my story

Born and raised in a small suburb just outside Pittsburgh, PA, I am the youngest of three girls. My sisters were/are rock stars. Growing up, I wanted to be just like them.  I tried everything my sisters did but for fear of not being as awesome as them I made sure I had plenty of things to fall back on just in case I didn’t measure up to their success. By “plenty of other things,” I mean softball, basketball, cheerleading, student council, class officer, gymnastics, youth group, pageants, theater, dance, singing, tennis, show choir, drama club, girl scouts, candy striper, etc. You name it, i did it, and in style. I always had the latest basketball sneakers, cutest tennis skirt, most relevant prom gown and the best homemade costumes in the school plays. Needless to say, I not only kept my parents on their toes… I kept them broke. After years of trying all of these activities (and becoming quite the renaissance women), there was one thing that left an imprint on my soul — acting.  While most teenagers in my town were elated to get their license to drive to the friday night football game, I was elated to get my license to drive to friday night acting class, musical rehearsal, or singing lessons in downtown Pittsburgh.  So twelve days after high school graduation, I packed my bags and moved to the big bad apple with a dream “to be on Broadway”. My mom drove me to New York City and dropped me off with no job, $250 in my savings account and only one friend (thank God for Missy). My mom cried the entire car ride back to Pittsburgh. It’s still up for debate whether she cried because she was worried about me, relieved i was out of the house or distraught that i would be the first of her girls to not go to college (keep reading, I eventually get a college education). In any case, my parents were brave. They feared very little, and believed in the impossible. I thank my parents everyday for loving me, trusting me and supporting me. I’ll get to the point. New York is tough. They say if you can make it there you can make it anywhere. It’s true. I saw more things than i should have, over drafted my bank account way too many times (somehow I always needed a new pair of shoes before I needed to pay rent), woke up alone on 911 and pounded the pavement for quite some time before landing my first paying acting gig. Eventually, I got the hang of the city, Landed an agent, a manager, and a boy (there is always a boy). The only reason he plays a key part in my story is because I was motivated by his college education. While I always was able to make ends meet with various regional theater gigs, national tour jobs, waitressing, baby sitting and being a make up artist (that’s a whole other story), being surrounded by his success and the success of his college friends inspired me to apply to college. I knew I was good at three things: doing hair, doing make up and doing acting. So that left two choices when it came to “getting an education” (1) Beauty School and (2) The Juilliard School.  So I decided to apply to both (you know, because they are so much alike). I figured this would be a sure sign of what path God had intended for me to follow. I’ll never forget where I was when I received the infamous Juilliard acceptance phone call. I was at the movie theater watching “Welcome to Mooseport” (don’t judge, I like Ray Romano). My life changed forever that day, and before you ask, no that boy is no longer in the picture. However, I’m grateful for the motivation that the relationship brought into my life during that time, and I’m even more grateful to be a graduate of The Juilliard School Drama Division. What do I do now? What don’t i do? It depends on the day of the week.  I dedicate all my time to my many passions which are acting, teaching, family, sports, inspiring young ladies through self esteem, poise and presentation seminars and pageant hosting. Yep, you read that correctly. Pageant hosting (It’s amazing and everything you’d imagine it to be… and more). On top of all of that, I just planned a wedding… I’m newly married! As you can see, some things never change. I’m still involved in way too many activities and there are not enough hours in the day or days in the week for me to do everything I wish I could do. At the end of the day my story is the story of a girl who became a jack of all trades and even a master of some… A girl who is not only dedicated to following her many dreams and passions but who is dedicated to inspiring others to follow their dreams and passions.

8 Comments on “my story

  1. My sweet, “Joyous”, I’m so proud that you followed your dreams and your passions….keep on dreaming…keep on inspiring…keep on believing….you have made us all very proud of you! Mom

  2. Joy,
    I have absolutely loved reading your blog and seeing all your fabulous pictures. You are beautiful inside and out. The Clark family is looking so forward to seeing you in Birmingham in June. Take care of that sweet baby boy.
    See you soon,
    Connie Clark

  3. I love your blog! Thanks for sharing. I specially like to see how you are yourself even when interviewing. Your beautiful and cheerful spirit shines through. So proud of you sista. Keep up the excellent job!
    I love seeing you teach those teenagers with love an a positive attitude(you can tell by the pictures) People are so fragile at that stage, so the fact that you take tender care in the way you teach is pretty awesome.
    All the best

  4. Oh my goodness. First of all, Hi! My name is Ariel, and I’m Rachael Wade’s little sister. She told me I should stop by and check out your blog and now I completely understand why! I relate so strongly to your story and your path and your blog is absolutely beautiful/cute/adorable/perfect. I’m so excited to follow you on your journey and you’ve already inspired me so so much. Thanks for doing what you do and sharing yourself with the world!

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