Alyssa Watkins

Thespian pursues acting career

Joe Powell, Staff Writer

Dedication, callbacks, perseverance and packed audiences. For senior Alyssa Watkins, these are only glimpses of what she goes through in her career as an aspiring actress.

But she wasn’t always the star people know her as today.

“I’ve been acting since Kindergarten, Pre-K, and as long as I can even remember,” Watkins said. “I’ve just always had this ambition for acting and being up on stage.”

Watkins originates from Wisconsin and moved down to Texas at a young age, seeking out some sort of hobby to ease the transition into her new lifestyle.

“I had just moved down from Wisconsin and that’s when I started getting into theatre, using it as a place I could go to when things got hard,” said Watkins. “It was kind of hard getting into it I’m not going to lie. But once I realized it was something that I thoroughly enjoyed doing and was good at, it became one of my favourite things to do.”

Watkins gets much of her confidence and inspiration from two big people in her life.

“The person who has inspired me most, has to be my mom,” said Watkins. “My mom was the one who got me into theatre, musical theatre and the whole acting thing in general. At first I wasn’t all that into it, but she used to always take me and my sisters to musicals and plays, which is what really encouraged me to pursue that. Had it not been for her, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today.”

“But my role model has to be Beyonce. I’ve always been a fan of her, singing her songs in elementary during recess, in the hallways. I love that woman, and I just sort of meshed the musical side from beyonce and the acting side from my mom together into this musical theatre kid. So I guess you could say Beyonce and my mom are the two most influential people in my life.”

Acting is a tough and unrelenting career choice with some of it based on talent, and some of it on luck.

With this fact in mind it can be a discouraging thought to many who seek to pursue the dream.

“It may come off as cocky or self-righteous but a big motivator in my life that keeps me pushing is me,” said Watkins.

“Acting can be ruthless and most of the time you won’t get a part or you might be freaking out about messing up onstage, and it can be so easy to just give up and call it quits. Which is something I find myself wanting to do a lot of the time but I decide to take it as an opportunity to learn, build character, and show them I can still be a team player.”

Another big contributing factor in her acting career at Cinco Ranch that she finds to be a subject of conflict, in her growing as an actress, is the topic of color.

“Although race isn’t what I would call a problem at Cinco, It would just be a lie to not address the fact that there aren’t a lot of girls of color in theatre. So it means I am pretty much the black girl in everything. But I don’t see it as a problem. I like to see myself as maybe even a person that other girls of colour in production can look up to. That definitely gives me the motivation boost I need to keep furthering myself as an actress, knowing that I could be some other girl’s role model or even just to show them that they are still represented.”

Pursuing a career in acting begs the question as to how far they are looking to go with it.

“I am willing to work my way up but Broadway Is my endgame. But I don’t do it with the mentality of being rich and famous in the future. Don’t get me wrong that all sounds lovely, but to me, if I’m able to do something I love and be rewarded for it, then that’s alright with me. That’s what acting is to me though – a happy place.”

Watkins has been accepted into big names such as New York University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, and Oklahoma University, which auditions over 1,300 people and picks only 15, which is the school she will be attending in the fall.

“Oklahoma University was the dream school for me,” said Watkins. “I honestly didn’t expect to get in there at all, purely because of the prestige of getting in, they audition so many people and pick such a select few that I almost didn’t even bother auditioning but I am so glad I did. The thing I’m looking forward to most is the theatre program and everything that it has in store education wise. I really feel that this university is going to help me evolve as an actress and have more to offer me than any other school. So I can positively say that I am so excited for my future.”

At the end of the day, it’s not the school she’s attending, or the prospect of fame or fortune. But instead, it’s the feeling she gets when she walks on the stage and the ecstasy of being able to do what she loves, to bring joy to all audiences.

“I love being on stage. There’s just something about being up there and performing, feeding off the audiences energy and having them feed off of yours is so magical to me.”