I Am Rose - Rebecca Spigelman
Interviewing Rebecca for our series, I am Rose, hit some unexpected high notes. Enter stage right , on-point 90s references, Broadway trials, tribulations, and nudity. Rebecca exemplifies aspects of ROSE we find inside all of us, endeavoring, joy, grace. She knows who she is and has the self-belief to discover. Rebecca searches for individualistic expression using her talent and instinct to guide her.
We think you have such a cool story! Tell us about your path and what makes you the woman you are today.
Wow thank you! So, I went to school for musical theatre and moved to New York to pursue acting and singing as a career. As with most things in life, it didn’t go exactly as my 22 year old self imagined it would, but I’m a betting woman, so I’m holding out for the big break. You gotta bet big to win big, right? Rejection is not really something you get used to, but it IS something you can become better at dealing with. Auditioning and waiting for the phone to ring can be emotional or even downright sad, so I like to fill up my time with positive lights, like my niece and nephew, who truly bring me an immense amount of joy. My family has played, and continues to play, a huge role in my life and my career. I really lucked out in that department. I owe any successes to their support and earnest faith in my abilities.
A one liner that would describe you is...?
I can hip-hop, be-bop, dance till ya' drop, and yo yo yo, make a mean cup of coco. (Mrs. Doubtfire, anyone?)
When did you realize you had a talent for acting, singing and you could make talent your career?
I grew up singing, my sister was into theatre and my dad plays the piano, so a night full of singing show tunes was pretty average in my house. I did children’s theatre and improv, and realized I loved attention...in true little sibling fashion! But,it was when I went to my first professional audition when I was 15, which led to some great opportunities, that I became hooked. That high of getting a callback or an email or something was (and still is) intoxicating. From that point I felt a real calling to be onstage, much more than a hobby. It was clear it was a passion.
Tell us about a time you were afraid to do something, but did it anyway! What was the motivator?
When I was in college, I was cast in my first professional production with a rep- utable theatre company. It was a big deal times ten. There were only a few of us who were students, the rest of the cast was comprised of actors from New York, some of whom had already been on Broadway. Talk about intimidating! Well, this particular show was the musical “Hair” which is famous for songs like “Aquarius” and “Let the Sunshine In” among others. It’s also very famous for its full frontal nudity. The cast was asked individually if we would feel comfortable participating. With the show months away I casually said yes and put it on the back burner. The weeks went by, and we mimed disrobing head to toe, save for a couple necklaces and a microphone. But, sure enough, the time came to do it for REAL. The pit in my stomach was the size of a basketball. I didn’t think i could go through with it. Being deep into disordered eating (as i had been for 10 years and would continue to be for 10 more) and the “never thin enough” mentality, I panicked about my body. Is my belly too big? Would my breasts look weird? Would people literally laugh at me? I was 20 years old at the time. How could I go through with this? The music started and I looked around the stage and saw bodies becoming less and less clothed in a matter of moments. I wanted to be as professional as I pretended I was. So, I did a 3 second soul search and, about to pass out from an oxygen de- privation, I decided to jump in. It happened! I did it! And I not only survived, I ended up loving it. After that rehearsal, I took my clothes off onstage a total of 53 times. And, the last night we got to do it, I cried. I was sad it was over. It taught me so much about what Im capable of as an artist and a woman. It is something I'm still proud of today.
WOW! That is AMAZING! How do we top that and keep going!?
Let's move over to clothing-on, ; ) What is your earliest memory of style?
I remember watching “Troop Beverly Hills” starring Shelley Long and thinking that her entire wardrobe was To DIE for. I was in love with every 80s, polka dotted, big hair’d, structured, whimsical, Rodeo Drive look she sported in that movie. Just a fashion icon.
Is there an intersection between fashion and theater?
Fashion and theatre go hand in hand! Both are forms art that serve to express emotion, tell a story, and make others feel something. Costume designers on Broadway are incredibly gifted in their details of storytelling, they almost make it look easy. The transformation that happens for an actor when they cross the line from ‘rehearsal’ to ‘dress rehearsal’ is monumental. A costume changes you from the outside in. It allows you to take on a persona, whether that be a character or a version of yourself, in a way that cannot be done in everyday, plain clothing.
Do your characters ever inspire your personal style?
Some characters definitely do inspire my style! I look at a character and think “oh, i wish i was as brave as her,” or “i’m going to channel that energy”. And the way to do that is through a complete look.
What’s next for you? Wildest dream scenarios encouraged!
I plan on being on Broadway! It seems like a wild dream to many, but It is a true plan and goal of mine so I'm going towards it. One of my favorite women Bridget Everett said “If you really love it, there is no timeline. It will work itself out when it’s supposed to.” And, while it can be hard to break through the antiquated stereotypes of what is beautiful or desirable, there have been small steps in the direction of more size diversity and representation onstage. I would love to see plus size actors become more mainstream, not novelty acts or one offs. So, hope- fully the times they are a-changing. Oh, and I’d like to be friends with Chrissy Teigen. Just putting that out there, universe.
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Rebecca is beautiful and inspirational. I loved this interview because of her positive outlook and determination.