Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Evolution of Cara

I was standing on a crowded train stalled somewhere under the East River at a quarter past midnight on a Wednesday. Since my mp3 player battery was dead I had no choice but listen to two female strangers strike up a conversation. “I'm kinda awesome one said to the other.” The other quickly replied "yes man sir" in an phony southern accent so vexing that it would have caused Emily, my favorite Texan to scream “get AIDS!” had she been there. When the train suddenly jolted out of it's brief slumber the two hipster rejects continued trying to prove who was the funnier one by making goofy faces learned in their respective level 1 improv classes.

After one of them lifted an eyebrow while saying “did you just hear that awesome thing I said? boom that just happened,” I almost snapped. But luckily, their exchange was cut short when a voice from the back of the car yelled, “are you ready for this?”

When the bass kicked in a second later and a double jointed break-dancer started pop 'n locking next to me I realized the answer was yes, yes I am ready for this - this being the chance to flee the city during one of it's hottest months and finally go through with the Spanish/surfing immersion program I've been dreaming of since being laid of from MTV and traveling around Costa Rica on my own.

I remember thinking, "I wish I could stay longer but I need to be back in NYC to start searching for work." It took 6 months to find something long term. Had I known then what I know now, I would have used my severance to stick around the country and study Spanish.

In four days I will be unemployed again. My current casting gig has a built in 2 month unpaid hiatus. Therefore, I could either A. sit around trying to find work during that time or B. use the opportunity to become bilingual.

Luckily, I have enough money saved (my accountant is amazing) to escape NYC's trademark smell of day old garbage and sidewalk pee simmering in the sun to choose option B.

The scary part is that two months from now I may be living on free samples at Fairway once again. Being asked back for the second half of the What Not to Wear season is not guaranteed, so I shouldn't expect to be working soon after I return. In television, there are a million reasons as to why you might not be asked back after a hiatus. It's nothing personal, it's just business.

Wondering if in the long run, spending my entire tax return on this little adventure was a wise move I checked in with my Bubby and Pop to get their 92 year old perspective on the situation. They said “go for it blondie.” My bubby added that my great grandmother Eve (who I was named after in Hebrew) would have approved since one of her motto's was “Save a little, spend a little.”

So I'm spending, nay, I am INVESTING in a journey that will result in me being a tan, bilingual surfer chick. I can't wait to see the Galapagos Island and witness first hand how animals had to evolve in order to survive. As someone who had to adapt to the rapidly changing TV industry's needs in order to get a job, I can relate.

Hopefully when I return I'll be asked back to WNTW. The travel is fun and my co-workers rock. I also feel amazing when I see the “afters” of people I've cast. The show is like one big mitzvah. For me, the catered breakfast and lunches are icing on the cake.

However, if I find myself job hunting again sooner than expected, at least this time around my resume will have one more valuable skill on it – Bilingual in English and Spanish. So, to everyone who saw the pink slip in my hand and told me “everything happens for a reason,” you were right. If I hadn't been laid off over a year and a half ago, all my travels, invaluable language/camera/editing skills and this blog would have never happened.

In case you are curious, this is the program I am enrolling in –, and this is the boat I'll be taking around the Galapagos Islands