Meet Katie! She has an amazing career in acting, producing and directing! You might have seen some of her work on Grim from NBC, Leverage from TNT and Portlandia, to name a few… Needless to say, she is extremely driven. We loved having the opportunity to chat with her about what it takes to build such an incredible career. (All while raising a family!) Read on to learn about Katie’s story. You are going to love it.
Talk to us about your career! How’d you get into this industry? What are the highlights? Tell us everything!
I started out on television. I was interviewing celebrities like John Travolta, Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Pitt for a morning show called Good Day Oregon. Although this was a great job, I still had acting in my heart and wanted to pursue it as a career. An opportunity to audition for a Paramount film came around and I thought “why not?” I got the job but ended up getting cut out of the entire thing. I was devasted, to lay the least. I felt as though the end had come before I even had my beginning. In my head, I thought “my career is not supposed to go like this.” This movie had landed in my lap, I didn’t even really want it… Why was it affecting me so much?
After this experience I started to think “if I worked for it, what would that look like?” From that point forward, I got into acting classes and started with a coach who trained with the Meisner technique. This style of acting, or truth-telling, launched me into a successful career. I started booking some commercials, TV spots and films.
I had to work extremely hard to get to that point and I still work hard today. It’s crazy to think that was 20 years ago. I think what it comes down to is knowing if I arrived earlier, stayed later and worked 100 times harder than everyone else I would find success. I had kids, a family and didn’t know how exactly I was going to build this career. I just knew I didn’t have to be the best, I just had to work the hardest.
So, after a while, I felt like I wanted more from acting. I started telling people I wanted to produce. Initially, I had a lot of people tell me I couldn’t do it. At the time, actors were not really doing any producing, so I think that is where a lot of the doubt came from. Yet again, I knew all it came down to was hard work. I challenged myself to learn everything there was to know about producing.
The first movie I produced, called “Rid of Me,” I actually starred in. It opened at Tribeca Film Festival in New York and ended up selling to Netflix, Amazon, Showtime and a few other places. For a small theatrical release and first time out of the gate, it had a really big success. So, I went on to continue producing and thought “gosh, I am helping a lot of directors. I am consulting and advising… Why am I not directing?”
I think initially, the fear of not knowing or being good enough stopped me from directing. I thought maybe it was for later in life. I had a good friend tell me not to wait – just go for it. So, I did. Within my first week of calling myself a director, I had three directing jobs.
Did you feel that some of your hesitancy towards directing came from it being a male-dominated career field?
Yeah, it’s a big issue. There are only five women directors for every 50 male directors. Mostly, it becomes hard when you don’t see someone like you doing what you want to do. It doesn’t occur to you that it is something you can try. In my 20 years in the commercial and film industry, out of hundreds of directors I worked with, I had about two female directors.
Fortunately, the landscape on this is changing. This year, I was featured in Shoot Magazine’s Up-and-Coming directors in 2019 and about half of us were women. That being said, there tend to be more jobs out there for male directors.
I always ask myself “what else?” And somewhere during this journey to direct, I ended up opening a studio to help kids who were in pursuit of acting. It’s a special place. I love that I get to help mentor others and help them discover their passion. Ultimately, it all comes back to believing that my happiness is found in the pursuit of my potential. Happiness is not determinant on reaching certain goals, rather just aiming to reach a higher and higher potential.
Let’s talk about the Nike commercial you recently directed! Can you expand on what lead up to that opportunity and what it felt like to direct a commercial for such a notable brand?
I got the opportunity to direct this commercial because of a studio believing in me. The people I worked with at the studio instilled their confidence in me and opened my eyes to my own abilities. After that, it all clicked, and I realized I had the skill and value to bring to the table for this project. I don’t know if I would have spoken up for myself in that way without their support. So, it meant a lot to me to direct this commercial, be successful and have it received so well.
What sacrifices did you make to build this incredible career?
The truth of the matter is, sometimes I can’t be the best in my career, as a mom or wife each day. Somedays you are killing it at work, but your kid might be at home, sick watching Netflix. Or, I am being an awesome mom and wife. Maybe we are on vacation or having a fun day, but I am totally blowing off work. Each day is a give and take. There are very few days where everything is balanced, and you are getting it right. I think the sacrifice I made was being able to let go of the idea that everything needed to be perfect. Instead, I try to operate from a place of being in the moment and give everything I can. I try to remind myself we are only human. You are always sacrificing in at least one of the categories. Honestly, there are not enough hours in the day to be perfect at everything we do.
I miss games, or sometimes I miss auditions. I miss days of work or sometimes miss the kids being at home, sick. However, there is something powerful about raising a family that watches you put your heart and soul into something and to see it rewarded. When your children see you helping others reach their goals, I think speaks volumes to what they might do with their own career one day.
I truly believe in being a person of service. I love being able to raise others up and I think it translates to how I raise my kids. They see what it takes to build a strong career, community, and family. One thing I will always stand by is blocking out time for family – It’s a mind, body and spirit need. Your heart won’t be able to keep up with all the amazing things you want to do if you don’t set aside time to recharge with loved ones.
With all you’ve achieved, what was your motivation for joining Moms Making Six Figures? (And where do you find the time to work on your business?!)
First, thank goodness for being able to work online. I have been able to fit Moms Making Six Figures into the downtime in my life. I am not a celebrity; I am a working actress. Each job only lasts so long and when it’s over, you are then on the hunt for the next opportunity. At the end of the day, I am a handyman looking for my next job… You’ve got to have something to fill in those gaps. I used my time in between jobs to build my Moms Making Six Figures business and I am very grateful I did. Recently, we used the income I earned with Moms to help buy a cabin on the river! I love spending time with my family there. (It’s a great place to recharge!)
Another piece of motivation for joining Moms Making Six Figures came from a place of wanting to help educate others about how to live healthier lives. My son was diagnosed with Leukemia and when the doctors told me to get rid of the toxins in our home, I didn’t even know what they meant. After they explained all the things that were considered toxic, I was sick to my stomach. Thankfully, my son survived, and I am happy to share my story with others who might be able to benefit from hearing it.
Finally, working with the Moms team has introduced me to some amazing women. The type of women that want to lift you up. When I am around these women it challenges me to continue thinking “what else, what’s next?” Again, happiness comes from being in pursuit of your potential. If that is true, then the potential is everywhere – I don’t want to limit myself to only acting, only directing or only working for Moms Making Six Figures. I want to keep moving towards my untapped potential while having fun doing it.