By Jeilianne Vazquez
“Wherever women gather together, failure is impossible” – Susan B Anthony
March is Women’s History Month! In celebration of this month, I spoke to senior BA Theatre major Katelyn Zeller and freshman BA Theatre major Emily LaPollo to discuss what it’s like being a woman in theatre.
What does Women’s History Month mean to you ?
Katelyn: I believe it is about acknowledging all of the great achievements women have made throughout history and celebrating the importance of what it means to be a woman.
Emily: To me, it means a chance to celebrate some of the most amazing people in the world. It is a time to bring awareness to the struggles that women have faced and continue to face to this day. Women literally make the world go round. They are strong, independent, and fearless. We deserve a month at the very least to be celebrated.
If you could have dinner with three inspirational women, dead or alive, who would they be?
Katelyn: I would like to have dinner with Morgan Marcell, Meryl Streep, and Lily James. I look up to these people for their work in the arts.
Emily: Eva Noblezada, Megan Thee Stallion, and Rihanna
What is your experience being a woman in theatre and the arts? Have you faced any barriers and, if so, how have you overcome them?
Emily: Being a woman in the arts is not easy. I have found that in the past I have not been taken seriously and that is something I have to be aware of. I think comparison is my biggest barrier, not just in theatre but in everyday life. I constantly compare myself to other actresses and their styles and I wonder if I’m good enough. In today’s society, social media is notorious for being detrimental to confidence. There are so many women with the “perfect” skin, bodies, clothes, etc. on their feed and the rest of us have to scroll and feel horrible about ourselves. However, I remind myself that all I am is enough and I have to remind myself how amazing I am. We are all perfect in our own ways and a little self love goes a long way.
What’s the most important piece of advice you’ve been given?
Katelyn: Always trust in your abilities. Trying and failing is better than never trying at all.
Emily: The most important piece of advice I have been given is that it’s okay to make mistakes. Failure is inevitable and life has become so much easier now that I have learned to accept that.
Who has inspired you and helped you become who you are today?
Katelyn: The person who has inspired me the most has been my grandmother. She always encouraged me to follow my aspirations in life and remind myself of how much power I could hold if I just believed in myself.
Emily: Both my mom and my grandma are such strong and beautiful women inside and out. My grandma came here from Italy with my grandfather and they built a life for themselves out of nothing. They have always given us everything, but they didn’t always have everything. That has been super humbling and it taught me to appreciate things more. My mom has always put me first and worked really hard to support me, as a single mother. Both of their sacrifices have helped me to become the best self I can be.
What made you choose to study theatre?
Katelyn: This is a question I have always asked myself time and time again and my answer has changed constantly throughout the years. But to me, theatre shows people hope, what life can be, and shines a light on what the world is like.
Emily: I have a general anxiety disorder and it is actually therapeutic for me to take on a role and escape my reality every once in a while. It has become my safe place and makes me feel like I belong.