• Stacey Smith


"Stacey, how are you feeling?"

For years my family and my students have asked me if I get nervous before shows. My answer pretty regularly for the past decade has been "no." It's not that I have nerves of steel or that I am so confident that I can't be shaken. It's more complicated.

Most of the shows I do are improvised. I'm going to have my best or worst show until I've had them again. I'm anxious offstage, so for the 5 - 75 minutes I'm on stage - I want to feel free. I want to be present and more importantly, I want to have fun.

I remember when I auditioned for SNL two years ago and people kept asking me how I was staying so calm. And for me, it's a mindset thing. Why be nervous when the worst thing that can happen from these 5 minutes onstage is that I don't get something I've already never had?

On the other end of things, this process has been stressful. I had to take off work this week so I can just truly focus on me. And for the moments I'm not focusing on myself, I slip into weaker moments when I'm constantly questioning everything:

Will I make everyone proud (friends, family, agents)? Does these 5 minutes represent enough of a variety? If nothing comes of this, will people still believe in me?

To be honest, it's terrifying to be so close to something you've always dreamed of. But regardless of outcome, this experience doesn't define me.

"I am not lucky. You know what I am? I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and I work really, really hard. Don't call me lucky. Call me a badass." - Shonda Rhimes

This is how I'm feeling. Friday, here I come.