Category: Real Talk

You Are Worth More Than a Paycheck

This isn’t a post that was easy or pretty to write, this is a post of true honesty about my story.  I’m not alone in my story there are hundreds if not thousands of other girls pressured to not eat their food, over exercise and pretend they aren’t hungry and dying inside.  My story isn’t unique, my story isn’t alone and its not shocking if you are from this world.  The crown is way heavier than you could ever imagine!  The expectation to be perfect is unattainable.

 

You might be their favorite now but don’t worry that tide will quickly change and they will find a new flavor of the week.  Winning or keeping favor with casting is the goal that drives the most dangerous of realities.

In the over a decade I spent in theme parks I let someone else dictate my worth by what I weighed and what size I wore.  Yearly I had to “reaudition” for my job, then get weighed and measured.  Let that sink in, once a year I was put on a scale and told if I was good enough.  The pressure to fit in a certain dress size and weigh a certain number was insane, I mean who wants to lose their job?

Many I know turned to less than healthy options.  Having been disapproved for my size (possibly one of the most humiliating experiences ever in my life) and told I needed to lose 10 pounds in a week after already more than fitting the last size I was approved in, the choices to be healthy weren’t exactly on the table.  I starved myself for the week, I mean I ate either nothing or a single can of tuna with some (but not too much) mustard and then ran or did the elliptical for 45 minutes to an hour.

 

When I came back , drowned in my dress and continued to be praised for how “fantastic I looked.”  Keep in mind I was a size 0 and 5’7″ and with every pound I continued to lose the praise multiplied.  With every pound I was prettier, I was “better” at my job and the hours increased.

 

But no matter what I did it was never enough, the critiques about my “silhouette” became more extreme with each pound lost. The phrase “do you really need to eat that?” was asked too frequently and I was eating one can of tuna and one protein shake a day.  DID I REALLY NEED TO EAT THAT TINY BIT OF THE ONLY FOOD I ATE ALL DAY? YES! YES I DID!  Every time I even ate that can of tuna the guilt of “will I get fat and lose my job?” and “do I really deserve this food I’m eating” would rush over me.

I would go from one extreme to the other, starve myself for weeks, then binge, feel guilty and starve myself… the cycle continued over and over again.  The scale controlled everything about my life.  Multiple times a day I would climb on the scale and cry uncontrollably if I even gained an ounce.

I couldn’t tell you how many times I almost fainted or hid when I did.  I was running 3 miles a day, swimming and doing a cardio dvd.  I was like a trained dog, I destroyed myself for the praise, for A JOB! The dream of being a princess became nothing but a living nightmare.

At the end of the day, this was a paycheck.  There is no paycheck ever worth you!  You will always be worth more than a paycheck.

I am proud to report that the scale no longer dictates what I’m worth, who I am or what I can bring to the table.  Its a giant relief to just be me!   The demons still call to me, but the scale no longer dictates what I’m worth, what I bring to the table or my skills.  I determine what I’m worth, I determine who I am.

Never Settle….

The take down of powerful men like Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, John Lasseter and Chris Savino was the voice of what had been happening to women across the world on a daily basis.

As a Woman in this country you are most of the time seen as less, seen as property and everyone is entitled to that ownership.  You are expected to look a certain way, act a certain way and still get critiqued for it as if your existence is simply to please the male species.

After being in Orlando since 2005 I can honestly say I’ve seen my fair share of both sides of this coin and everyone tolerates the ugly, is the horrible dark secret of entertainment to the furthest reaches.

I worked at a popular dinner show notorious for giving female performers shifts based on wether or not they flirted or slept with the director… the rumors weren’t wrong.  As a generally friendly person this wasn’t a problem, until i got a boyfriend.  The director started with nasty, personally attacking notes (when previously you were performing above standards), cut hours and frankly unprofessional personal comments.  As a performer my worth to the company was purely in the availability of me to sleep with the male staff.  My hours of dedication, studying and the fact that I saved their asses on multiple occasions (there would have been no show) didn’t matter.  I only mattered as a piece of ass that once I belonged to another male, (of whom they hadn’t met but apparently had more respect for him than they had for me) I was “no longer of value to the company.”  My story isn’t alone, there are dozens of other women with similar stories or clearly being passed over for the young cute girl at this show.  There should be no room in any office, any stage or any place of business for this type of behavior.  Female performers here were only as valuable as the option to sleep with them.

Is all entertainment this close minded treating women like pieces of meat? Nope!  I flash forward 12 years and work for a company where I actually get thrown into the most stressful situations due to my quick thinking, problem solving and ability to deal with difficult guests, I just happen to be a girl who is good at it all. My gender is an after thought a “yes and?” with no bearing on my skills or abilities.  The difficulty of contracting and working for such a wonderful company is that I have to go back to my real job, where its a let down that once again as a woman I’m “less than” and get mansplained day in and day out because as a girl I couldn’t possibly know what i know.  At least I have the escape of my little world where I’m a fierce entertainment manager, whose intuition and quick thinking matters, where my opinion counts and my gender is an after thought.  When the really tough gigs come in, I’m the call knowing I can handle what ever the gig throws at us!

Never settle for a company that sees your gender as a liability, never settle for anyone who sees you as less than, never settle to be anything less than amazing!