“I can tell you’re not professional.” The Words Said to Me This Week

“I can tell you’re not professional.”

A real statement made to me while I was directing my first play (well, staged reading). When they said it, I nervous laughed and changed the subject but it really has been bothering me. The statement came from someone who doesn’t know me and had literally just met me.

So, I began thinking, what would make me a professional and more importantly, what about me isn’t professional.

The rehearsal this was said at was located at a beautiful facility.

The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts

The cast were all trained professionals, and incredibly talented.

Ari Veach, Gaia Visnar, Sabastian Zeqharr, Broghanne Jessamine

The reading was being held at a highly sought after location.

It was being produced by Elemental Women Productions, and full fledged production company (shout out to my homegirl, Broghanne Jessamine).

We had an incredible turn out. And not only that, they we’re a super supportive crowd.

Sabastian Zeqharr, Broghanne Jessamine

The crowd even asked questions at the talk back after the show!

Broghanne Jessamine, Charlotte Giles, Me

I had done my work as a directing in and out of rehearsal.

So, how could I be not professional? This person also asked what I did besides this and I said “bartender.” And that was it, the label that stuck to me. As if bartending is bad job, or the people who do it aren’t serious. Some of the hardest working people I know are bartenders, the hours are long, guests are rude, and overall all customer service jobs are emotionally exhausting.

It’s been a little over a week since I was told I’m not professional and I think I finally know how I feel about it.

F*** that.

Being a professional isn’t about how much money you make or time you can give, its about passion. If you are an artist, and make art, guess what? You’re a professional.

Professionalism is an attitude. And I’ve got plenty of attitude! So, it doesn’t matter if you have a ‘survival job’ or you can work in your desired field all the time, you are still a professional.

Moral of The Story: don’t let other people’s negativity make you feel down or put you in a box. No one can label you without your permission. So, make your own labels! Here are mine right now!

Mikayla Labels As Defined by the Only Person’s Opinion that Matters (Her Own):


Support Your Artist Friends

You’ve probably seen this public service announcement before. Most likely on someone’s Facebook repost. I wanted to take time to say how important it is to support your friend’s dreams.

Most people don’t hesitate to buy reprints of art from Target, TJ Maxx, or Marshalls. But why do that when you can buy unique art that supports your friends?

An average Broadway ticket costs about $120 or more. Guess what? Community theatre costs $20. Think of all the people you actually know that you could support with that money.

Also, the friends you support will remember that. They will feel grateful and when the times come, they will support you too.

Supporting each other is how we build a nurturing community.

Here are some of my amazing friends I support.

Artwork by Alexandra Hartford

I commissioned her to do all the artwork for my website and social media. Check out her whimsical pieces!

Taryn Tanaka wrote this book when we we’re Junior High students! Yes, she wrote a book when we were so young and now she’s got a beautiful collection of stories. Taryn is currently working as a news producer in Baltimore, Maryland. She is incredibly talented.

‘Blonde Amy‘ is an amazing short film by my friend, Genaro Dominguez. It’s streaming on Amazon Prime! Go check it out!

Broghanne Jessamine isn’t just my best friend, she is also my business partner. She is a fantastically talented actor and I highly suggest you see her work.

Linda Garcia is a cocktail queen! She works at a bar called Tooker Alley in Brooklyn but she also does pop-up event throughout the city. She’s got a killer palate and gives the best (and most honest) advice.

The Narcotix, ‘an Afro psychedelic percussive affair.’ I just went to their first show this week to support my friend, Adam. The band blew my mind and gave me chills.

There’s so many others I want to mention but that’s a good start! I plan on doing more posts about supporting small businesses and artistic pursuits. Stay tuned! And please feel free to suggest anyone you’d like me to feature!

Moral of the Story: Support your friend’s dream.

-Mikayla Olivia Orrson