Micaela

I know she doesn't like it when I bring it up but things didn't start on the best note for me and this lady bae.

(Sorry, dude. I gotta do backstory. I'll make it brief. :)

We were in an acapella singing group together and were forced to sing together for two months. Personalities clashed along with sickness as well as an INSANE amount of music to cram in our brains. Everyone was irritated and tired. It was no good. Once the season was done, I just assumed we wouldn't talk again and I wasn't necessarily upset by it. Two months after Christmas, I was heavy into a health kick and she reached out to me to see if she could attend a spin class with me. I remember being at work and showing a coworker her text because I was shocked. I took a second and said "okay!" It had been enough time for some space and I appreciated her taking the time to send me a message.

We began to talk on a real level. We took a moment to recognize that perhaps we didn't start off on the right foot but once that was acknowledged, our friendship went to a place that I would have never ever thought it could soar.

Over the last 5 years, Micaela has challenged me. She has called me out on my shit. She has made me laugh. She has made me cry. She believed in me and saw through to who the real me was more so than so many others. She accompanied me on my first destination wedding and was my lovely assistant. Every time we have had a misunderstanding or a challenge, she has taken the time to talk about it with me. She's real and she's helped me to be more vulnerable and accept parts of me that I had trouble acknowledging for so many years. She inspires me and I am so dang proud of her. She's also the Godmother of my youngest daughter. I'd also like to mention, she is RIDICULOUSLY talented, has a humble working ethic and is driven like you would not believe. I love watching her dance because it's a talent of hers that I greatly admire. Her high pitched talking voice makes me laugh. Seeing her onstage doing what she loves most, is a gift . I like her just a little bit.

Three years ago, she was singing on cruise ships. She would do a cruise and come home. Then, she would go out and do another one. Two years ago, she announced at a family function that she booked the National Tour of Wicked. She toured the country and did a swing track that also included the lead role of Nessa. Once her time was done, her plan was to move to NY and pursue the ultimate dream-the Broadway stage. It's something that we both have a passion for and although my life has gone in a different direction, I got very excited for her when she told me she was going to leave the tour to move to NY.

A few months ago, I called her to vent about something and being the person she is, she let my mouth fly. Once I was done with my rant, (45 minutes later) she chimed in.

"I have something I want to share with you. Can I tell you something?"

"Sure!"

"My agent called. I've been asked to take the replacement track for what I am currently doing on tour.....In New York."

Cue Emily losing her shit. I literally, did the thing where I covered my mouth and bawled my eyes out. Pride does not even begin to cover the range of emotions I felt in that moment. She had conquered her dream. She was going to Broadway. I cried some more.

"Awww. Em. Don't cry!"

"IM SOOOO PROUD OF YOUUUUUU" .

I was a mushy mess. I wanted to hug her and rub my proud, sister tears all over her. Alas, she was in Washington or Idaho or some other state than California.

I cannot wait to go and see her. My plans are to get out there soon...so Corona virus hysteria needs to zip it. I have a Micaela girl to go see on Broadway! Again, I am just the most proud of her and love her to the moon. Thank you for letting me be me, Micaela. Thank you for inviting me to be me and thank you for loving me the way that you have. You don't give up when it's gotten hard . It's never even been an option. I admire you so very much and I can't wait to see you on that stage.

*Because she in NY, I couldn't photograph her. Then I realized I wouldn't NEED TO! These are some photos we shot at her lifestyle shoot a year ago...it JUST so happens she wore purple. In front of a purple door. Winner. *

*****************************************************************************************************

What is your name and how do we know each other?

"Micaela Martinez We know each other because we performed together in the acapella group, Westbeat."

How old are you?

"29"

What are you currently doing with yourself?

"I am currently on Broadway in the musical 'Wicked'." (no big)

Are you where you hoped you would be? If not/ Why? If so-what do you love about it and could you see yourself doing anything else?

"Ok. I do feel like I am where I hoped I would be in this time of my life. I also feel really lucky and grateful to have made it to the 'Broadway'. If there is something else I would do with my time, It would be going back to school and getting a degree in Speech Pathology. My mom is a speech pathologist for kids grade K-5 and I’ve always admired my mom and how much she loves helping children learn how to speak. I think it’s something I would also really enjoy."

Women are becoming a resilient sound that cannot be silenced. What are you doing to contribute that sound?

"I think in this moment of my life I am doing whatever I can to take care of myself. I am putting myself first, when in the past It was easier for me to put everyone else first. But what I’ve learned from taking care of my mental health and my emotional state and where I’m at and how I’m feeling- is that I am able to be more present, and available, and genuinely there better for someone else. I think in this time of our lives the best thing we can do for each other is be there for one another as genuinely and as authentically as possible."

What is something you learned from a younger age that has stuck with you?

"I think to listen to voice in your head and to follow your gut and your instinct."

Who is an individual who made a profound impact on you and why?

"My sister because she has grown into one of the most compassionate, empathetic, all loving human beings. Every time I share something that is personal or that I am struggling with she always gives really mature, understanding advice. She never judges me or looks down on me. She only loves and accepts me and wants to look up and understand what I am going through."

What is a weakness or something that exposes your vulnerability and what do you do to combat/embrace it in order to grow?

"I desperately want to be perfect all the time. Honestly being a swing in Wicked and having to learn multiple tracks and roles in the show has helped me to embrace making mistakes and to remember that as long as no one dies, than I am doing a good job."

What is something that you want to accomplish and what are you doing to get to that place, if anything?

"I want to perform and be on a stage and so I moved to NY and in hopes of making that dream a reality. I think being in the heart of the theatre world is the best place for me to be despite how nervous and scared I was to start a brand new chapter of my life. I think that the scariest things in life are the things you should generally go after."

And now..a few questions to lighten the mood...

Dogs or Cats?

"Cats"

Cheeseburgers or Salad?

"Ugh. I mean Cheeseburger. Duh. with fries."

Beach or Mountains?

"Mountains."

Sweet or Salty?

"Sweet"

Lose all of your old memories or never make new ones?

"Lose all your old memories."

Disney..or is there any alternative?

"I mean. I guess I like Disney". (I'll let it slide)

What is a fun fact that someone may not know about you?

"I played the trombone from the 5th grade all the way through junior year of high school. And I did marching band all of high school. Senior year I did pom line. I was on dance."

And the final two important questions...

What is a common misconception about you that people make based on your appearance? What is your truth and how do you personify strength?

"I think people think that I am always positive and in a good mood. But I think more and more, I am trying to be honest with where I am at each day. Sometimes it’s hard to admit that you're having a bad day. I’ve noticed when I do open up to people and express than I am struggling, usually, I realize I'm not alone. I think that strength is not always about putting on a brave face. I think being vulnerable and crying or expressing emotion-that to me is not weak. That is the definition of strength. It takes a lot of courage to let down your walls and be sensitive to let people in and let them know that you don’t always have it all together."

You have inspired me. What about yourself do you hope to put out in order to inspire other young people?

"I think to be fearless in the pursuit of what you want. That’s easier said than done. I struggle with anxiety and it can sometimes shift the voices in my head from being motivated and excited and positive to full of doubt and being scared. Questioning in my head if I can do. But if you can find a way to overcome those thoughts and not let them hold you back, than I think that’s the moment when you can achieve anything."

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© 2017 by Emily Van Gorder-Pantig.