Kat Koppett talks about the turning point for her in her life that lead her to be named a 2019 Woman of Excellence:
In my early 20’s, I was temporarily paralyzed. Rather than pounding the pavement looking for work in New York, I found myself back in California at my parent’s house re-learning how to walk. Voices warred inside my head. I needed to get back! I was missing my life! I was an actor; I loved NY. I had been defined in my own mind – and the mind of most of the people I knew – by that place and that vocation – for as long as I could remember.
But secretly, in my heart, something else whispered. I was relieved. I had an out. Now, all I had to do was learn to walk. No need to audition. No need to find a crappy day job. No need to send out hundreds of pictures and resumes no one would ever open. Or to do free jobs in terrible shows to be maybe “seen”.
Secretly, I hated auditioning. I wasn’t even sure I liked acting. I loved being part of a community that valued intimacy and expressiveness and collaboration and human connection. I loved telling stories and commanding attention. But I hated being judged on my looks, and being told I wasn’t … pretty enough, tall enough, old enough, blond enough, dark enough, ethnic enough. I hated spending 90% of my time competing for jobs so someone else could give me permission to do what I loved doing. I didn’t love being physically uncomfortable on location in service of selling insurance.
I didn’t quit then. I wasn’t courageous enough. But the seed was planted. My illness literally forced me to stop and assess at a time when my impulse would have been double-down full speed ahead and ignore my inner voices. Eventually, I chose to go to graduate school in Organizational Psychology and grow the applied side of my theatre and improv work, which is what led me here today.
In improv, we talk about “Mistakes as gifts” I suppose you could say I could attribute being named a Woman of Excellence today to gifts I was given in the “mistake” of my illness.
Sign up for the 28th annual Women of Excellence luncheon on May 30th here.
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