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I don’t know what possessed her to do it, but at the of end sophomore year, after we read Julius Caesar, Mrs. Freda decided to assign her classes a video project. At the time, Andin was also in this class, so it just seemed natural to work together — us being best friends and all. In two days, we settled on an idea — a Real Housewives parody of Caesar’s and Brutus’ wives — and finished the script in no time at all. Besides that, we hadn’t put much thought into the shoot; really, we didn’t even have a location until that day. So, Rome was a park.
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We shot the video on a Sunday afternoon; there wasn’t a living soul near the park for miles. It was just me and Andin, screaming into the camera for our confessional scenes. Andin had more scenes than I did, but I took twice as many takes. Even so, the confessionals were the easiest part. The big, climactic scene was a big mess. For one, we didn’t have a cameraman, and trust me, no inanimate object was going to replace him though, a trashcan had tried. Eventually, we had to call in Andin’s brother to hold the camera. Unlike us, he had some experience. He did everything right, but we couldn’t remember our lines. Those lines were great on paper, but in reality, many of them were too long and sounded foreign on our tongues. After a good 15 takes, we decided it best to improvise most of our lines, but to still use the script as a guide for the plot. I think that’s what really made the video. It was more natural that way, like a real conversation was happening. There was only one problem — the ending. We didn’t exactly have one. So at the shoot, we tried out a few scenarios. Frankly, the first two were horrible. As an actress, I was very inexperienced and in one scenario, I tried to cry. You can guess how convincing that was. But eventually, we did get it right. In the end, I beat Andin down in a baseball field and told her “mah crew is coming back for her,” because that’s what a Real Housewife of Rome does. It was a good day.
Editing took about six hours; eventually, we became immune to the comedy. I started to doubt the video. We had laughed at it, but would anyone else? I had seen so many other videos that week and none of them got much of a reaction from the class. A chuckle, maybe, but nothing more than that. I expected the same. The day I showed it in class, I just said my name and pressed play. Honestly, I just wanted to get it over with. The class chuckled a bit; five minutes in, they erupted. There aren’t words to express how good I felt in that moment. That day and then all week, I was overwhelmed with praise from people I didn’t even know. By Friday, all of Mrs. Freda’s classes had seen it and had I became something of a celebrity, Andin too. All anyone talked about in class was our video; every other video was compared to it, but none of them came close. The most profound thing I remember is that everyone kept asking what’s next. “Are you going to be in the play?” “Are you going to become an actress, now?” To be honest, I had never thought about becoming an actress before. Yet, I found myself really considering this path, but I wasn’t going to dive in. I wanted to prove myself; one video wasn’t enough. I convinced Andin, and together we set to work on a second script which we shot over the summer. We put both of the videos on YouTube and the second, The Housewives of Rome 2, got twice as many views as the first. I couldn’t believe it.
Since then, I’ve grown confident in myself and my abilities. I was always a timid girl; I kept a lot of my feelings inside. I guess I was afraid; I was never one to be loud, but not anymore. Every opportunity to act, I jump at it. I like to shock but mostly, I love to see people laugh, because their joy gives me joy tenfold.
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The girl I was before wasn’t ready for Rutgers, but the woman I am now belongs there.
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