you will probably be more sleep deprived than you were before.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love checking out the touristy things a city has to offer, especially for a first trip. Taking a day or two to go to the CNN building, the Aquarium, Coca-Cola, the Botanical Gardens and riding the Sky-View ferris wheel across from Centennial Olympic Park for sure. Then head to the Fox or the Alliance theatre for a show. Atlantic Station is always good bet for a nice walk about with dinner and drinks. Gyu-Kaku is a great Japanese BBQ place and you could cook your own food so that is just fun. I am a huge food person so Ponce City Market or Marietta Square would be on the list to just sit and eat with a lot of people watching.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My husband, Lee, has always been a huge support in my career from running lines with me to doing couples’ auditions with me to even being roped into a show with me. He is always positive and uplifting and keeps me on track so I don’t get in my own way.
Works of Wonder Studios Steve and Nicole Cole Headshot- Kelsey Edwards