Once Upon a Groupon

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Attention Ladies; This One’s For You!

Happy New Year you little gems.

I hope everyone is feeling empowered and beautiful and ready to make 2015 their bitch.

That being said, I am here today to offer what I hope is some valuable information that could save you a lot of Time, Money and Tears. Without any further adieu here in lies the story of the dreaded “Groupon Hair Cut.”

Dun Dun Duuuun!!!

Once upon a time I decided I didn’t want to spend the normal asking rate for a haircut in L.A. before all the holiday hoopla. The Midwesterner in me felt guilty for spending a lavish amount on myself before such an expensive time in mine and my husbands lives.

We were on the verge of leaving for Michigan and Minnesota, taking time off work, and about to spend money rather than make money.

In my heart of hearts I knew I should have just stuck with the original plan, but rather than spend the energy convincing myself and husband why I thought this was necessary,  I decided I would be content with getting the haircut I so desperately needed, but for half the price.

I should mention my hair was in that awkward phase where it’s no longer short, but it hasn’t reached the luxurious locks it once was. In a sense it was what can only be described as the puberty phase. My hair was the girl in the movie before she took off her glasses and everyone realized she had been hot all along. My hair was Jennifer Grey before she got her nose job. Well you get my drift. It wasn’t great.

I did all the things I should have done when researching a random salon to get this cut. I read reviews, I looked at the profiles, and I even walked away, thought about it and came back. At the end of the day I thought ” It’s a mere trim and reshape, how bad could it be?”

As I sat in the chair of a salon that was washing my hair in what seemed like an old timey sink from the 80’s, this was my first clue I may have made the wrong choice. I felt like any minute this woman Darleen was going to pop out from the back with towels in her hands from the drier. Darleen was that family friend my mom made my sister and I go to the first 15 years of our lives. Darleen’s shop was in a strip mall in the suburbs of Michigan. Darleen had really big, ratted, teased black hair. Darlene was Peggy Bundy; tight pants, heels and all.

Ok back to it.

After 15 minutes at the sink and an awesome neck cramp to follow, I explained to the girl that I was looking for a trim. I showed her a picture of Reese Withersoons messy haired looked and said I would be happy with something similar to this. I then proceeded to say I do not want layers because they never work out on me and I always end up looking like I have a shag or a mullet. Lastly I proceeded to say I am still ok with having my side bangs, so if you want to trim them a little that’s fine.

Suddenly there was cutting and trimming and layers started to appear. I questioned the process and reminded her of our earlier layers chat. She said she understood but my hair would lay completely flat if she didn’t add a few for volume.

Mind you I have crazy thick hair so “volume” for me is at a constant %100. I, in no way, need extra volume.

Suddenly my bangs were getting shorter and shorter and she kept staring and cutting, staring and cutting. Final result; whispys! Those weird whispys that occur when hair has been cut WAY TOO SHORT. Not to mention the left side of my hair was longer than the right side. Precious times.

Cue the tears and the crying and complaining and whining.

At this point there was nothing I could do. It was a hideous mullety mess and I was about to greet everyone back home a Merry Christmas with what looked like a haircut being featured as part of a stunt on a prank show. #neverfeltmoreugly

The Monday I arrived in Michigan I did make an emergency appointment at a salon recommended by my mom and sister as one more final attempt to make things right before our busy week ahead. Round 2: Epic Fail once Again.

For some reason the “Business in the front, party in the back” look was not eliminated.  There was some evening out of my oddly shaped sides, flat ironing for a more sleek look and some pushing of my bangs around the front of my face. However I did get to see the Michigan dating pool through the eyes of a 22 year old stylist. So that was a bonus. (Sense the sarcasm.)

I left the salon with my kid like bangs blowing in the wind and I knew the only thing I could do was to invest in a lot of clips and bobby pins.  Thankfully we took lots of pics during this festive time so I can remember this moment for years to come. Yay!

As the holidays past and life settled back to normal in our love nest in Hollywood, I decided to start from square one. I made the appointment I should have originally made and went back to the original salon and stylist I love so much.

At the end of the day you can’t put a price on beauty. If there is something that makes you feel exceptionally beautiful, that’s going to allow you to carry yourself through life with confidence, just do it! There are no short cut for such things. I learned that the hard way.

When I returned to the Ken Paves Salon on Robertson my lovely stylist Mallory greeted me with open arms, patience and a million ideas to get me back on track for my busy year that lies ahead. She is seriously the best and ridiculously pretty, so you know you are in good hands.

It is important to know that Mallory brought my hideous haircut back to a livable, adorable hairstyle. However at that point I was over short hair completely and just wanted to be back to my normal long haired self. With a color change and some amazing extensions I am happy to report my hair stress is over. Bring on the auditions, bring on the meetings!

In the words of my husband ” I don’t know why you ever changed your hair in the first place.”

Thanks honey. Good to know!

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All In a Days Work

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It’s hard for outsiders to understand what the life of an eager actress/writer in Hollywood entails.

For everyone out here the journey is very different. Some are eager for fame and sell their soul upon arrival. Some are looking to be the next Meryl Streep and immerse themselves in the hours of acting classes and private training and some are looking to do it all. (The last one is me.)

The time frame in regards to the way things happen out here has a lot of people thrown. Sometimes when I go back home people have a skewed idea of what constitutes as “making it.” In my mind  I’ve already made it. I am here, in L.A., doing exactly what it is I always said I was going to do. And doing much more than I ever knew I was capable of. It’s sad though. People want to see immediate results and it just doesn’t work that way.

Being great at something takes time. Just like a professional athlete it takes years of dedication and practice to perfect those skills. In the 5 years that I have been here I have taken the time to hone in on what it is I am truly great at. At the end of the day I am creating a brand. Katina Nikou is a brand and my brand is FUNNY.

Honing in on that one idea allowed me to explore everything around it. I no longer felt limited to the idea of what was expected of me; to be an actress. I want to be an artist, not just an actress. Encompassing the word artist allowed me to finally accept that I love writing just as much as acting and that too could be a way into the sacred gates of Hollywood.

That being said making things happen just takes time. So although you don’t see or hear of me on your TV or movie screen right now, doesn’t mean all hope is lost. My husband always says he wishes people could see what I do for my career on a daily basis. On that note here is today’s breakdown:

I woke up at 6a.m. ( made a big pot of coffee obviously), sat down at the computer, and read daily industry articles that mention things that are necessary for me to know about in this business. Knowing what T.V. shows are getting picked up or canceled is super important for me as a writer. Knowing what the viewing audience is responding to helps me make the appropriate adjustments to my own comedy pilot I’ve written. After I have read for an hour I do what actors call submissions. A lot of times our agents submit us to things but I am a proactive actor and don’t leave anything up to chance, so I too submit myself for projects. Next I draft up some follow-up emails to some people who have taken interest in my comedy pilot. Once those have been sent off I receive an email from a gentlemen who would like further information about me as I am considered for a role in his film. They need my availability in December. Now I move onto the biggest project at hand; finishing the presentation materials for an unscripted show my chef hubby and I have come up with. We have had a few meetings about this and a few materials have been requested so I will spend the next 5 hours researching and creating and checking in with peers to make sure I am on the right track.Then in the midst of all that artistic craziness I will wait impatiently for a phone interview that was supposed to already happen 2 hours ago and I will break to jot down notes about the spec pilot I am writing for the show New Girl. ( All writers are expected to have a script written for a show already on the air.)

To further paint the picture of my ” All in a days work” scenario, last week I was a woman who wore many hats. One day in an audition I was playing an office worker who wanted in with the cool kids; like a female Michael Scott.The next day I am pushing the miracle of being an Egg Donor for a hosting gig, followed by another audition on Social Media and how it effects the work place. And then last but not least a girl who’s sexcapade went wrong, a.k.a lockjaw,  for the show Sex Sent Me to the E.R. Wouldn’t you have liked to have been a fly on the wall in that audition room?

So my point is, be supportive of those you may know out here doing the same thing. 5 years to people back home may seem like a lifetime but out here that’s when it all starts to begin. So many of our favorite actors and writers didn’t “make it” until their late 30’s.

I have my hands and heart and soul in so many things that I have the upmost confidence that my passion can do no wrong. I will succeed.

My Short Film: “Role Reversal”

 

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Two months ago I decided that I was going to take one of the many scripts I’ve written and actually spend the money and put the effort in to make it.

Not only did it give me an opportunity to work with some of my favorite acting friends, but I gave myself permission to direct for the first time. Directing isn’t a crazy passion of mine but I did want to see what it entailed. I think as an actor it’s important to know as much about our business as possible. Seeing a project come together from a different lens, no pun intended, allows us to be less self involved. Directing allowed for this new perspective.

On that note, acting and directing simultaneously was a daunting little task. I love how Clint Eastwood makes that look easy! I found it difficult at times to stay present while worrying about so many other things. At first I wanted to be disappointed that I found it difficult but then I reminded myself it was my first time! And…I created this work for myself which is a win all on it’s own.

So that being said I created “Role Reversal” based on my interest in the human condition. People in general fascinate me, but the differences between men and women especially. I got the idea one afternoon when I was sitting with my husband and his friends and listening intently to their conversation. It blew my mind! Nothing was about feelings, there was no advice being given, there was just random stories, words, and jokes, accompanied by lots of drinks and food they didn’t feel bad for having. In one word it was EASY.  Girls, girls, girls. We analyze everything. We seek advice, we eat tiny portions, we play games, we dress nice for eacthother, we are so different.

I realize this isn’t new information. However I never sat with men as long as I had that afternoon, without being distracted by outside things. It was just 3 hours of random conversation. My head was exploding. That’s when I decided it would be hilarious to create a piece where the guys spend the afternoon in a girls environment, having our conversations, and vice versa.

Role Reversal is having it’s L.A. Premiere at El Cid this Wednesday August 6th at 8p.m. Tickets are $8 at the door which will get you booze, food and film. It was chosen to be amongst 5 other short films for their monthly event. I am very excited to release it to the public, in hopes people can relate and laugh. The photo above is a still shot from the shoot.

If you are in the area I would love to meet you and have the support!

Follow me on twitter as I will be doing a live feed from there @katinanikou1.

If you can not make this event I will post a link Thursday to where it can be seen online.

Hope everyone has a productive and wonderful week!

 

Do What Makes You Happy

 

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There is no one way to get the success you want in this life.

When I moved here I had one idea, and one idea only. ” To be a famous actress” and that was my only vision and that was the only way I was going to make it.

This last year I have been asking myself why? Why was I limiting myself? I have so much more to offer than just this one ideal.

I think when I moved here I thought with that being my only vision, with no other distractions, how could I fail?

I finally came to the realization that I was denying myself so many other things that make me happy and so many other things I have always wanted to try.

For example I miss working with my husband. Working  alongside him was one of the most joyful experiences of my life, despite the fact that I was waiting tables at the time.

So one day I said screw it. I miss working with you and I want to do it again, just now in a different capacity. So we are writing a cookbook! Not only is it an amazing experience, its such a beautiful journey. He has so much to say and he’s so interesting. I am a wonderful, emotional writer who can bring all his life experiences and all he taught me to a wide audience. In addition to the insightful stories the book will also focus on picking meals as a married couple. A more healthy option for her, a more fatty/fun option for him. However we wont leave out the cheat nights. Sometimes its fun to curl up, watch a good movie together, and enjoy some fondu. (There will be further blogs about this so you guys can follow our process together and be given further information about what our book will offer.)

Anyways in addition to writing the book I have been fully invested in the comedy pilot I have always dreamt of writing. I directed for the first time this year. I did stand-up, I made it onto a sketch team.

How crazy was I to just pursue my passion on a one way road? It’s not just acting I love, it’s everything this industry encompasses. So if I make you laugh or cry through my writing rather than onscreen, so be it!

The dream is still to write and star in my own half hour comedy, but I would settle for selling some of my scripts as well. (hint, hint)

The message here is that if you feel stuck be honest with yourself and see if you’re trying every avenue to reach that point of success.

I repeat: There Is No One Way!

Cringe Worthy

Overused phrases, words, and quotes;

They are the worst!

A coworker will come in and say, “Looks like Somebody’s got a case of the Mondays!” or “Happy Hump Day.” (God help us.)

A friend, mid-conversation, will respond to your comments with words like ” Amazeballs” or “Cray.” (Both equally obnoxious!)

And lastly the insertion of movie lines mid convo like “Show me the Money” or as restaurant folk like myself hear ALOT, “I’ll have what she’s having.” (Kill me now.)

Which leads me straight into the video I have recently posted on my youtube channel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_KWDNngx5I

Here I demonstrate my real honest emotions about how I feel in regards to a particular overused phrase that the public constantly says to servers and bartenders. If this is you, change up your game,for all our sakes…and yours.

You’re better than this.

That Was Then; This is Now

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I remember the first breath I took when I arrived in California. The first time I was 9 or 10. (As the above picture demonstrates for us here.)

It’s the kind of breath one gets when they reach their Mecca. Like the mother ship was calling me home.

I knew California would be the place to allow me to be me. I was a “head in the clouds” type of kid. I did ok in the regular school subjects but excelled in the artsy ones. They were the only ones that held my interest and allowed for my goof ball approach to life.

Annnnd that couldn’t have been more frowned upon.

Adults of that generation preached to us constantly about the importance of steady jobs that would “pay the bills” in the future. Being an artist didn’t make the cut. I remember the first time I was asked the infamous question by a teacher:

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I answered honestly and enthusiastically, “An Actress!”

Her face filled with immediate judgment and she snarled back “That’s nice dear but what do you really want to be?”

I remember feeling ashamed about wanting to take this road at first. However it didn’t take me long to realize that all these adults giving me career advice were fucking miserable. Ya they had a steady income, but they hated their jobs. None of them were doing anything they truly cared about. And I’m not just talking teachers, I’m talking family members too. How did that lifestyle make sense?

It didn’t. So there began my own personal journey to always be true to what makes me happy; money or no money.

The first trip to California as a kid I was filled with so much excitement and uncertainty. Upon first arrival, this place can be a bit overwhelming. Everyone is so beautiful and glamorous. Here I was, a nerdy pale-white ginger from the Midwest. However I wasn’t going to let that stop me from walking the streets of the infamous Beverly Hills.

Movies like Troop Beverly Hills and Pretty Woman put that area on the map for me. (Talk about a wide ranged map.) One minute I am enjoying some lovely banter between rich girl scouts and the next minute I am watching an ex hooker on a fancy shopping spree.

Awww movies.

So, that being said, I was desperate to see The Beverly Wilshire Hotel. I had to see where Julia Roberts got to make a movie! A million pictures later, on some old timey film that took days to develop, and Voila! We got our memory.

Our Beverly Hills mission wrapped up with a fashion show on Rodeo Drive and some awkward footage of my sister and I pretending to be catwalk models.

Fast forward to the present.

I now work in Beverly Hills. I live in Hollywood. I get to write, act, and do all these amazing things the child me desired.

Two Saturdays ago it was a beautiful evening in Beverly Hills. There I sat on a patio after a very long, exhausting serving shift with a few of my amazing friends/coworkers/artsists. (Pictured above is me at work.)

This big bold moon hunched over us as we talked about our goals and where we set out to be. (It sounds cliché but when you wait tables all you talk about is finally “getting out.” It’s our version of escaping a prison sentence.)

When the question came my way about being here, how and why, it’s like time froze. I was whisked away into the past, those first childhood Beverly Hills moments, and then whisked back into the present in Beverly Hills where I sat.

Holy shit! I thought. “I did it.”

Not only do I live out here, I got married here!

I knew at that moment I had done my younger self proud.

A life filled with endless art, amazing friends, and a fairytale wedding in Malibu?

I actually had exceeded my wildest dreams.

My Head is Spinning!

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OMG what is happening? How is it February already?

As I have described in past blog posts, I am a bit of a crazy person when it comes to tasks and my pursuit to do as much as I can in a day.

Case in point; I am at the computer with my mind on a million things while one of the many little Katina voices inside my head is saying ” You still haven’t wrote a blog yet this year.”

As weeks have past I have been obsessing about trying to think of something brilliant to write as my first entry in 2014. But the longer I wait time goes by and so in the midst of my latest marketing quest for the new sketch show I am in ” Comedy Bandits“, ( you like that shamelss plug there?), I am dropping everything to post.

Will this be brilliant? Mmmm, No. Will it let you know I am still alive and I want to continue a personal relationship with you? Yes.

This year has started like none other than before; Intense. I have one goal and it’s to be the best that I can be. ( No I’m not joining the army.)

Being great at anything takes time, determination and dedication. Being a great actor takes not only the skills from my creative self but also from a side that I struggle with; my business self. Marketing?? WTF do I know about marketing? I went to college for Theatre. I spent my days learning different dialects and stage directions. I wasn’t learning how to make my postcard stand out amongst the millions that come across the desks of the casting directors, agents and managers I am so desperate to get in front of.

However I finally have a leg up on the competition! Well maybe not a leg as much as an ankle.

I finally get to demonstrate my comedic strengths by not only performing some of the sketches in this new show but writing them as well. And you want to know the best part? This is all happening on a stage near you. The you’s I am referring to are the you’s in the LA area. Sorry sister in Michigan!

As I start to understand time management a little more, blog posts and video posts will continue to happen. I will warn you though, it is hard not to make the videos about my serving shift that day. The public, like I always say, is insane. I cant help but want to sarcastically comment on everything that is said to me that day!!

“Is this the menu?” ( What else would that be?) “Do you have a bathroom?” ( Is that how you really want to pose the question?) “Did I not give you enough money?” (Well the check is $45 and you gave me $11, soooo I am going to say NO.) #goodtimes #isthismylife #amidonewaitingtablesyet

Yes the hashtags just happened and yes, I did get slightly off topic. But in my defense the title of this entry is “My Head is Spinning.”

So as you can see my absence has all been industry related. I did not abandon my personal commitment to my blog.

Once more, if you do have any desire to see what I am about in person and see me put my funny self to the test our next show is March 7th at the Avery Schreiber Theater in North Hollywood at 9p.m.

Thank you for this brief break. Now back to me shoveling hummus in my mouth, drinking coffee, and searching for the perfect way to lure industry moguls to my show.

Love from Detroit Street.