Happy 2018, Friends! I hope your new year is off to an absolutely fabulous start! To add fuel to your fires of fresh starts and renewed goals, I have an exciting Dreamer of the Month(s) post that will hopefully encourage you, no matter how big or small your dream may be this year.
This time around, I have one featured Dreamer reigning here at ADI for both December and January. I first met this fierce lady during my short stint at Marshall University studying Theatre, and I’ve been inspired by her ever since! Erika is not only gorgeous and extremely talented, but she’s also kind; she may not even remember this, but she gave me some very valuable advice about standing up for your beliefs and knowing your own boundaries regardless of what other people or a specific industry may think. She is currently a real-estate agent and actress living in New York and I thought she’d be a great person to talk to about what it takes to pursue a dream while remaining true to yourself in the process.
Name: Erika Toderic Marks
Profile: Actor; Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
Location: New York City
Favorite Quote: “No Pressure, No Diamonds.” – Thomas Carlyle
You graduated in 2015, correct? So it has been a little over two years since then… I know graduations can seem really daunting for many – trying to figure out what direction to go and which job to take – how did you go about making some of those decisions that have brought you to where you are now?
Yes – 2015! It can definitely be daunting – but I’m a very “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of person. So I think being open to any opportunities that peak your interest helps with the fear of the future. That’s how I got into Real Estate. Little did I know that I would be working with a team in the top 1% in the nation, AND be cast in Indie films regularly. Be flexible, explore the doors that open, and seize said opportunities. Go with the flow!
When we were at Marshall together, we talked about remaining true to your faith and personal boundaries in the face of adversity – how would you say that has helped or shaped you in your current endeavors?
When it comes to whatever your personal boundaries are – STAND. YOUR. GROUND. I can’t stress this enough. I’ve grown myself and gained respect from people in authority over me because I wouldn’t let them bully me into doing something I didn’t feel right about.
(Now just to clarify – don’t mistake standing your ground for being disrespectfully insubordinate.)
Always be kind, but listen to your gut. It’s probably right.
There are times when working towards a dream or goal just seems so unreachable it’s tempting to give up, I know that can be especially true with auditioning – do you have anything that keeps you motivated in moments like this?
It’s actually hilarious – if you haven’t seen Shia Labeouf’s “Just Do It” speech, please do yourself a favor and go watch it right now. Everything he says is spot on. I watch that once in while to pep myself up and press on towards my goals.
[Author’s Note: Here’s one of the shorter clips of “Just Do It” … She’s right, it’s pretty awesome!]
Just for fun – what’s one of your favorite things about living in New York?
Well. I’m biased because I grew up here – so it’s a love/ hate relationship for me. I love that one minute you’re watching a guy scream at the birds, and the next minute you rubbed elbows with some genius or other. I suppose that’s one of my favorite things… never knowing who you’re going to meet.
If you could only give one piece of advice to others dreaming of a life on stage, or maybe wishing to start their own business, or whatever dream they’re harboring, what would it be?
Usually when you’re about to give up, something spectacular is right around the corner.
Don’t give up.
***I’m trying to follow this advice this year too, so let’s KEEP GOING together in 2018, folks – you never know where we’ll end up! Also, special THANK YOU to Erika for being willing to do this interview in the midst of the busy holiday season – I appreciate you.