Re-direct Yourself

with Chelsea London Lloyd

How did you get started?
I started performing when I was very young, dance class at age 2 and theatre at age 5. I was doing 2-4 shows a year including musical theatre and dance recitals from then on. Someone asked me recently if I consider myself a child actor… I would say in some ways yes, because that’s really what I was doing with a lot of my time at that point. I’m glad I got to go to school and experience a “normal” life because there are so many experiences I have can bring to my characters from everything I have gone through. My first audition (ever) was for Beauty and the Beast. I did it in a French accent. I really don’t know why…. they ended up making a part for me as a French cat. It made no sense and it was awesome. I guess I just loved character acting from the get-go!

My parents were both combatting illnesses and so performing was the best way I knew how to cope. I definitely should have been in therapy (ha) but since I was not — comedy was my therapy.

Favorite part about what you do?
I love being able to bring someone else’s story to life. When someone comes up to you after a show or messages you and says, “that’s what I went through, thank you…” = there is truly nothing else like that feeling. Reaching out to girls who have lost a parent has become a bigger part of my life over the last few years. I really love connecting with girls in that way and helping out when I can.

Favorite roles or experiences that you have had thus far?
I almost booked a sitcom and that was incredible. (It’s a long story.)  Working with Bill Hader on Barry (HBO) was a dream! My Alaska Airlines commercial. Performing stand-up comedy at The Laugh Factory. Hosting a show for ClevverTV for a year. Being selected for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. Most recently I did a commercial for KFC which is currently running nationally + in movie theaters. I am grateful! 

Favorite theatre roles growing up were Mama Rose in GYPSY, Kristine in A CHORUS LINE and Anita in WEST SIDE STORY.

Who are your role models or comedic influences?
Meryl Streep, Kathryn Hahn, & Diane Keaton were my childhood influences. Also love Tina Fey, lana Glazer, & Tiffany Haddish and anyone who is badass and has paved their own way. My latest obsession is Jonathan Van Ness. I have made a few parodies (as him!) in hopes that he would see them. Last month I flew to Phoenix so that I could sit in the front row & see him do stand-up. We got to meet (briefly) and it was a dream. He hasn’t seen my videos yet, though, so I’m going to keep doing making them! It’s my crack. He truthfully inspired me to get back into standup, and to sing (in the parody) — things I would NOT have done if it weren’t for him and for Queer Eye. My #1 goal is to tour with him and be his mascot/hype woman… dress up as him, help sell merchandise, hype up crowds, and take photos with fans dressed up as him until he comes on stage! No joke. Obsessed with him. 

Hardest thing about pursuing comedy in LA?
LA can you break your heart but so can life, so you’ve just got to keep going. Hardest part for me is taking breaks to re-evaluate what I want, what’s working, what isn’t. It’s okay to stop, pause, breathe, etc. For 2019 I’m trying to give myself permission to take time in between gigs to experience more of “life” stuff. It provides fuel for the next gig — and it works. That’s why I volunteer as a grief counselor…there is truly nothing more rewarding. I’m so happy doing this!

There’s a lot of people out here; you can look to others for inspiration but don’t spend too much time worrying about what others are doing. Ultimately, you are on your own path! Keep your head down and keep the grind alive! But don’t forget to stop, breathe, go out of town, take up hobbies outside the biz….that is all extremely important.

Most rewarding thing about pursuing comedy in LA?
Working with role models, and people you admire. Making people laugh when they are in pain. Booking the job.

Advice for those who want to break in?
Starting out, get in an awesome acting class filled with people who you can rely on, and who will build you up. Self-tape with them, give feedback with them, become friends with them. Submit yourself for your own projects. Take up a hobby outside of the industry — this is important! 

I started out with Brian Patacca as a Life & Career Coach and John Rosenfeld Studios for on-camera training. I recommend both.

Comparison is the thief of joy. People around you will “get” stuff and you’ll feel like, wow, am I behind? The answer is no. If you are putting in the work, training, writing, creating, whatever that means to you….then you’re not behind. It’s all a part of the 10K hours. Commit to one thing and do it every week for a year. It could be self-taping in the same group of friends, doing stand-up, making a YouTube video, writing a blog post, writing a sketch, doesn’t matter. But if you do the same thing for every week for a year, you WILL get noticed. I promise.

You will be ready when your time comes.

Advice for those experiencing loss or grief?
If you just lost someone, or are in the process of losing someone…my heart beats for you. It’s absolutely the hardest thing to go through. You can contact me through my website, I’m happy to offer some advice/wisdom if I can. I’m not perfect but I have been there and sometimes it’s nice to vent to someone. You’re not alone…I have all kinds of resources here:

How do you combine your love for your art + charitable pursuits?
I’m writing a pilot & a film right now about characters experiencing loss, all based on my own experiences. Those are the stories I want to tell and be a part of forever. I also have some new things coming out interviewing those who have also experienced similar things. Super excited about it. Anything related to death/grief/illness…I want to be a part of it! That’s my jam. 

Last words?
I believe that every child believes in something bigger than themselves. There is an acute self-awareness we have when we are young. Through watching my dad fight ALS, I quickly realized how short life truly is. He literally did not move for the last 7-8 years of his life. Not his legs, not his arms, not his hands, not his toes. Imagine living your life like that! We are given one chance to be here…hopefully, we are all following our inner guides towards something that brings us joy. If you are feeling stuck, ask yourself why, and what small action you can take to re-direct yourself towards something that will bring you joy. Marie Kondo that shit. But instead of the clothes, use yourself. Do YOU spark joy – for yourself?

More About Chelsea

Chelsea London Lloyd (www.ChelsWhoElse.comis a Marin County native with a BA in Theatre from USC. She is an actor and comedian whose accolades include testing for a series regular as the Jewish bisexual BFF on Grown-ish (Freeform.) She previously wrapped 45 episodes of the comedic talk show “Clevver Now” (Defy Media/Verizon go90.) Her KFC commercial is currently airing nationally & her Alaska Airlines commercial has 5M views. Recent credits include a pilot for Adult Swim, & Barry (HBO, dir. Bill Hader.) On the theatre scene, last year she wrapped GUILTY PARTIES (Jewish Women’s Theatre, Best Westside Theatre) and the west coast premiere of MY BIG GAY ITALIAN FUNERAL (Defiance Theatre Co) – Best Ensemble @ Valley Theatre Arts Awards 2018. You can find her performing stand-up comedy and musical improv around Los Angeles. When she is not doing the funny, she volunteers with + blogs for those who have lost a parent at a young age, based on her experience of losing her dad to ALS and watching her mom fight stage 4 breast cancer for the second time.

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