We had the good fortune of connecting with Elizabeth Underwood and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Elizabeth, why did you pursue a creative career?
I chose this career to be able to connect to others on a deeper level. To tell stories that inspire, help, educate, or offer hope. To be able to do that by portraying different characters is the most fulfilling thing to me. You get to explore parts of yourself and others that you normally wouldn’t. You’re playing make believe and bearing your soul to the audience at the same time. It’s amazing! I don’t think any sane person would choose a career in the arts. We’re all nuts. It’s hard, unstable, and full of rejection and self doubt. But to be able to tell these stories is worth it. I’ve thought about pursuing other careers that would provide more stability, but I know I wouldn’t be as fulfilled or satisfied. And life is too short to not at least try to chase your dreams.
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.
It’s been an up hill battle. Still is, but that’s part of it. Facing all of the doubt and rejection is never easy. But I’m nothing if not determined. That’s how I was able to make this project. I’m so proud of it for several reasons, one of the main ones being it’s based off of my own struggle with anxiety and depression. I was able to turn my pain into a story that I hope will inspire people to keep fighting. There is always a way through, a way out. I have to keep telling myself that as well on the days I struggle. In this career, nothing goes as planned and there are lots of times where you don’t know what to do next. But I’ve learned there’s always a way forward. You might have to make your own path forward, but you will get there one way or another. And have patience, which is something I will always struggle with. So I have to remind myself to celebrate the small victories as they come while knowing that things aren’t going to go with my personal timeline. I’m still trying to find peace with that. But I find a way to push forward. Always. The only way to fail is to give up.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m still exploring Atlanta myself! There are lots of places I want to go. The aquarium being one. So I would do that, I would walk along the belt line and explore the amazing restaurants there. definitely go to The Painted Duck for some night fun! The King and Duke in Buckhead is a great restaurant for a date, to celebrate something, or just to have a night out. Taverna, also in Buckhead, has some of the best Italian food I’ve ever had. Henri’s Bakery is a must.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
So many people. First to Shandra McDonald, the amazing director of “I’m Fine” who kept me sane while leading this project. I literally couldn’t have done this without her! And I want to recognize the entire crew/actors of “I’m Fine” because we were able to come together and make this happen. Everyone did their jobs well and worked hard, and often go unrecognized, so I wanted to give them the credit they deserve. It takes a village. Thank you to all the investors, to Children’s Hospital of Atlanta for letting us use their space, and to The Big Picture Film and Video Foundation for granting us the Fiscal Sponsorship. Shoutout to my parents for always being my rock and supporting me, again I couldn’t have done this without you. Thank you to all my teachers/coaches, especially Catherine Dyer, William Mark McCullough, and Patrick Roper. They have guided me and put up with all my questions and insecurities while offering help. And thank you to God, always.
Collective Energy Photography, Amber Cutler