Tag Archives: Actor

La La Land

11 Jan

Can I tell you a secret? 

I was avoiding going to see La La Land.

I know.

And not because I didn’t think I’d enjoy it. In fact, it’s totally my kind of movie. A musical starring two of my favorite actors – clearly a winner. But I was scared.

I was scared because I am getting ready to leave the real La La Land, and I thought it might hurt. A film that I’ve heard described as a love letter to LA. A film showcasing some of the most beautiful locations in Los Angeles. A film about aspiring artists, struggle in the City of Angels, creativity, hope, and finding your own way. A film that just might tug at the heart strings of a girl who tried to give La La Land her best. 

And I was right. It was beautiful, it was my kind of movie, and it broke my heart. 

I have to give it up for Damien Chazelle and the creators of this gorgeous film because they nailed it. They told my story. The story of every actor who came to LA with a dream – every interrupted audition, every draining day job, every frustrating minute stuck in traffic, every awkward moment trying to promote yourself, every rude question about what you are doing with your life, every ounce of doubt that makes you think “maybe I’m not good enough,” every YES that just might change your life. It’s exhausting! It’s exhilarating! It’s Los Angeles. 

And I’m leaving it behind. 

After almost five years, the allure of LA has dimmed, and I realized I was ready to move on. But then this movie ignited some of the old excitement. It made me question my choices. It made me wonder if I truly gave it all I had. Total gut punch. No one likes to question their decisions once they’ve already been made, right?

But I’ve been doing it – reassessing, going over all the options. Driving myself mad. But you know what? The same truths that brought me to the original decision to leave… they’re still true. I love the idea of LA. The real LA? It’s not the same thing. It’s easy to romanticize, sure. Like in a gorgeous movie musical that looks like a glorious dream sequence from one of the classics. (Good job, Mr. Chazelle.) But it’s not the reality, it’s not what it feels like day to day. Truthfully, I never fell in love with Los Angeles, the city. I loved things about it… good friends, the gorgeous view of the San Fernando Valley from Universal that will forever be etched in my mind, passing movie studios every day on my way to work… at a movie studio, new opportunities to explore all the time. There is a lot to enjoy. But it never really became my home. And as much as I love adventure, I also need home. I want both. 

So, we are closing this chapter. And it’s bittersweet. But just because I’m leaving LA doesn’t mean I am leaving my dreams here too. They have grown, expanded, shifted. Yes, I still want to be an actress. That will never change. But I want to get back to my roots – the stage. I want a fantastic theatre community where I can invest myself. A place where I might truly be able to impact people. I also know the Southern market for film and television is booming. Hollywood is not just in Hollywood anymore – not really. So, I can keep looking for my shot. Even more, I want to focus on relationships, family, community, and the things that were made so much more challenging in LA. Quality of life. I want to thrive instead just surviving. And Nashville feels like the perfect place to do it. How exciting! 

I might be leaving the City of Stars, but it will always be a part of me, a risk I’ll never regret taking. And maybe one day we will be back,  but for now I will just be thankful for the opportunities, experiences, and even grander capacity for dreaming that I found in La La Land. 

Favorite Five Friday (153rd Edition)

19 Aug

Friday again 🙂 How was your week? I’ve had an interesting couple of weeks here in sunny southern California…

1.  Anyone who knows me understands that I am not a sports person (go Sportsball and all that jazz.). But when my friends want me to go to the Dodgers game, I will go. And, surprisingly, I will have fun! Live sporting events can be a great time, and we had a blast. My favorite part of going to games is always the food and socializing. We had delicious pizza and had  great timing hanging out together. Thanks for making me a sports fan, Petersens!


2.  Y’all, I had a rough couple weeks. I got sick, I had no voice, I was stuck at home, and I sliced my hand open trying to pit an avocado (so embarrassing). The only redeeming part of that time was my champ of a husband. He took such good care of me, rushed home to drive me to urgent care for my hand (shout out to our management and co-workers for making that possible!), and made sure that I had what I needed at all times. Man, I felt terrible last week, but I also felt super lucky.


3. Time with friends is always important to us. Over the last few weeks we’ve gotten to spend time with some friends from Nashville, and it was just a breath of fresh air. So thankful for the people who continue to show up in our lives… Acquaintances who be come friends, old friendships that get renewed, the people who become our chosen family.


4. I have officially decided to grow my hair back out! It’s been fun to be a short haired girl for a little while, but I miss my long locks. Truth be told, it was easier to manage (is that weird?) and it feels more like me. It’s nice to have the choice! And starting from where it is (just about to my shoulders) will give me length options to choose from. I’m excited.


5.  I am also super excited to share that a short film Dan and I are in is an official selection for for the Downtown Los Angeles Film Festival! Can’t wait to share Before I Met you.

Happy Friday!

Favorite Five Friday (152nd Edition)

5 Aug

Oh hi! It’s been an incredibly busy summer… Which means I haven’t been able to write a Friday post in a couple weeks. Don’t worry, I’m still here! I hope you are too. 🙂 Here’s what we’ve been up to…

FAVORITE FIVE FRIDAY

1.  We officially completed Whole30 AND our reintroduction phase. We added in off plan food groups one at a time to see how they make us feel. Neither of us experienced any issues. Now, our challenge is figuring out how and when to incorporate foods that we know aren’t super healthy. We have both felt so good on Whole30, and we don’t want to give that up. But we would like to add back in a little more variety! So, we are taking it day at a time. So far, so good. We have learned so much by focusing on this experience and what we eat. It’s safe to say we are better for it and we will continue this journey.

2.  We wrapped our fantastic commericial class with Laurie Records. Talk about a learning experience! I thought I was pretty savvy about commercials having been cast in a few and auditioning quite a bit, but this opened my eyes to a whole new level of commercial acting. (Yeah, it is definitely different than for TV and film.) Each week we got to “audition” and then watch our tape afterward. As an actor, it’s so beneficial to be able to see what you look like on camera. It’s certainly helped me remedy (or at least make a start) a few bad habits. I’m also hoping to focus more on confidence and fun in the audition room. I think it will make a world of difference. Thank you, Laurie!

3.  Time with friends and having a community is such an important thing for us. We’ve loved hanging out with awesome people over the last few weeks – some visiting from out of town, some our regular pals. This quality time is everything.

4.  Dan started up softball again! It’s so fun to watch he and our coworkers battle it out on the field. (That works for sports, right?) It makes it even better knowing how much Dan loves it.

5.  We’ve been getting out of the house more often, and it feels great. Dan and I can be serious  homebodies. During the summer, we are pretty exhausted after our work week. Plus, we love snuggling in at home with our kitties. But there is a whole big world out there! We’ve been trying to be a little more adventurous and exciting. It actually seems to make us a little more energized than staying in. Cheers to more adventures!


Happy Friday!

Favorite Five Friday (151st Edition)

15 Jul

I have some catching up to do this week. There’s a lot of good things happening…

FAVORITE FIVE FRIDAY

1. I didn’t post last Friday because there was so much happening in the world… Posting about the little moments in my life didn’t seem important while there was so much tragedy. But I’ve also come to realize there are always going to be hard things happening in the world. That doesn’t mean we stop living. But it does mean we take a look around and see what we can do to help. I’m still looking for ways to step up, but here’s a few of my thoughts on current events in a post from earlier this week: Speaks To Me Sunday.

2. We had a magical time at the Hollywood Bowl last week! The LA Philharmonic gorgeously played the orchestration along to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It was such a fun way to watch the film! The live music was perfection, and the night was only made better by sharing it with our friends. Definitely an evening for the memory books.


3. We started a new acting class this month! We are focusing on commercial for the next few weeks with the fabulous Laurie Records. One class in, and I’ve already learned so much. I can’t wait to get out there and apply my newly acquired knowledge.

4.  My big brother turned 30 last week! I wish we could have been there to celebrate with him, but I am totally proud of the gift I sent. Remember the old view finders where you could see little pictures through the lense? Usually from a Disney movie. Jeremy and I loved those as kids. Recently a friend told me about a place where I could have one made from my own pictures. I loved putting together a few of my favorite photos of us to make this a really special gift. Jer, you have worked so hard to get to where you are! You deserve every special and good thing coming your way.

5. We completed the Whole30! 30 days of eating only the good stuff, and we feel great. (From my Instagram:) Here are a few of the benefits we’ve experienced: we are using our time more wisely, we are spending more time together, we are successful meal planners, we are not reliant on coffee or sugar, we are learning lots about the foods we do and don’t want to consume, we are trying new things, we are becoming better cooks, we are saving money by not going out to eat, we are fitting better in our clothes, we are feeling more alert and more energized, and yep, we lost weight too. It’s been an amazing experience, but it’s not over yet. Yes, I’m excited to try adding back in a glass of wine, some cheese, and delicious bread… But all in good time. And all in moderation and in control. We are heading into reintroduction feeling empowered, and we cannot recommend the Whole30 enough.

Before (L) & After (R)

Together we lost a total of 20.6 pounds & 22 1/2 inches.

Happy Friday!

Favorite Five Friday (147th Edition)

3 Jun

Lookin’ good, Friday. A perfect addition to the week, really. And I can’t believe we’ve made it to June – one of my favorite months. I feel like I’m celebrating a LOT of milestones these days. It’s an exciting time…

FAVORITE FIVE FRIDAY

1. Four years ago we packed all of our belongings and moved across the country to a place where we essentially knew no one. Leaving Nashville was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’m pretty sure we only got through it because we had each other, our dreams, and what we felt was God’s calling on our lives. Of course, I still miss Nashville and my community there. They will always hold a truly special place in my heart. But I am also incredibly proud of the life we have built in L.A. and all we have accomplished in our time here so far. It’s also pretty neat to have loved ones and family all across the country. Four years ago we said see ya later. Never goodbye.


2. Project Refresh continues in the Hackman Household… a couple months ago I decided I wanted to redo pretty much everything in our apartment. But it takes time! We are making progress. My favorite thing this week was putting up our gallery wall. We are still gathering photos and prints to put in the frames, but we finally found all the pieces we wanted. So we decided to just go for it! I’ll post more pictures once it’s complete, but here’s how it looks on our wall!


3. This week was the TEN year anniversary of my High School Graduation. WHAT?! I feel like that means I am supposed to be a real grown up, but I still find myself looking around for an adultier adult when times get tough. Maybe we all are? Getting older is challenging yet inevitable, ya know? We all do it. But I guess growing up is something else. As for me, I think I’ll choose to keep at least a little of my childishness. 😉 Anyway, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on all that’s happened since commencement, and it’s pretty amazing to see how far I’ve come. I toured across the country performing for nine months, moved to Nashville, got married(!), acted in dozens of shows, worked hard and received my BFA in Acting, moved to Los Angeles, found a job I love where I’ve been a part of some once in a lifetime moments, been in commercials and on TV, never stopped pursuing my dreams. Through it all, I’ve met wonderful people, cultivated incredible relationships, dared myself to dream bigger and be braver. And there is still more to do and further to go. Looking back makes me nostalgic, proud, and excited for the next ten years. I think I’ll get the hang of this adulting thing after all.

4. More milestones… One year ago Dan and I wandered into the NKLA animal shelter, and a little gray tabby wandered into our hearts. As soon as he saw Jack, Dan knew we had to have him. It was only made more clear when Jack was handed to us and he immediately started purring. There was no way we were leaving without him. I can’t explain it, but over the last year Jack has made our lives happier just by being in it. I love being a crazy cat lady Cat Mom.



5.  It’s National Donut Day! Oh Those Hackmans could not help but celebrate. Donuts are kind of our thing. 🙂

Happy Friday! Go eat a donut!

Favorite Five Friday (145th Edition)

6 May

Oh, Friday. There you are. It’s been… a week… Ups, downs, and people I love. Here we go…

FAVORITE FIVE FRIDAY

1.  Three years ago today was my first day of training as a Tour Guide (Thanks TimeHop!). I can’t believe I have been lifting the veil of secrecy on some of Hollywood’s hottest filming locations for three. whole. years. I really do love my job and the people it has brought into my life.


2.  My heart has been with my loved ones in Nashville this week as we lost a truly great man. David Compton was one of the most magnificent actors I’ve ever had the privilege to watch on stage. I am even more privileged to have known him as a friend. He was always so alive. In every moment, he showed up, he was present. There was something completely magnetic about him. As I’ve been thinking over my memories of him, I’ve been continuously struck by one thought… This is a man that lived. He always put his whole self out there – on stage and in life. It makes me think of all the times I didn’t. What is the point in playing it safe? What is the point of holding back, being scared… On stage, in front of the camera, in my life. Why wouldn’t we take every opportunity to live, truly live, while we have the chance. I want to live my life as David did. I will honor him by living alive.


3.  My talented and wonderful friend Leah shared a lovely photo she took along with this message:

“A huge part of art, for me at least, is doubt. I doubt my ability, validity, my right to have something to say in my own voice. In this day and age where everything is accessible the instant it is finished I wonder at the artists that worked for decades to perfect a single piece.

That being said: I want to encourage those on the same path that I am on regardless of where.

Go. Do. Create.

It may not matter to anyone else, but if it matters to you then it is enough.

You are enough.”

Yes, to all of that. Leah, you are brilliant. Find her at: http://gunnpointphotography.com/


4.  We celebrated May The 4th Be With You at Disneyland with our pals! It was just what we needed this week.


5.  I’m obsessed with our new “Hey Y’all” pillow. I’m loving finding things that have meaning to us and adding all these personal touches to our home. Y’all became part of my vocabulary while I lived in Nashville… It always catches people off guard here in California.  Which makes it even more fun to say. It’s just a little piece of my life there, and seeing it in my home makes me happy. 


Have a wonderful weekend!

Happy Friday!

Favorite Five Friday (142nd Edition)

8 Apr

This has been an epic week for me. Truly so many amazing things have happened. Unfortunately, I am unable to share all of them, but I’ll tell you what I can!

FAVORITE FIVE FRIDAY

1.  I booked a job! I got to spend some time on the set of a well known television show this week… I can’t tell you which one… Yet. Guys, I had an amazing time. This was also my first job! My first role on TV. I am completely ecstatic about it! I loved being on set, and I really learned a lot from my experience. I am so ready for more.  I’ll keep you posted on when and where you can see me!

  2. I am back in acting class! I had a great experience bringing Casting Director, Matthew Barry, to Universal to do a workshop with the guides. This guy knows his stuff. From there I found out he teaches a class, and I knew I had to give it a shot. It was almost strange being back in a class setting, but I really enjoyed it. And it’s certainly a great thing to add to my resume. My plan is to dig in, work hard, and become a better actor.
3. This week included some favorite things like… Time with friends (& being ridiculous on SnapChat: @JoannaNichole26), manicures, and kitties! Here are pictures of those things:


 4. Family vacation! Dan and I are heading to Orlando this September for Universal Studios Orlando and Disney World! (Because apparently we don’t get enough of those here at home. 😉 haha!) We are super stoked to head some place new, have some adventures, and relax a little too. (Sidenote: watching Dan plan for vacations is one of my favorite things. He is so detailed and gets really excited about all the things we will be doing. It’s adorable.) Look out, Orlando! #OhThoseHackmans are coming for you!

5. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood is officially open! I spent the majority of this week working all of the opening events. I stood in wonder as I watched the incomparable John Williams conduct the L.A. Philharmonic in gorgeous renditions of his masterful compositions for the Harry Potter films and saw the castle brought to life with intricate projections and stunning fireworks (Yes, I cried a little). I had the privilege to work with the talent and witness as they graciously met fans and enthusiastically shared their experiences. (These amazing actors showed me exactly who I’d like to be should I ever find myself stepping into success like theirs.) I was covered in goosebumps and confetti as the Wizarding World Hollywood was officially declared to be open! And I still have a grin on my face. I feel so truly blessed to have been a small part of something so huge, so impactful. It means more than I can say, and I will treasure these memories for the rest of my life. So, welcome to Hollywood, Harry! And to those of you ready to come visit… “Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.” (Gosh, J.K. Rowling is the best.) It’s pretty safe to say, mischief managed.

  

 Happiest of Friday’s!!!