The life of an Australian Actress Living in New York City

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.

Winding Down and Setting New Goals

As the year winds down into the holidays and a turn into the new year, I find peace and comfort in reflecting and realigning my goals.

Reflecting on this past year, I feel very humbled. I am delighted to have launched BcauseARTS only a few months ago, and so far I’ve been able to accomplish the following goals: launching the BcauseARTS website, representing several talented Australian independent artists and organisations, facilitated a sponsorship between an independent artist and local business, and inspired a few Facebook followers and blog readers to unleash their creative intuition.

I now step towards 2016 with a hopeful heart.

In 2016, I plan to expand the BecauseARTS platform as a tool to profile more Australian independent artists and arts organisation. I invite Australian independent artists and arts organisations to contact me via email to assit in creating your artists profile. Please email me at april@bcausearts.com.

In order to continue initiating conversations through the BcauseARTS blog on topics and issues facing within the Australian independent arts sector, I invite guest writers to submit commentary pieces. Topics for discussion are unlimited and word count endless. I just ask that the material be thoroughly researched and allow for comments from the community at the end of each piece.  For the writers, I offer a global audience and is posted weekly, promoted on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I also invite writers to submit reviews of current Australian independent art performances, events and exhibition. Let us know where the event takes place, who and what is featured and what were the highlights of you visit.   If interested in becoming a guest blogger, please email me at april@bcausearts.com

Similarly, in 2016, I invite guest writers from a non-artist perspective to offer commentary on their point-of-view about the general arts community.  Potential topics could be: personal reviews on current productions seen in the Melbourne area; what about the arts community inspires you to witness the experiences you have been to; what keeps you away from the arts community; as a businessperson, what could an arts organisation do more of to sustain itself and lean less on outside funding; if curious about philanthropy what does it mean to you and why you do or do not fund the arts outside of admission ticket prices.  Again, the topics for discussion are unlimited, and the word count endless.  Let’s educate everyone! If interested in being a business guest writer, please contact me via email at april@bcausearts.com.

These are just a few of my ideas for BcauseARTS in 2016. My hope is to continue an education platform with BcauseARTS – creating a safe environment for clear communication between artist, business and community. Let’s make 2016 a great year!