Rising Star Risa Cohen: “Going to an audition is an opportunity to act. That’s it! It’s up to them to do the casting.”
Don’t go to an audition with the goal of getting the job. That just makes you nervous. Going to an audition is an opportunity to act. That’s it! It’s up to them to do the casting.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Risa Cohen. Risa is a graduate of Circle in the Square Theatre School in New York City. She is a Former professional dancer, now an actor, choreographer, and coach.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was a professional ballroom dancer but was limping all the time due to a foot injury. Dancing in heels will do that! A good friend of mine was in his first year at Circle in the Square Theatre School and told me I needed to go there, that I belonged there. I hadn’t done a monologue in years because dance took me away from any acting. But he insisted, so I auditioned — was accepted, and that changed my life.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
I learned being second or the understudy can be a good thing! There was a part for a play between me and one other woman, she got the part but ended up not being a team player. I was called one month before the show opened, we had a blast and the reviews were great.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Forgetting 2 lines!! I was so nervous seeing this casting director for the first time I just blew the 2 lines. I wanted the floor to swallow me up right then and there. But casting people are smart and they knew I was nervous and brought me back in again. Okay that wasn’t funny but I can laugh about it now!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I’m working on a movie with an all female cast that about a therapist who has an interesting secret. I’m also choreographing a music video for a good friend. I love collaborating with friends, it’s so much fun.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Don’t take everything so personally. Rejection is part of the job. When you don’t get that part you really wanted and you thought you did a great audition, you probably did, they were just looking for something else. It leave you wide open for the next opportunity.
A sense of humour. And I know everyone says that but I mean able to laugh at yourself. Life is so much easier and so much more fun when you can do that.
Be cool and invite your friends into your dreams.
5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Started Acting/Directing/Performing/Hosting
1. Don’t go to an audition with the goal of getting the job. That just makes you nervous. Going to an audition is an opportunity to act. That’s it! It’s up to them to do the casting.
2. Focus on your goals, not what everyone else is up to.
3. You’re not as fat as you think you are. If you think you’ll get that job if you’re just 2 inches taller, or 10 lbs lighter, forget it. Be who you are, be the best actor you can be.
4. Have friends outside the business.
5. Breathe and stretch. Always.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I have three:
The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason to stay ashore.
~ Van Gogh
Life is tough. Get out there.
None of you understand. I’m not locked up in here with YOU. You’re locked up in here with ME.
~ Rorschach of the Watchmen in prison
I guess this comes from taking Jeet Kune Do! You have their attention and the power.
Talent is cheap; dedication is expensive. It will cost you your life.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My Dad. Whenever I thought about maybe quitting, he was always there to change my mind. Whenever I was leaving to move to New York to study, he would joke about staying home, promising to buy me a dog etc. If I ever said that maybe I should stay home, do something easier, he turned around and said, You go and you fight for what you want. It won’t be easy but you will do it. My dad never asked me about a fallback plan. He’s never given up on me.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
In the U.S. I would love to brunch with Michelle Obama. But I really want to meet Chris Chibnall on the set of Doctor Who! It’s my tv series of all time and it’s my dream to be on the show!
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