I'll never forget the moment when I saw a movie that literally changed my life in the instant. That movie was called Center Stage. I was going through such a difficult time in my life. I grew up a gymnast. I also grew up with extreme doubt and fear and anxiety, so much so that I made myself sick all the time. I missed half the school year. I was throwing up once a week, every Tuesday before gymnastics because I was so scared, not being the best or not being perfect, not only causing so much fear and anxiety and stress, but it also caused so many extreme health challenges for the rest of my life.
When I finally got the courage to quit, it was one of the most difficulty times in my life because it was all I knew. It was my identity. I love my mom with all my heart. She's my best friend, my biggest supporter. When I finally got the courage to tell her, she looked me in the eye and said, "I don't like you right now. I can't be around you for a while." To have your mom tell you that at 14, I just cried in my room for a long time, and all my friends didn't want to talk to me. I didn't know who I was anymore.
When I saw this movie, Center Stage, I felt what it felt like to have a purpose again, to have passion again, to have drive again. I knew in that instant that that's what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to act. I wanted to dance. I wanted to inspire people just the way that those girls on the screen inspired me. I just sat there and I just cried and prayed and visualized myself doing that, and, right after that moment in that theater, I was really loud about that dream. I told everybody. I was like, "I'm gonna act. I'm gonna dance. I wanna go to LA. I wanna perform. I wanna inspire people." Everybody was like, "Yeah, right. Have fun trying. Nobody ever makes it." It was super-discouraging. I kept watching that movie, and I kept getting re-inspired and I kept remembering why I was working so hard, and I kept just believing, like, "If she could do it, I could do it."
The story of Center Stage is this girl who literally beats all odds. Everyone tells her that she's not good enough. She doesn't have the right body type. She'll never be anything, and she finds her own creative way to create something better than she could have ever imagined, and I just kept believing that story, that hero's journey.
We could all do that. We could all become our own heroes of our own life's movie every single day, finding books, watching videos, any sort of education or content or inspiration I could find that would help me get through the discouragement or the defeat or the doubt and help me understand that my thoughts really didn't matter. What I thought about myself and what I could do would affect the way that I feel, which would then affect my next reaction, my next action, and that would affect my opportunities and the possibilities that I have in my life.
I didn't get into the dream college I wanted to go to. I thought that was the plan. On every level, I should have gotten into that college, but I didn't, and then, last minute, there was this audition for this performing arts program in LA. Out of hundreds of kids, thousands of kids all over the world, I got in. All the sudden, the worst thing that ever happened to me turned into the best thing that ever happened to me. Because I didn't get into that college, I, last minute, got into this program.
As soon as I got done, I got a dance agent, and I was so excited about that, but I was like, "Hey, guys, I wanna act." Everyone was like, "Yeah, come back when you're ready." I got no after no after no, again, from agents and different people in the industry saying, "You're not ready," or, "Just stick to dancing. You'll never be anything as an actress," and so I went back to the same place that I did my program at. I had never seen a casting call in my life. I saw this sign on the wall that said, "Auditions for lead girl in Center Stage 2." I saw the audition, and the part of me went, "Yes, you gotta go. This is it." The other part of me went, "Who are you? You're never gonna make it. People just turned you down over and over and over again."
We always have these two voices inside of us, that one's saying, "Yes, go for it," and the other one's saying, "Who are you to do anything?" It's up to us every single day, who are we going to choose? Are we going to choose faith and the opportunity and the possibility, or are we going to choose fear? Whichever one we do, it's going to seem louder. What's crazy about this is that I literally almost didn't go. I did follow the fear voice.
You know those really dramatic times you have with yourself in the mirror? I remember looking at myself in the mirror. I wasn't going to go, talked myself out of it, and I felt this feeling. You have to go.
Six auditions later and a roller coaster ride of some of the most incredible emotions and so many sleepless nights, crying myself to sleep and feeling so nervous and so anxious with it being so close, but so far to my childhood dream, and I remember driving in my car, getting this call from this agent that turned me down a couple months ago, and she said, "Rachele, Sony Pictures wants to book you as the lead in Center Stage 2."
I literally, I didn't even know how to handle that kind of news, when you hear that you're literally going to play the lead in a sequence to the film that changed your life, the thing that you've been working towards your whole entire life, the thing that you visualized, the thing that you wrote down, the thing that you kept believing regardless of how challenging, how hard, how discouraged you were.
If that's not a story of our ability to literally create whatever we want to create in this world, I don't what is.
Every single film role or every single incredible opportunity I've had in my life is because I've been brave enough to say, "This is what I wanna do," and then tell everybody about it and not give in to defeat and discouragement, to decide every day to disrupt doubt and fear and limiting beliefs, to be able to choose every single day that I have the power inside of me, the choice, the gift to choose faith in the possibility, faith in the opportunities, faith in my abilities to do incredible things, rather than the fear that holds us all back, the fear that keeps us from doing everything we want to do in the world. That brings back so much power, that we don't have to live life on autopilot, just going through the motions.
Am I going to take charge of my life, or am I going to let everything just pass me by and just let life choose for me? What kind of life do I want to live?
Nobody's going to come save you. It's up to you to decide to be the hero of your own life story because only you can write it. You have to be the one to look deep within side of and find ways to figure it out. I just believe so much in this, and that's exactly why is started my brand and my movement, Disruptive, to help people disrupt doubt and fear and limiting beliefs and decide to step into and become their own hero. I've learned so much. I've conditioned myself that when I feel fear now, I go and do it anyways.
I just want anybody out there to know that if you're going through a challenging time, I hope that you can lean on my belief in you that you're more than enough. If I can go from being a super-insecure, super-stressed out little girl to being a lead actress in feature films and TV shows and speaking on stage in front of thousands, millions of people all over the world, I'm no different than you. I was that scared little girl. I still have that inside me, but it's my choice every day. Am I going to give into fear, or am I going to step into my power, into my faith, into the possibility and use what I like to call the disruption muscle and disrupt the way I'm perceiving something, so rather than disempowering me, it empowers me to take action.
All I had to focus on was, what am I doing today to get one step closer? What am I going to create today? How can I see this day, this experience as a creative process that I'm participating in? I'm not just going through the motions. I get to co-create it.
There's so much power that you have inside of you, and I just hope from the bottom of my heart that you hear me right now and know that you matter and that you're more than enough and that you're capable of doing amazing things and that you have the power to disrupt doubt and fear and limiting beliefs every single day and choose to step into your own power and become the hero of your own life story.