Fame isn’t the Only Form of Fulfillment

Stefanie Townsend

I’ve dreamed of being a professional actor for years now. I still do.

And I know I’m not alone.

I daydream of being on film sets, working with some of my favorite actors. My inspirations. The people who taught me so much through their work that I watch.

I smile at the thought of being on Broadway. Belting my favorite songs, dancing my heart out, hearing the cheers from the audience and touching hearts.

It’s true. I’ve dreamed of being a prolific actor, and what comes with it.

I’ve daydreamed of what it would be like to be famous. To walk the red carpet, to wear those beautiful clothes, to be considered for incredible films that would be seen around the world.

For the longest time, I always thought that fame was the ultimate form of success as an actor. Being on Broadway, touring nationally, being in independent films showcased in Toronto and Sundance - that was success. That being famous and prolific was the only form of fulfillment as an actor.

That having a day job and acting on the side was giving up, was settling, and that if I did that, I’d be doing myself and my career no favors.

That I have come too far, learned to much and invested too much in my career to do otherwise.

The truth is? I was wrong.

LIfe has thrown a curveball I didn’t expect. It usually happens that way - you have everything planned and then one thing changes everything. And I’ve come to realize that fame isn’t everything.

Winning an Oscar or a Tony or Emmy isn’t everything.

Being on the red carpet, having interviews, seeing the audience at the stage doors isn’t everything.

Working a day job and acting on the side in community theatre can be fulfilling.

Acting in local projects - web series, student films - can still be fulfilling.

If you’re following your passion, it can be fulfilling. You don’t need to have all the awards, your name in all the Broadway playbills. You don’t have to be in an Original Broadway Cast Recording.

You can be in a show in a community theatre and still be happy.

You could make a small film with a small group of people who just want to get together and have some fun and do a project together.

If your heart and soul are happy, if you are content with your life and can do what you love - then you are fulfilled. And if it means you’re never on Broadway, if you aren’t in the next superhero blockbuster but are happy - that’s ok.

Because fame isn’t the only form of fulfillment.