About a couple of winters ago, a few black actresses in Chicago started to meet up, at bars, restaurants, each other’s apartments, rooftop parties and more to share and fellowship with one another. Whether it was sharing auditioning experiences, rehearsal horror stories, or giving advice and tips to one another, it was really inspiring to sit in a room full of women who look like you and can fully understand this crazy career path you’ve chosen. We’ve suggested monologues that would be perfect for one another, exchanged sheet music for audition books, made connections for others, supported each other by going to opening and closing nights, and more importantly we were just plain there for each other – I believed I may have cried actual tears before starting my new journey at Second City around this time last year. Running into blactresses around town at auditions have become the highlight of my acting experience in Chicago so far. Before I would walk into a casting office, see the face of a blactress that looks familiar and never say hello. Now, even if we are just meeting for the first time, it’s an automatic connection of huge smiles, hugs, and “good lucks,’ “break your legs,” and even a few pointers from what they just experienced in the casting room like “by the way girl, it’s like 10 people in their eating bagels and the director is the one wearing a hat.” Outside of my HBCU experience in Memphis, TN, I haven’t been a focused grouped this loving since 2008.
So, when fellow Chicago actress, Patrese D. McClain, who organized the first Blactress meeting, asked me to assist her in designing apparel for actors, I was really excited to get started. Visit the store HERE and come back every Wednesday for new additions and sales. Eventually, the line will expand to Tees for Actors for EVERYONE in the theatre community to embrace.