Published on by YouArtiste Listen to your own advice – interview with Elizabeth Inghram
Elizabeth is an actress based out of New York City. She graduated with honors from Oklahoma City University, with a Bachelor degree in Musical Theatre Performance. She started out in NYC as a musical theatre artist, and loved seeing the country performing 4 national tours and lots of regional work. Elizabeth also studied at The Maggie Flanigan Studio, a 2 year Meinser Conservatory in NYC. Recently, she has been working on off and off-off Broadway plays and TV and film. Elizabeth has been seen opposite Kristen Wiig in the film Girl Most Likely, the Netflix show Gypsy, Person of Interest, The Black List, Royal Pains, I Love You But I Lied, Gossip Girl. Most recently, we saw her on the AMC show Dietland and a featured film Ocean’s 8. Elizabeth is a voice actor and has done several national commercials both on-camera and behind the mic. She is also proud to be a teacher at the Terry Knickerbocker Studio!
/fot. Deborah Lopez/
„Trust what you do have and don’t let yourself feel pressured to be something you’re not.”
Interview with actress: Elizabeth Inghram, AEA/SAG-AFTRA. The following is an excerpt from an interview conducted by Mike Moreno - founder of ActorCEO, and prepared by youArtiste.
Mike Moreno: I'd love to start with the teaching because you've done that for a while, and you have a lot of experience to draw from so, I wonder, has there been anything that has transitioned over into your daily work and into your daily practice as a professional?
Elizabeth Inghram: Certainly. I think I have grown as an actor myself just trying to help other people. I've gotten better at making decisions quicker, which is something I definitely needed to work on, and script analysis type things. But the biggest lesson, for me, was learning to take my own advice, which can be hard. When I'm working with students, one of the biggest things I hope to impress upon them is to lean into what you naturally bring to the table. You might be this really bright, sunny comedic actor, and if you're in a room full of dramatic actors that sometimes can feel pressure because that muscle may not be as strong for you. That's not to say you shouldn't work on it, right? You absolutely should but if what you bring to the table, is this unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt type of energy, to know that about yourself and not to apologize for that and to lean into that. Trust what you do have and don't let yourself feel pressured to be something you're not. [...] Even as you are training [it’s important] to know that the colors that are bright in you may not be that way for another person and to know that’s okay. We can't all be everything at the same time. When you are going into the audition or when you working on the script, just let that stuff go and say, okay what is it that I bring? With students, I sometimes see them trying to fit themselves into these molds of what they want to be, and that's great. I'm not criticizing it. I get it, and I certainly still do that sometimes. But you know what? I’m not going to be cast as that. That's not how people see me, even if that's an aspect of me. And so, with students, I’m trying to help them embrace what they have and to trust their gut. [...] But, as a teacher and as an actor, I think that we always need to be learning and working on ourselves emotionally, personally, and professionally as well.
Absolutely. It’s a point that we talk about often on the podcast. Actors always want to do as much as possible, and there’s a room for that, but you also need to make sure that you can set yourself up for, as I say all the time here, sustainability in your professional career, and focus is a big part of that. Which leads me into talking about your Creative Energy baskets, if you will. Obviously, there's theater, there's television, there’s film that you've been working on. And of course, there's the voice-over side of things and commercials. How have you devoted your energy into developing these skills, for instance theatre? How did you then decide to spend your energy in terms of working on the next skill and what to focus on in order to grow? And how did you find the balance in order to continue what has already been working for you?
That's a great question, and I think, it's something that I'm still refiguring as I’m trying to do as many things that I want to do in a day as possible. So, I'm still figuring it out too. [chuckles]. But I do work really hard and I just think having the knowledge of the sort of self-forgiveness, you know, that I can't actually do everything in one day and to know when to stop. In terms of the forgiveness aspect, one thing that I have let go, which has been a little sad for me is the music aspect, which is something I came to New York to do originally was musical theater, right? And it's one of those things that right now, I have to set aside. I'm just not pursuing musical theater right now. That's not to say I won't do it again in a year or two, but it's just not what I'm doing right now, and I need to accept that and not to beat myself up for not getting to that. So, for the other things, it kind of does go in spurts. There was a period of about a year where I really took some time to do voice-over coaching. I had met a casting director through a play that I did who thought I could be successful in this industry and kind of took me under his wing and worked with me. And it ended up being wonderful introduction to the business for me because then, I had a voice-over demo, and I met agents. So, I really did take some time to focus on the voice-over because I knew that was something I wanted in my life and it's been the best decision for me, you know, to diversify my portfolio, if you will, as an actor, and to have another source of income. And frankly, one of the reasons why I wanted to start doing it, is that I was worried about being a woman in the business and me getting older, and how can I sustain a career in this. But you know, times are changing, and I'm grateful for that, and hopefully this stigma on women getting older will continue to shift. But that was one of the reasons why I wanted to start getting into the voice-over because it doesn't matter what you look like. [...] Then I did two plays in a row at the theater and when that happened, I just didn't have the time and the energy to invest in my voice-over career. And then again, I had to accept, you know what Elizabeth? You're giving everything to this play right now and that's all you can do. [laughs] [...] So, there’s a balance between all this. In an ideal world, I'm like, okay, I'm going to spend 10 minutes today working on voice-over in addition to regular work I have to do. I'm going to spend a half hour doing my TV research. I'm going to spend 30 minutes looking into theater castings. In an ideal world, maybe that's how it would go, but it hasn't worked out that way for me yet. [laughs]
Right. You bring up a good point which is, first of all, you only have so much energy that you can devote to anything in an effective way. You could fill your day up with 10-minute projects over and over again, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are all going to be done at to the best of your ability, right? I mean, we've all experienced time in high school or college, when you're trying to study multiple things at the same time, and you know, not everything is going to get hundred percent of your attention, and it's not all going to stick, and it's not all going to be effective time spent. Whereas, if you open yourself up to the possibility, first of all, this is a marathon, not a sprint. And you're in this for the long run. Then, you give yourself the permission to say, it's okay that I’m not going to accomplish this list of 10 things this year. I'm just going to focus on these next 3 things I would like to do and make those my focus for the year. And then go from there. But sometimes it's tough because there’s this sort of fear of missing out of opportunities, right?
Absolutely, and I think in this day and age, the ability to spread yourself too thin is up there. There are so many ways you can spend your time. And I encourage people to find these social media private Facebook groups. There's a lot of these groups or classes, studios, etc. out there, and I think it's great. I wish there had been that sort of thing when I first came to the city because they can be super helpful for crowdsourcing and to get information. But then, at a certain point, it gets overwhelming. There are so many things that you can be doing, and it takes extra diligence to really find the things that are your things and to lean into those, kind of like, what we said at the beginning of the conversation. That's not to say that you don't open up to other things. Absolutely, try it out but then learn when it's time to cut your losses and be like, I’ve got what I needed from this, and now what else is there for me? That's a really tough question to ask yourself this in this climate, when there is so much information.
What are some tools, exercises or resources that you go to help ground yourself and to help you get rid of some of the [every day] distractions?
Frankly, meditation is something that is incredibly valuable to me, and there's all kinds of resources to help you, if that's something that you want. [...] Getting out with my dog and things that are not acting. But you know, I feel very fortunate a lot of my life is filled up with actor things. And then exercise, for me, is big. I need that to get outside of my head, and it just helps me work off and relieve stress. [...]
Listen to full podcast HERE
Elizabeth Inghram website
Hello! I’m an actor in New York City. The goal of ActorCEO is to understand how acting career is like running your own business, and using the insights we learn to create our own success.