What’s it like for an Australian artist who immigrates to the US in search of more artistic opportunities? Crystal Lee Peterson, an actress from Adelaide, SA, decided to move to New York City in 2011. I recently caught up with Crystal via email to ask her about a day in her life. While she reflects on what brought her to New York, she also recites the good, the bad and ultimately the reality of her new life as a thriving New York City actress.
Before her big adventure, Crystal recalls living in Adelaide: ‘Like many actors I had lots of jobs that you would think aren’t related to acting: banking, sales, telemarketing (which I despised).’ Eventually, Peterson successfully signed with an agent from Adelaide Artists Agency whom assisted her to secure roles in Australian independent films and commercials.
But in 2011, Peterson set a goal that would enrich her artistic future. ‘Some of the best teachers and acting schools are in New York and despite my training in Australia I wanted to push myself to the limit,’ Peterson says. Thus her adventure to New York began.
Upon arrival, Peterson hustled to earn a place within New York’s large artistic community. Not only did Peterson enrol in a scene study class, but she discovered helpful resources that listed opportunities for actors to embark. She began participating in play readings, auditioned for independent and student films and began conversations with fellow artists everywhere. ‘[I’ve learned that] it’s all about owning [the room] every time you perform. One opportunity leads to the next. Teachers refer you. Directors will like you. Casting directors may remember you for other projects.’ She adds, ‘I mean here I think [actors] have to do the work [themselves]. I don’t have an agent but I’m working. Here we have a lot more resources to consistently book work on our own through casting sites.’
Peterson ends her email by listing a typical week in her New York life: ‘Yesterday I worked on a television series; this week I am shooting a TV episodic; last week I finished a play and went to a voiceover audition.’
As I hear Crystal’s story, I cannot help but smile from ear to ear. I am so happy for her!
Peterson’s story is one that highlights a pro-active artist. What makes Peterson so successful, and I wonder if she gives actually herself enough credit, is that she began her New York adventure by setting a clear goal – to increase her artistic education abroad with challenging classes. By setting clear, achievable goals, Peterson was able to focus all her energy until she was successful. After committing to the hard work, Peterson made another great decision: to remain open to other opportunities along the way. And today, Peterson is a thriving actress working in film, television, commercials, stage and, soon, voiceovers! Congrats, Crystal! We are rooting for you from the other side of the big pond.