Here’s why. This Italian born Jersey girl earned her badges of courage from surviving the treacherous roads of family dynamics during childhood and during my parents’ divorce after 34 years of marriage when I was an innocent, young 23 year old.
I just graduated from college. It was a strange time. I was so happy to have accomplished getting a diploma all by myself with no monetary or academic outside help, but I was feeling like my life was about to turn upside down.
And it did. I was in an awful love relationship and my childhood home was on the market. My family was torn apart. It felt like it all happened in seconds. It was like a tornado, tsunami and earthquake all at the same time. Truth is the breakup of the family was a gift. It propelled me out of my comfort zone, which was a sea of negativity. It forced me to leave NJ and find myself in Miami for a couple of years.
There I dove into my theatre acting and expanded into musical theatre all the while taking modern dance classes. This became my saving grace from the trauma. My modern dance instructor had graduated from Juilliard and she became a very part-time mentor always encouraging me to remain an artist for the rest of my life.
I actually began dance at two years of age and all through grade school and high school I was in choir and Glee club singing my heart out. The arts truly became my life preserver keeping me focused, happy and sane.
And that only grew more as the years went on. It’s amazing what happens, who you meet, what you can accomplish when you leave your ‘negative roots’ behind and focus on the now.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all wine and roses in Miami Beach. I was not yet gifted enough, nor did I have the necessary astute tools for staying out of negative situations. They found me! I had a lot of little successes and newspaper articles written about my performances. I even had one journalist call me a ‘star’.
But I certainly didn’t feel like one, yet I still forged forward. No matter what dark forces were around me, and I felt them, I still kept being the artist. Through more twists and turns over these earlier years that shaped who I am today, I always hung onto my inner strength that kept me moving forward steeped in hope and faith.
Through a few serendipitous experiences, I moved to Los Angeles with a $1,000 in my pocket, one friend in the area and a heart full of dreams. Fast forward to today, as I look back on my crazy, wild journey, I realize all this made me who I am now; a force not to be reckoned with, a deep love of the arts and unwavering passion to help others succeed.
So, my beautiful woven tapestry today includes my husband Mike, who brought music back into my life the right way after I had abandoned it for a while as I built my photography business that kept me in a lucrative career that began way back in 2000.
I’m here now in The City of San Fernando after 11 years of being with Mike and our three awesome dogs. Mike taught me the true discipline and hard work it takes to be a musician. I could write a book and probably should. When I tell my stories, most say, “You need to write this down! You need to do stand-up! Your life was not a boring one.”
My artistry includes a rich life on stage performing year round for over ten years with my band The Replicas, photographing personal brands, events, and corporate brands part-time, and a new speaking platform to help inspire the wedding, event, and music industries. I’m surrounded by a band of incredible talent who all believe in me. How lucky am I?