We had the good fortune of connecting with Emily Pearse and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emily, how do you think about risk?
Risk taking is something that is hard to avoid for anyone who chooses to follow their dream. It is often the reason that so many choose not to, ultimately. The risk or fear of failing is too great for some to justify the gamble. What I have come to realize is that risk taking is an unavoidable part of the human experience. It is at every turn, big and small. That means that we risk failure when we pursue anything and everything. Career, love, adventure – there are countless ways we take risks every day. Looking at it this way – if we can fail doing something we DON’T love, why wouldn’t you risk failing in pursuit of something that you DO love? Why wouldn’t you follow your heart and pursue that dream career or dream life? I think some people were of the opinion that “putting all my eggs in one basket” by getting my initial degree in theater performance was unwise. I had no “backup plan”. Then choosing to study with LA comedy studios such as Upright Citizen’s Brigade, rather than pursuing a masters degree got additional eye rolls and questions. It also got me agents and auditions and bookings at which point people stopped questioning. I saw it like this – If I am deciding to pursue a risky career, why not make myself as competitive as possible? If I’m not willing to bet on myself, who else will be?
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
A lot of women pursue acting with dreams of being the leading lady, but that has never been my end goal. I really love stepping into comedic relief characters and supporting roles. I want to play the funny best friend, the snarky roommate, the sassy cashier that’s always having a bad day, etc. I think film is a great vehicle for positive change, but also a great feat of teamwork – you need every part, not just the leads, to fill out the corners of the world. Supporting roles aren’t any easier to get to, though. It has not been the smoothest of roads, but it is one that will shape you as you go. One lesson I am glad to have learned along the way is that – if it’s for me, it wont pass me. I think so many actors are focused on succeeding and booking that they forget to celebrate the success of others as well as themselves. At a certain level, we’ve all put in the same amount of time and sacrifice to be getting into these rooms, so the success of everyone else does not diminish or impede your own success. In fact, it only means you are one step close to finding that dream role that wont pass you by. Be happy when others succeed because it’s proof that it’s possible. Have faith in your own path and celebrate friends along the way- it’s a much less lonely road to travel.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Being an Atlanta tour guide and storyteller as my day job, there are SO MANY amazing places in Atlanta to check out. I would for sure plan to spend a day in the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park District. There is an immense amount of history to check out about the civil rights movement available there – including Dr. King’s birth home, offices, and final resting place. Then I’d take them over to historic Oakland Cemetery to check out the beautiful greenery in this victorian staple to the city. As far as food is concerned, we’d have to stop by Victory Coffee & Calamity for a chai latte at some point. A brunch/lunch must is Highland Bakery in the Old Fourth Ward and South City Kitchen in Midtown is wonderful for dinner. If I had a friend with differing tastes than my own, we’d probably stop off at one of the many markets/food halls Atlanta Boasts, such as The Sweet Auburn Curb Market, Ponce City Market, or Krog Street Market for all the options available! The last thing I’d make sure to get in would be a nice day walking the Atlanta Belt Line which connects 45 different densely populated neighborhoods here in the city. When It’s finished it will encircle 22 miles and include restaurants, shops, and hop on/off points along this pedestrian- only walkway.
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?
Happy Accidents by Jane Lynch and Rebecca Krinsky
Brian Jones Photography, Mark Morin, Lace Larrabee, Akila McConnell, Kay Mercer
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