Amanda posted a photo, maybe a year ago, wearing the You Are Enough tank, and it was the first time I saw this lovely, lovely, sweet BEing. We finally met and soul sister sparks flew as we exchanged stories and history. Our afternoon culminated in an outpouring of admiration for each other; what a gift to meet a matching open heart. I shared the vision for the new series with Amanda and she gracefully accepted the challenge to make a masterpiece from a lump of clay. Thank you, Amanda.
Note from Amanda.
Hi all! My name is Amanda (some people call me Coop/AJC/Panda) and I’m really happy to be here on FFB. I currently play Glinda in WICKED on Broadway – I’m grateful to be making my Broadway debut in this special show, after having toured as Glinda with the Emerald City (2011) and Munchkinland (2015-2017) companies! NYC: Letter from Algeria, BUNKED! A New Musical. Regional: Bye Bye Birdie at Sacramento Music Circus (Kim MacAfee), What the Butler Saw at PICT (Geraldine Barclay). Select TV: “Glee”, Disney’s “Jessie”, “CSI”, “Bones”, ABC’s “Selfie”, HBO’s “Hello Ladies”, Showtime’s “Masters of Sex”. Select film: “Cavemen”, “Days Like This”, “Smart People”. BFA, Carnegie Mellon University. I’m not one of those cool people who drinks coffee and eats sushi; but I looove me some hot water and an occasional cheeseburger!
December prompt: What’s Creating you?
Metamorphose. df: to change into a different physical form especially by supernatural means. synonyms: transform, develop, mature.
What’s creating you?
What is shaping your mind, body, and spirit?
5 tangible, intangible, ideas, people, places, ideas, rituals, practices that are molding your mind, body, and spirit in this space and time.
- List and describe the deeper layers of each.
- Try and answer the when, why, and how of each “thing” shaping you.
- Reference stories, unique experiences, memories that link with each “thing”
- Examine your day to day routine and why you do what you do.
- What are reoccurring things in your lifestyle practices
- echo lifestyle practices when possible to offer “tools” for readers (takeaway points)
- What are “things” that are so unique to you?
When Jane asked the brilliant question, “what is building you right now?” the first thing that came to mind was faith. I can’t talk about my life in an honest way without giving you a glimpse into my spiritual journey. About six years ago I was living and working in LA, and came to a place where I was I was grasping for validation and fraught with anxiety. I was acting out in ways that were destructive to myself and others. I was lost. There was a void in my soul that I kept trying to fill with things that looked like they’d satisfy but were actually leaving me empty. I was at a Hollywood wrap party one night when I met Alice Issac, my now mentor and big sis. She listened to me that night as I shared with her my life, and she began walking alongside me to help me heal and understand my inherent worth and value, to learn to treat myself (and others of course) with kindness and dignity, to connect to a welcoming church community and with a therapist to work through some things, to learn what it meant to accept God’s love and grace, and to be in a personal relationship with Him. Jesus changed my life and my entire understanding of humanity. My love for people is so much greater now, and my heart is to tell stories that bring hope and redemption. I just finished reading “The Last Arrow” by Erwin Raphael McManus, which I can’t recommend enough! I love being a part of the local church community in NYC and also livestreaming Mosaic in LA (mosaic.org) every Sunday, and watch life-changing talks.
Ya’ll, I AM OBSESSED with this test and book. It has helped shape my understanding of myself and others, like no other resource has. Basically, StrengthsFinders is a test you take online – it will require 40 minutes of your time wherein you’ll answer 144 comparative questions with a 20-second answering time per question – the algorithms of the test are so advanced that it not only takes into account what you answer, but how you answer. It’s so much fun. It reveals your top 5 strengths (out of 34), and helps you discover what you lead with, what you naturally do best, it helps you develop your talents, improve your self-awareness, encourage you toward your best self and understand others with more insight. You can take the test here (it costs $19.99 for your Top 5 but it’s such a good investment to make in yourself!): STENGTHSFINDER. My top 5 are Communication, Woo, Achiever, Adaptability and Strategic. I hope you’ll delve in and find out what yours are too! Once you know, check out this YouTube channel which provides hour-long videos that go into great detail about each one.
3. Massage and steam time
Self-care is IN! When I was on tour for 16 months I made it my ritual to find a great spa in whatever city we were in – bonus points if it had a sauna, steam room and whirlpool. I would get the massage the day after we flew. I thought of it as “erasing” the travel off my body, and it really worked. Plus I, like, love cucumbers so if there are slices to put on your eyes and also eat, I was IN. It’s important for me now too, doing 8 shows a week on a raked stage, to care for my body. I like to get a massage once every 4 weeks at least. If you’re in the city, I highlyyyy recommend Christine at Life Light Massage– she brings such peace to the body and mind, and as a singer herself, she really understands the mechanics of the voice and demands of the stage. I also regularly steam – before the show at my gym, and after the show with a MyPurMist or Vicks Personal Steamer.
Ooo this! I’ve heard it said (that people come into our lives for a reason), okay okay sorry for the tangent, I just love that song ; ) I’ve heard it said that we are the average of 5 people we spend the most time with. I’ve found that to be absolutely true. I’m so fortunate to have a small group of dear friends, women who know everything about me, my flaws and triumphs, who encourage me to be the person I’m created to be, who laugh with me, who sharpen me with wisdom, who meet me in the valleys and cheer for me when I’m on the peaks, who aren’t afraid to get down into the mud of life. Here’s one of my favorite quotes by author Shauna Niequist: “We don’t learn to love each other well in the easy moments. Anyone is good company at a cocktail party. But love is born when we misunderstand one another and make it right, when we cry in the kitchen, when we show up uninvited with magazines and granola bars, in an effort to say, I love you.” Yes. Yes to all of this. I hope you have people in your life who are championing you, and who you are championing! <3
5. New York City
She’s a beauty! I’m so happy to be back. I had been away for 6 years prior to starting WICKED on Broadway. I’d been on tour, then lived in LA for 4 years, then on tour again…a lot of beautiful things happened in those 6 years, and so it’s a gift to get to come back to this place a little older, a lot wiser, but still with the same appetite for pizza ; ) This city challenges me in ways that I don’t expect. It surprises me daily. It grows my patience in the subways, crowds and loudness, and it grows my wonder in the beauty of every human I get to cross paths with each day. New York is a character unto herself. She is filled with fascinating people and she brims with possibility. I love that. I also love having access to theatre, all the time. There’s nothing like it. Seeing other people’s work inspires and shapes me to be a more authentic artist. My sister Holly lives here as well! We are two years apart and the last time we were in the same city was in college in Pittsburgh, where she went to Pitt and I went to CMU, right down the street. So it’s really special to get to be this close to her again. I love taking a bite out of this Big Apple!
Interview & Photos by Jane Jourdan.