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Daily Inspiration: Meet Abegail Zee

Today we’d like to introduce you to Abegail Zee. 

Hi Abegail, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I started my creative journey in late 2018 when I was still living in Southern California. I did not grow up a “theatre kid,” so I’m pretty late in the game, but once I came to the realization that I wanted to act and sing, I hit the ground running. I engrossed myself in all things creative and got my marketing package in order, which led to getting scouted by an agency that represented Asian talent. I was ecstatic with their willingness to sign a newbie and accepted as many auditions that came my way. Then, COVID-19 happened which allowed my partner and I the opportunity to work from home, indefinitely. So, we decided it would be best for our family to move from SoCal all the way to Cleveland – my partner’s hometown. Despite the move taking me further away from Hollywood and my newly realized dream, and my new agent, I was open to the change. I was excited to see what Cleveland had in store for me.

To my surprise, there was a performing arts community waiting for me in Cleveland! It was a different market than LA, but also a smaller and safer space for me to continue my journey and build my credits.

I’ve been in Ohio for almost 2 years now and it’s been awesome. I self-submitted, auditioned, and got signed with an agency within months of relocating to Cleveland. My agents have been amazing and have really helped move my career forward. Because of all the work that is available to me in this market, I am now SAG-Eligible! I’ve done film, commercial and theatre work here and I’m excited to get involved in the music scene as well.

I look forward to continuing my journey in Cleveland. The fellow creatives I’ve met and have had the pleasure of working with have made such an impression on me. I’m grateful for the warm welcome into this creative space. And, if my path happens to lead me back to Cali, I’m open to it. Who knows…it might just be for the production of my original feature film screenplay that I’m co-writing with my sister!

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
This journey has definitely not been a smooth road. Being a mother is one of the hardest “jobs” I’ve ever had to do. Add a part-time day job, caring for my dying father, and some doubts and fears into the mix and things can get pretty rough, pretty fast. I often questioned myself – Am I good enough? Will I make it? Will I have time to do this audition while my child is napping? Who will watch my child while I go on this audition? Is my partner willing to hold down the fort while I spend weeks in rehearsals and days on end caring for my sick dad? It was a tough balancing act and it continues to be challenging at times, but I embrace my journey and what has been given to me. In an industry with more no’s than yes’, it’s definitely tough not to get discouraged, but I’ve learned not to take myself too seriously and just enjoy the ride because what’s meant for me will be mine. My move to Cleveland has continued to prove that I’m right where I belong, not only personally, but professionally, as well. I’m starting to see the light and for that I am grateful.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I’m an actor who loves to sing. I have appeared in film, television, commercial, and theater productions, and even released an original debut single, “If You Only Knew,” under my pseudonym, The Red Project.

We all have to start somewhere and because it was important for me to gain experience on big sets/productions I signed up to be a background/featured/stand-in actor. I encourage everyone to do the same. I learned a lot about the industry on network TV sets like Disney, Fox, Universal Studios, and more. I was able to work on Black-ish, Little Fires Everywhere (which ironically takes place in Shaker Heights), Silicon Valley, Superstore and All Rise, just to name a few. And here in Cleveland I was able to get experience on a Netflix film set and that was exciting as well.

Although the background/featured/stand-in roles gave me the experience I needed, my focus is definitely on obtaining on-camera principal roles. I also look forward to releasing more original songs in the future.

I’ve been told my strength is my vulnerability. My intuitive nature gives me an authentic and empathetic understanding of human behavior and emotions and I think that’s something that sets me apart from others. I’m most proud of my determination, dedication, and passion.

Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
Once I moved to Cleveland, I researched everything about the local creative community. I followed all of the local organizations and theatres on social media and signed up to receive all of the casting notices from local casting directors, organizations, and theatres. I love the NEOhioPAL (Northeast Ohio Performing Arts List) – it’s a free service that is utilized by a lot of local creatives for audition notices, events, and services. Had I not signed up for the list, I would not have found my amazing acting coach or been involved in all of the projects I have been fortunate enough to be a part of. I also researched all of the local SAG-AFTRA franchised talent agencies and submitted my marketing package to my top choices. The process for submissions are very streamlined. Trust me, I know it can be scary, but don’t let the fear stop you! Just be yourself, throw yourself into the mix, and audition like crazy. If an introvert like myself can do it, anyone can! You got this!

Contact Info:

Image Credits :
Downie Photography
Ellie Salvino, CSU
Rob Wachala, Tri-C
Art of Genevieve
Suri Jiang

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