July Bucket List

Hello. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Carol. For those of you who do, je m’appelle Carol.

This July, I took a big step. More like a leap of faith. At the end of May, after my second Disney attempt, I was contacted by a woman from an au pair agency. She asked if I was interested in becoming an au pair for a French family (wait for it…) in Belgium for (it gets better) a year! Naturally, I said, “I’ll think about it… yes”. After a couple Skype interviews with the family of three and the au pair agent, I had a job within 2 weeks! (Thanks GreatAuPair.com šŸ˜‰ ) Officially, I will be an au pair in Brussels starting July 2!!

The family I will be staying with this next year is a French family living in Brussels, Belgium. They have an 8-year-old son who loves all things Lego, Star Wars, and airplanes. The father is a businessman and the mother is a dentist/ professional dancer. For the purpose of this blog, I’m concealing their names so they can maintain their privacy. They will now be known as Father, Mother, and Boy (so inventive, I know…) Boy and Father know English because 1) Father works with many offices around the world and 2) Boy went to an American school in Brussels for several years. Mother knows enough English to be conversational, but not a lot. I guess we can learn from each other: I’ll work on my French and she can work on her English.

June became a busy month after that. I had to get together some important documents for my work permit and permanent residence card (I’m going to be a European citizen for a year!! Woot woot!), buy anything that I might need before going abroad, and then wait. A lot of waiting… To pass the time,Ā I visited friends from out of town, practiced packing my luggage a couple times (I had to make sure everything fit! Also, I was too excited to wait until the day before), and spent as much time with my family as I could.

The waiting did nothing for my nerves. I started creating best case and worst case scenarios in my head: is the family is as nice as they seem? Is Boy poorly behaved or not? Do I know enough French to make my way through Belgium? Will I meet some like-minded people and make friends with them? Am I ready to take care of an 8-year-old boy? Am IĀ ready to live on my own?Ā I’ve never been to Belgium before, so there was a lot of uncertainty and fear during the past month. All I really knew of Belgium was that it’s famous for its beer, chocolate, and waffles, it’s 6 hours ahead from Florida (Eastern time), and they speak French and Flemish. I did some research, but I wasn’t learning much. What I did find, though, was that Brussels is the home of several European governments/ agencies like the European Union, the EuropeanĀ Council, and NATO. That made me feel a bit safer. They also have their own monarchy!

 

All I’m certain of in the coming year is I’m given two weeks holiday in December and April. During the school year, I’m tasked with picking up Boy from school, feeding him an afternoon snack, helping with homework, playing with him, and occasionally, putting him to bed. The mornings and weekends are up to me. With so much free time, I’m planning on traveling a bit (hopefully), taking some courses on writing and graphic design, and learning French (kind of important if I want to live in Belgium). Maybe I’ll take some fun classes, as well, like dancing or cooking. There are so many options! Don’t worry, I’m putting the family first; their needs come before mine. After all, they’re the reason I’m going to Europe in the first place!

As the day got closer, I began felling more emotions: excitement, nerves, fear, curiosity, sadness. The night before I left, I slept soundly. My room was empty except for two suitcases, but it still didn’t feel like I was going to be moving across the ocean to Europe. I had to keep reminding myself that it was actually happening: I’m REALLY moving to Brussels. I’m living the dream. For some reason, though, I didn’t want to let myself believe it was happening in case it all went wrong somehow. I’d rather expect the worst, but hope for the best.IMG_0925.JPG

I woke up the next morning at 4am for my 7am flight to JFK. In New York City, I spent a couple hours with Evelyn before the long-haul flight to Dublin. Luckily, I was in a row all to myself. First class at coach price. After three flights within two days and a full 24 hours of traveling, I finally landed in Brussels Airport! After spending about half an hour reporting my lost luggage (good news is it was returned with in a couple days!), I was met at the airport by the family, who displayed had a sweet “Welcome Carol” sign that Boy had made. I felt very special. I’ve never had a sign at an airport before, but I’ve always wanted one! When I got through the crowd, they greeted me as if I was already part of the family. My nerves were instantly settled.

The next two days were full of appointments and filling out paperwork for my visa. On the afternoon of the second day, I was whisked away to the French Riviera for a couple days of rest and getting to know Boy and his routines.

It’s going to be one crazy, thrilling year. I can’t wait. Send good vibes my way!

Until next time,

Carol B

June Bucket List

Hello. For those of you who donā€™t know me, Iā€™m Carol.Ā For those who do, I went Surfin’ Safari.

It’s summer in Florida. When you think of Florida summer, you instantly think of crowded theme parks, 100% humidity, intense rainstorms, and hurricanes. Oh! and the beach… of course. I like going to the beach, but I’m the kind of person who doesn’t go in the water. I like being on shore, reading a book, soaking up the sun, and relaxing. In Florida, there are things in the water that can kill you. Last year, there was a flesh-eating bacteria. More recently, there have been sharks spotted of the coast of my regular beach. Gators aren’t beach-dwellers, but they also live in the water and are a very real threat. Understandably, I don’t go in the water much. This time, I decided to change that.

I’ve never gone surfing before. It always looked cool and exciting, but also REALLY difficult. How do surfers stay on their board? How do they stay balanced and not fall off? What happens if a giant wave comes crashing down on me? What about sharks? These are very real questions I had about surfing, but not anymore!

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I did some research into surfing schools in Florida and found one called EZride Surf School. They are a Florida company that travels to just about anywhere down the Southeastern coast of Florida, between Miami Beach and Cocoa Beach. They have summer surf camps, private lessons, professional coaching, and group lessons. I gave them a call and scheduled a 2-hour lesson for Molly and me in early June.

When the day came, we got ourselves ready, drove down to the beach, and met our instructor, Marcello. Marcello is originally from Brazil and was once a professional surfer. After a couple years with the pros, he decided to retire from professional surfing and began teaching. He’s incredibly nice and easy to talk to. Unfortunately, the Florida weather was not going to be kind to us. It began storming and thundering not long after we arrived. Marcello said it would be great surfing weather if there was no lightning, but we didn’t want to take any chances. Plus, it was Molly’s and my first time surfing. If those waves were any taller than 3 feet, we would not have been comfortable. We decided to reschedule for another day when the weather was better. I had a whole month to plan this lesson, so there was plenty of time to spare. Marcello was very understanding, and we were able to find another date in the last week of June that would work for all of us.

The day came and the weather was perfect. It was sunny, warm, and just a couple of clouds. Yet again, Molly and I assembled our beach gear, applied quite a bit of sunscreen, prepared our lunches, and set out toward the beach. We met Marcello at the beach around 10:30. He provided the surfboards (9 ft soft surfboards, if anyone cares to know. They are best for the beginners, so I’m told) and swim shirts/ rash guards. We just brought ourselves, water bottles, towels, and anything else we needed for a beach trip. Molly and I were planning to stay on the beach after the lesson was over and veg out, so we brought beach chairs and an umbrella.

The first 30 minutes of the lesson was mostly safety and a science lesson on weather and oceanic physics. It was really technical, but interesting all the same. For example:

  • Winter is the best time of year to surf, even though I think of surfing as a summertime sport.
  • The sweet spot in the water where waves just begin to form is called a line-up. That’s where surfers wait for their waves.
  • Waves are formed when energy from the wind propels the water toward shore. When that water hits a sand bar, the energy is deflected up and forms a wave.
  • A surfboard is only stable and balanced when in motion. Don’t try to stand on it in still water. (I tried. It doesn’t work.)
  • The way you stand on the board is very important to balance. You have to bend your knees to keep your center of gravity low, and keep your arms down! Stiff arms might help to keep balance on land, but in the water, it moves your center of gravity up, which affects your balance.

The key to surfing is to relax and be confident in what you are doing. The easy part is learning to stand on a board. The rest comes with time and experience. Now on to the wipe outs.

Molly, Marcello, and I got onto the beach, put our boards down, and practiced standing up on the board before going out. We practiced this once, then Marcello said, “Looks good. Let’s go!” Well alright, eager beaver. This is my first time doing this. Could we practice a little bit more? ButĀ I didn’t argue. I just went along with it. That might have been a mistake.

We paddled to the line-up point, sat on our boards, and looked toward the beach. It was very crowded. It’s what you’d expect from summers in Florida. There was nowhere to hide from the sunbathing audience. I accepted quickly that they didn’t matter. I was a beginner, after all! Who cares if they saw me fall off my board a couple times? (At the start, I was very confident that I wouldn’t fall too much. Boy, was I wrong…)

Then the moment of truth came. Marcello found my first wave. I got into position and was instructed to paddle. I started paddling toward shore with all the strength I had. As I felt the wave come up from underneath me, I heard “STAND UP!” coming from behind me. Oh crap, here I go. I pushed myself up, found my footing, stood up for a couple seconds, then fell over into the ocean. OMG I DID IT! I SURFED! What an amazing feeling! I just glided over the water like a freakin’ GODDESS! I found the surface, and instantly went back to try it again.

The next couple waves I began to overthink everything. My mental checklist was getting longer and longer with each wave. 1. Push up 2. Jump toward the center of the board 3. Feet point toward the side 4. Stand up THEN release hands 5. Relax. I had issues with not jumping far enough, not going quick enough, moving my hands to early and losing my balance, etc. With every pointer from Marcello, I was relaxing less and less, but I was still having fun! It was my first time surfing, after all, and I was doing this for fun. I’m not planning on going pro anytime soon. I managed to ride a wave once, maybe twice. Molly, on the other hand, did really well! She was determined to stand up on the board and she did. She rode her way to shore a couple of times! As I saw Molly improve more and more, I was getting a little frustrated with myself. The next one is going to be the one!

I was kidding about that. THIS one is going to be the one!

Maybe this one?

Ok, new goal: don’t swallow too much sea water!

Aced it.

I didn’t get the perfect wave, but that just means there is room for improvement! Now that I have an understanding of the basics and what I need to work on, I can practice whenever I want. Again, I’m not looking to become the next big surfer; it’s just fun to do. With that being said, I would DEFINITELY go surfing again. I’ll also mention that I did NOT die from a rogue shark or disgruntled jellyfish. That’s a victory.

If you are ever in South Florida and want to learn how to surf, go to the EZride Surf School websiteĀ or call 954.803.7988 and schedule a lesson. If you can, ask for Marcello Loureiro. He was a great teacher, incredibly supportive, and he really knows what’s up. Happy Surfing!

Aloha,

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Carol B

March Bucket List- The Sequel

Hello. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Carol. For those that do, I can be very persistent.

So I left off my March Bucket List feeling very disheartened. It was definitely an emotional experience having to attend a Disney audition with 200 other girls looking for the same part. For some reason, that rejection only made me want to be in Disney so much more! It’s one of those things where someone tells you “You can’t do this because…”, which energizes you to want to prove then wrong. I like proving people wrong. It’s a weird personality quirk that I’ve never been able to shake.

After the last Disney audition for Belle, I was obviously upset. I wanted to be Belle and perform her songs in front of an audience. However after the audition, I was told by some people (not by the same person, nor all at once), “You don’t want to be a performer. They don’t get paid much at all. Didn’t you stop performing because you had performance anxiety? Performing really isn’t for you. You auditioned for the experience, and that’s all, right?” Well, some of that is true, but I wanted to at least TRY to get a part! That would have been nice. I don’t know if they said those things to make me feel better or give me a much-needed reality check, but after being told that I shouldn’t, I did.

The next vocalist audition was for Disneyland Hong Kong and Shanghai in May. I prepared a month or so for this audition, because at least for this one, I was guaranteed an audience with a casting director! I was finally going to sing at a Disney Audition. I didn’t practice for this one as hard as the last one. I didn’t want to get tired of the song too soon, because I’ve done that before… many times. I chose a song that I liked and thought I could sing and perform well. Based on my previous experience, I was ready for Round 2.

The day finally came, and I drove up to Orlando early for the 1pm audition. It was the same schedule as the first audition: wait for directions, sign in, wait some more, then audition. I didn’t take pictures this time because I was originally thinking of not writing anything about this audition. When I arrived at the Animal Kingdom Rehearsal Center, I stood in line where a nice, energetic woman was walking around, talking to people, and introducing herself to everyone. I was one of about 40 total auditionees, so it was easy to get to know everyone there. Much nicer than the 200+ girls in the first audition! I found out the woman’s name was Deborah (Debra?), and she was auditioning as well. When she returned from her conversations, she notified me that I stole her place in line. Purely accidental, of course. I apologized and returned her spot to her. She jokingly said she didn’t trust me because I stole her spot. Naturally, we became fast friends and talked throughout the audition process. Deborah (I’m sticking with this spelling) was originally from New York, but she came to Florida to perform with a theatre company in South Florida. After the performances ended, she went to stay with friends for a couple days before returning to New York. When she saw Disney was auditioning, she jumped at the chance.

I think she was under the impression that I was looking to make performing a career (at the time, I might have considered it, but I wasn’t set on it yet). With that said, she gave me a couple tips to help “get my big break”. Since I have no need for them, I thought I’d share them with you. You might find Deborah’s advice more useful than I do:

  • Audition for everything!– Even if you don’t really want the part the company is auditioning for, go for it anyway. It will be good practice for a part you really want later on. Also, the more times you show up, the more the casting directors will remember you. Apparently Kristin Chenoweth got her start because she auditioned for everything. The casting directors got so tired of seeing her at the auditions, they gave her a part so she wouldn’t come back. *That’s the anecdote Deborah gave me. I just tried looking it up and found nothing to corroborate that story. It may not be true, but it’s still a nice story.*
  • Know the Florida Professional Theatres Association (FPTA)– Every year, there is a conference in South Florida where all the big Floridian theatre companies come together and do one big audition/ conference. So instead of doing 20 different auditions with two people in each audition, it’s one audition in front of ALL the casting directors! Two birds with one stone. You can click here for more information on their next conference dates.
  • It’s normal to be nervous– Everyone gets nervous. Contrary to popular belief, the casting directors really WANT you to do well. Shocking, I know. Most of the time, they are really nice and want you to feel comfortable. If they are rude to you during or after the audition, you probably don’t want to work for them, anyway.

Back to the audition…

It was about an hour of waiting and talking to people (I socialized! It was great!) before we were called to the back room in intervals of 15. I was #17, so I had enough time to panic, hyperventilate, and psych myself out before I had to go back. Luckily, Deborah was in my group (she was #16), so I didn’t feel too nervous. One- by- one, we saw our new friends walk from the back room, shake their head discouragingly, then walk out the door to go home. By the time we were called to the back, no one had received a callback.Ā I was worried about my chances, but still hopeful.

The next group of 15 were called back to the same rehearsal room as the type cast audition in my first Disney audition. Luckily, there was no type casting in this audition (thank GOD!). The singing audition was closed, so the only people in the room were the auditionee, the casting director, and the accompanist. We were asked to prepare 16 bars of two songs of contrasting styles, but a majority of the girls were only asked to sing one of them. The other song was there if they REALLY liked you and wanted to hear more. Deborah went into the audition room first. I was silently practicing my song when I heard a sound that made my stomach drop. It was Deborah. She. Was. AMAAAZING!!! She had such a beautiful, soulful voice. I don’t know why I was shocked. I should have expected such a remarkable voice! I can’t remember her first song, but her next song was “And I Am Telling You” from Dream Girls. She nailed it! I’d honestly have been surprised if they DIDN’T ask her to sing another song. I wanted to go in and give her a nice applause. At that point, I was her biggest fan. There was silence, then she walked out of the door with a timid smile on her face. She got a callback for The Lion King!! I wanted to stop and congratulate her, but then I remembered that it was my turn to sing.

I walked into the room shakily. My legs were not going to let me walk in a straight line, so I made up for it by smiling really big. If smile big enough, maybe she won’t notice my bowing legs. I said hello and gave my music to the accompanist. I gave him a tempo and starting point, then made my way to the center of the room in front of the casting director. After that, I blacked out and I can’t remember anything… KIDDING! I remember, but in my head, it looks like a video someone filmed while they were running; blurry and shaky.

I greeted the casting director again, then let the accompanist know I was ready. I wasn’t really ready, but I had to do something. He began to play the beginning of my song, then stopped playing. I looked at him, slightly puzzled, then realized, “Oh crap… I missed my cue.” I quickly looked from the piano to the table, apologizing frenetically. She said that it was fine, and we could start again. The piano started up and I began to sing. I don’t think I got my cue that time either, but I wasn’t stopping. I had to keep going. I tried to animate myself, but I think I ended up looking like a mini dancing Groot: business on the top, dead on the bottom.

Then, the worst possible thing that could have happened happened. I realized how stationary my feet were being, so I did the first thing that made sense with the song: I twirled. Not even a graceful twirl like this, which was what I was trying to go for:

Instead, it felt more like I was pivoting with a basketball. Keep in mind that I still had no control of my legs. I tripped myself in my own twirl, and landed ungracefully back on two feet. I finished my song, looked at the director, smiled, and waited for her verdict. “Thank you, Carol. That will be all.” I said, “Thank you…” and I left.

I met Deborah outside and congratulated her on her success! For the first time since I met her, she was bashful and modest, while I was the talkative one! While she waited to be “called back”, I said my good-byes to everyone I had met, and went home. Strangely enough, I wasn’t sad. Nor was I disappointed this time around. Even though I’ll always remember my first, I think this time was more of an experience. I met lots of great people, who made the wait more fun, and I got to sing for Disney! I’m glad that I mustered up enough courage to audition again.

When I got back into the car, I thought back on my audition. Then I remembered the twirl.

Why? Why did I think that would be a great idea? I thought about that twirl for the rest of the day. Because of that, I knew I had to write about it. The only way to get it out of my head is if I get it off my chest and tell the world. I did a clumsy twirl during my Disney Audition. It shall be one of my most embarrassing cringe-worthy memories for the rest of my life.

Would I audition for Disney again? Maybe, but not in the near future. I have something more exciting coming up which will leave me no time to worry about auditioning for Disney. More on that in July! That’s another thing: had I gotten the part in Disneyland Hong Kong or Shanghai, I wouldn’t have been able to take advantage of this new opportunity that I will be starting in July. God has a plan. It’s a bit annoying that I don’t KNOW his plan, but I’m trusting him. Who knows? Maybe I’ll become a princess in the future. Is Prince Harry still taken?

Until next month,

Carol B

May Bucket List

Hello. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Carol. For those of you who do, I’m the Flash. The Lead-Up to the 5K In theĀ week leading up to the 5K, I made two mistakes: Completed a strength training … Continue reading

April Bucket List

Hello. For those of you who donā€™t know me, Iā€™m Carol.Ā For those who do, I’m under contract to keep a secret until this summer…

Sooooo… unfortunately I can’t say anything about my April Bucket ListĀ until this summer. All I can say for now is it was fun and awesome and involved some celebrity guests! I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

Until June,

Carol B

March Bucket List

Hello. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Carol. For those who do, I want much more than this provincial life.

For my March Bucket List, I’ve decided to audition for a part at Disney World! I’m a big fan of Disney movies, bordering on obsessed, so I thought I’d might as well give it a shot. I’ve always wanted to work at Disney as a character, but I was too afraid of rejection. But this year is different, as you already know, so I’m finally going to audition for Disney!

Earlier in March, I went onto Disney Auditions Website and looked at what auditions were being offered this month. As I scrolled down the list for auditions near me, I saw a casting call for Belle in the Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage show at the park formerly known as MGM Studios (It will never be Hollywood Studios. I’m sorry, it just won’t). Now, I have history with this show. When I was younger, my family would go to Disney at least once a year, like most families with Disney-crazy kids. My favorite part of the trip was going to see the Beauty and the Beast show (as well as meeting the characters, the Snow White ride, and eating Mickey-shaped food). There is an old home video of a 3 or 4-year-old Carol B during one such trip where I’m sitting on my Mom’s lap, singing as loud as my little voice could go to the final “Beauty and the Beast”. The whole show was a magical experience for a 3-year-old Disney fanatic. So when I saw that Disney was holding auditions for Belle, I knew it was meant to be.

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The requirements for Belle were she had to be between 5’4″ and 5’7″, had to sing and act like an 18-20 year old, and you had to look like Belle. That means type casting. Guess who is 5’6″, can sing and act, AND kinda looks like Belle? C’est moi!

For the first fews days of March, I was in the mindset that I would go to the audition and just see how far I would go (Moana reference, you’re welcome. [OMG I DID IT AGAIN AND DIDN’T EVEN REALIZE IT!!]). I didn’t expect to go too far in the type casting portion of the audition, but I thought I’d try anyway for the experience of auditioning for Disney. Because it’s Disney… and it gave me an excuse to go to Disney World. However, as the day got closer, my mentality changed from “Let’s do it for fun,” to “I’m doing this to live my childhood dream!” to “It’s my dream AND a job!!” My enthusiasm went from 0 to 100 really quickly.

The whole week prior to the audition, all I could focus on was Disney. I watched YouTubevideos of the Beauty and the Beast show, strictly listened to Disney music, I read some blogs about other Disney Audition experiences, and saw the new Beauty and the Beast movie TWICE. I got into character as much as I could while trying to remain somewhat normal. I warmed up my voice on the way to work, and practiced my audition pieces on the way home and in my room at night before going to bed. I was in the zone. Come Friday (3 days before the audition) I had convinced myself that I was the best person for that part and that I was going to get it, throwing all logic and reason out the window. It’s ok to be confident for an audition, but when you stop thinking about the alternative ending (not getting the part at all), you set yourself up for some major heartbreak.

This Disney audition had a strange way of making me self conscious about my body. I practiced smiling in the bathroom to check if I had a Belle-worthy smile. I pushed myself extra hard on my Couch to 5K routine in order to slim down a bit. I only drank smoothies for breakfast and avoided excess sugar and carbs for the same reason. I questioned whether my freckles would lose the spot for me, or my bushy eyebrows, or the shape of my nose, or even my eye color!Everything I used to love about myself was suddenly put into question because it didn’t seem Belle enough. To say I was nervous about the type casting portion of the audition would be a MASSIVE understatement. I know I can sing, but the one thing I can’t change could lose me the role of a lifetime: my appearance.

Sunday night, I pampered myself to the best version of me. I washed, shaved, exfoliated, moisturized, and all. My outfit was planned for the following day (black leggings, black and white striped shirt, pink flats), and I went to bed as early as my energized mind would let me. Everything was going to be great… at least I hoped so.

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Audition Day:

Monday morning came around, and I was a nervous wreck. I did the vocal warm ups I had IMG_6349been practicing all week, got dressed, put on my usual daily make-up, and styled my hair away from my face. My Dad and I took off work for the day so we could drive up to Orlando together. When we finally got to the Animal Kingdom Rehearsal Facility, it was about 12pm
(two hours before the audition started). My Dad dropped me off at the front and went off to go play golf. From there on out, I was on my own. I walked into the red Disney Auditions door and saw maybe 30 or so girls waiting in line for the doors to open. None of them were dressed as casually as I was.

Nice floral dresses, professional headshots, beautiful theatre make-up, hair curled/ straightened, and heels. These girls looked like the stereotypical theatre girl (not that that is a bad thing). I was definitely intimidated. I wasn’t comfortable speaking with anyone, so I kept to myself and just smiled as girls went by me. I stood at the end of the hallway, furthest from the rehearsal room and waited until 12:30, when they opened the doors for sign in.

IMG_6351I was one of the first girls to enter Rehearsal Room 6. We were lined up along the edge of the rehearsal room and were introduced to Greg. He was a nice Southern man who was there to help us sign in. He explained what characters they were auditioning to fill (Belle and Casey from the Disney Junior Show) and the height requirements. He said those who are auditioning for Belle must pass a type casting audition before they sing for the casting directors. So you could have the best voice in the world, but if you don’t look like the character they are looking for, tough luck. Casey did not need to be type cast because she wasn’t an iconic Disney Princess, so those auditioning for her went straight to the singing portion of the audition. I could have auditioned for her, but I’m too tall. Darn.

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When I walked up to the sign in table, I told Greg my height, and he gave me a sticker with 54 on it, and asked me to sign in on an iPad. Afterward, it was the waiting game. I didn’t bring anything but my phone as means of entertainment because I didn’t think I would need it. My phone was previously used for directions so the battery was at 50% when I went in. I needed to be frugal with my phone usage. Most of the time, I spent looking around the room at the other girls, sizing up the competition. I felt terrible because lots of the other girls were doing the same exact thing to me. It’s cutthroat in there, I swear. I hated myself for judging these total strangers, but my mindset was “This is my part, GRRRRR!!!” and there was no way to turn it off. To avoid the roaming eyes, I resorted to staring at my music and humming to myself. After an hour and a half, 200+ theatre girls in dresses and crazy make-up were signed in ready to audition for one of two parts. I definitely wasn’t expecting so many girls to come out for this audition! It was probably because of the new movie that just came out. Everyone had the same idea as I did when they saw the movie: I want to be her.

IMG_6355It came time to do the type casting audition. My nerves were on FIRE! The worst part about the audition process was starting. Greg had the girls with numbers between 30 and 80 (that’s me!) enter another large rehearsal room to be judged. We were placed in 5 rows of 10 in front of 2 casting directors. They introduced themselves and mentioned that they would be looking for very specific qualities that match Belle. They turned on some Disney Mania version of “Can You Feel The Love Tonight?”, and looked at each row one by one. It was probably the worst feeling I’ve ever experienced. It felt like I was a prize cow on display waiting to be judged at the State Fair. I smiled the entire time (as you should always do at an audition), and when it was my row’s turn to be checked, I looked at myself in the mirror in front of me and instantly thought “I’m not going to get it… that smile is not a Belle smile. The girls next to you are so much skinnier. You look plain compared to everyone else. Why would they choose you?” It took maybe 15 seconds for the casting directors to move on to the next row. I was hopeful, but expecting the worst.

The song hadn’t even ended when the directors announced the numbers that would move on to the next stage. “41, 46, and… *PLEASE SAY 54, PLEASE SAY 54!!!* 51.” If there was an x-ray on my chest at that moment, you would have been able to see my heart stop beating, then drop to the floor. I was devastated. I wasn’t Belle enough. I kept thinking, “If they just heard me sing, maybe I could change their minds.” but that was it. Out of the 50 girls in my group, only 3 survived to the next round. They didn’t ask for my resume, they didn’t ask for me to sing. Done.

I cried the whole way home, and the whole night until I fell asleep, then a little bit the next morning. I was inconsolable. It’s a terrible feeling to be rejected because of something you can’t change. If they had turned me away because of my singing or my acting, I could have gone home, worked on it to become better, than auditioned again in a couple months. But that wasn’t the case today. There is no possible way I can change how I look. I will never have a successful Belle audition. My dream had been crushed, hastily put back together with Elmer’s glue only to be smashed into little pieces by a hammer, then a jackhammer, then a chainsaw, until it was finally buried in a sewer somewhere far, far away.

Looking back, I could have handled my rejection better, but I was so convinced I would get the part that I forgot it was possible for me to NOT get it. After a good run, some time to think, and a bit of writing, I’m finally ok with what happened. Sure it still hurts that I may never be a Disney Princess, but there are other singing parts at Disney. I’ll just audition for those, where I KNOW they will give me a chance to sing.

My tips for a Disney audition:

If you are thinking of auditioning for Disney (singing of not), here are a few things I wish I had known before going to Orlando.

What to bring:
Resume/CV and a recent headshot: Don’t worry if your entertainment resume isn’t the most diverse or full. White space is ok. They just want to see your experience and training. I also put a mini profile on the top of my resume with my age, height, eye color, and hair color for them to reference whenever. For the headshot, I just used a nice picture I had from a year ago. I haven’t changed that much and I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money on a headshot, so I cropped an old picture and called it quits. Lots of girls had headshots in Macy’s or JC Penny’s envelopes (couldn’t tell which), so if you are in need of one, there are cheap options out there.

Audition sheet music: The Disney Auditions website asks that you prepare 16 bars/measures from two songs of contrasting styles. Pick something that is in your range, and if it’s not, find someone who can transpose it into a comfortable range (Thanks, Molly ^_^). I chose two songs that I thought worked well with my voice and were easy to act out for the directors. The songs resembled Belle’s personality and situation, so I chose them to show my shy side and my energetic “I want much more that this provincial life” side. I didn’t want a song from the actual show because I was worried so many other girls would choose that, and I wanted to give some variety to the directors.

Coming from someone who has been to plenty of singing auditions, organize your music so it is easier for your accompanist to read. They are sight-reading some hard music, for crying out loud. Invest in a 3-ringed binder and some sheet protectors. Photo copy the pages you will need for your audition and organize them so the first page is on the left side and the second page is on the right. That way, the accompanist doesn’t have to flip too many pages. P.S. I brought the original songbooks with me as well, just in case.

Book/ reading material: There is a lot of waiting. It’s best to be prepared with something to make the time pass (and get your mind off the nerves). Or you can just talk to people. Theatre kids are very open and love to talk to new people. Just find a group, introduce yourself, and they will do the rest. If you are an introvert like me, a book is the best way to go.

Portable charger: In the rehearsal room, there are no phone plugs. If there are, they were hijacked by other girls. I had to run outside the room and risk missing important information to charge my phone.

Snack: You never know how long an audition could take. Bring a light snack to eat outside of the rehearsal room while you wait.

What to wear:
Be comfortable!!! Lots of girls were in nice dresses, heels, and full theatre make-up. A couple were in jeans, leggings, T-shirts, and little to no make-up (me being one of them). Whatever makes you feel like yourself should be your outfit of choice. If you are looking to stand out, good luck. So is everyone else! Your outfit won’t matter in the long run. Make an impression with your personality. Had I gotten through to the singing portion, I was prepared to walk in speaking French to the casting directors! If you perform better in a dress and heels, do it! If you prefer yoga pants and a nice top, great! You do you. Whatever you do, DO NOT dress as the character you want! No Disney Bounding or Halloween costume here. Try to be a bit professional.
On another note, if you are going through a type casting audition, casting directors will mostly be looking at your body type and facial structure. I suggest wearing something semi form-fitting, hair out of your face, and minimal make-up. Casting directors want to be able to mold you into the character they need, so simplicity is best. Let your natural beauty shine through!

Top tips:

If you are thinking about auditioning for a Disney face character, I’d suggest going out with friend the night before and have everyone tell you how beautiful and amazing you are (if they are your real friends, they will do that without you having to prompt them. THANKS ACAPHILIACS FAMILY AND MOLLIE!!) This audition process makes you really self conscious and doubtful about everything you like about yourself. You need to remember that the way you see yourself is not how everyone else sees you. You may not look the part you want, but you are still a princess to someone.

With that being said, don’t take the type casting personally. They aren’t judging how beautiful or handsome you are. They are looking for a VERY specific face and body for an iconic character, which a very small number of people fit into. It’s not you, I promise. It sucks that the audition info isn’t more specific about the type of person they are looking for, but that’s Disney. Their task to find that small percentage of perfect look-a-likes is tough. They don’t like turning away people as much as you don’t like being turned away. Just remember: the millions of families that come to Disney are looking for perfection, and so must the casting directors.

Would I audition for Disney again after being turned away and going into a mini depression? Hell yes!! It’s still a dream to work at Disney. Just because I don’t look like Belle, doesn’t mean I don’t look like Snow White, or Cinderella, or Aurora, or Merida…

*fade out as Carol keeps naming a bunch of Disney characters*

Until next month,

Carol B

If you are thinking of auditioning for Disney or already finished an audition, please comment below! I’d love to hear from you and what you thought of the experience.