To kick off the new year, here is the funny, moving, and brutally honest “What She Looks Like” from Yale School of Drama graduate Marnye Young. She has her own blog called MomOfTwinsBlog.com that you should absolutely check out for more of her refreshing and creative writing style, not to mention creative approach to parenting, and she is – as you can gather – a mother of twins. Check out photos of Marnye and her girls at the end of the interview.
So much of my passion pursuing individual stories comes from the reality that for many women, when having children, the career can just smash to a halt. Marnye experienced the professional stop and motherhood abundance times two with beautiful twin girls. Her exuberance toward motherhood is a joy to read about while her honesty of the disappearing work is something valid and important to acknowledge in our conversations about motherhood in the performing arts.
Name: Marnye Young. That’ s my stage name but my legal name is Marnye Hull. I dropped the Young. I am a traditionalist I guess. Is traditionalist a word? Gosh I hope so or I am already off to a bad start with this thing.
Profession: Mother. I mean actor. I mean…crap I don’t know. How about Actor on hiatus.
Status [Pregnant/Child(ren) age(s)] I have identical twin girls who are 1 month shy of 2 1/2
What surprised you about having a child and working your performing arts
That my performing arts life would be completely and totally non existent.
What excited you about having a child and working your performing arts
I thought having children would enrich the work that I did and I thought it might make me fearless. I was wrong on both counts.
What challenged you about having a child and working your performing arts
I could not and am still unable to find the time and money to audition. Now that we have moved, auditioning has become extremely expensive because I have to pay for the train ride to and from NYC and for babysitting. You are looking at over $100 for every audition, and I don’t have that kind of money. Also I can’t do any work that is not in NYC because what do I do with my children? I am not like other couples who’s husband or wife or partner is in the industry. My husband is a design architect with his own boutique architecture firm. He works long hard hours and the thought of leaving my children for a few months to do a show I think would be devastating for them and for me and simply not possible since my husband works and our family lives in Georgia Ohio and Virginia. I have watched my kids career have some luck though so that’s good. They were on HBO’s GIRLS as one of the main character’s babies and Lena Dunham said my children were beautiful and they were actually booked for 2 more episodes but they were sick and teething so they couldn’t use them for either. They have also done a Hasbro commercial. And they were called up again by GIRLS just last month. I am hoping to make some money for college for them.
What do you look forward to having children and your performing arts life?
I look forward to when my children are in school and I can get back into it. I miss it so much. I used to say it was my heartbeat. I often think my career is on life support and I may just have to pull the plug and then I think WAIT!! You were born to do this and the industry will always be there. It isn’t going to go anywhere. And I am hoping I will be a much better actor after having the kind of life experiences I have had. I think it will be like starting fresh. I was told early right out of grad school that I was good but I wasn’t going to work until my mid 30’s because casting director’s and others would not know what to do with me. Well that person was wrong because I did have a career but then I hit my mid 30’s and things really started happening for me. I even broke into television and then I found out I was pregnant with twins. So that put the kabash on that. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I have two beautiful children and I am not sorry for the decision I made to promise them that their first few years I would be with them and be a stay at home mom. I am also excited to go back to doing student films but I really need a new headshot right now and well money is tight so that isn’t exactly an option. But I know it will be soon enough. And I am especially excited to share my talent and my love for theatre and acting with my girls.
What you think people should know about having a child and working your
performing arts life:
For some it means things may be a lot harder but somehow you will make it work and find a balance whether you have the help of family or friends or others in the industry who simply adore you. I have some friends who were cast in shows and the people at the theatre basically watched their child during rehearsals. Amazing to me. And for some it may mean you put your career on ice for a bit while you take care of your kid(s) and you do your best to find things to feed the artistic part of your soul. Even if, like me, it means going to the gym and taking a Zumba class because there is art in that (she says with a wink and a laugh) or reading a good book after the kiddies have gone to bed. I also turned my closet into a voice over studio and send out auditions when I can. I started a blog not that long ago and am in the midst of writing a four hander play. I also do my best to challenge myself physically. I think it helps and it is good for the girls to see. We shall see how everything unfolds. I am optimistic. And the way I see it it is all part of working on my craft. And if any of you are in the boat I am in I hope you can see that too.
I was at a commercial airline audition for the girls and to my surprise they wanted me to audition as well. It felt like an out of body experience and so foreign to me. Not to mention I was not at my finest. I think I had spilt milk on my shirt along with cheerio bits on my shirt and no doubt in my hair which happened to be a giant frizz ball. I think I just nonsensically blabbed most of the time and the rest of the time I spent wrangling my children as they shot around the room going behind the camera, touching someone’s laptop, throwing themselves on the floor and laughing maniacally and even stealing someone’s Mountain Dew (my husband drinks it). They were supposed to sit in chairs (at 2 I mean really who are we kidding). Anyway the end result was me completely frazzled and they were quite literally bouncing off the walls. I am really hoping not to repeat that one.
For the past three years, Marnye has been working diligently to network and develop a niche with audiobooks. Her work includes everything from spiritual, to fairytale, sci-fi, romance, young adult, health and wellness, and much more She wrote to me that “it is so wonderful to have my cake and eat it to. I take care of my beautiful little bears during the day and then from night to the early am I am recording in my studio. I am learning so much and refining craft constantly. I have worked hard to build up a network over several years and now it is becoming a well-oiled machine.”
A woman with that sort of passion, work ethic, and booking tenacity who also loves so deeply can only be an asset to the performing arts. It is my greatest hope someone realizes the contribution Marnye can make when she dives back in. I’m publicly writing my support of this incredible artist-mother. Show her your support in the comments below.
My Favorite Quotes:
“I look forward to when my children are in school and I can get back into it. I miss it so much. I used to say it was my heartbeat.”
– Marnye Young, Actor/Mother
“I often think my career is on life support and I may just have to pull the plug and then I think WAIT!! You were born to do this and the industry will always be there.”
– Marnye Young, Actor/Mother
“You are looking at over $100 for every audition, and I don’t have that kind of money. “
– Marnye Young, Actor/Mother
“We shall see how everything unfolds. I am optimistic. And the way I see it it is all part of working on my craft. And if any of you are in the boat I am in I hope you can see that too.”
– Marnye Young, Actor/Mother
I love this woman. Check out our post on Childcare Initiatives and stay tuned for more initiatives and moms taking action in the next post of our series.
More profiles coming soon!
If you are or you know a performing artist professional and mom who wants to share thoughts, answer these questions and shoot them to me at this contact form!