For our very first double community spotlight, we had to sit down and chat with two ladies who met in level 1 improv and now are inseparable parts of each other’s lives.
Both of them joined improv to spark joy in their lives– Sarah’s husband was deployed, and Jen was facing life choices and a need for change. Through improv they not only found each other, but also a newfound confidence and joy.
Sarah shares more of her improv journey:
“Improv has grown to be a major part of my life in a very short period of time. I started taking classes at FCI after spending some time trying standup comedy. Comedy has always been a part of who I am and women in comedy like Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, and Tina Fey are my inspiration. I have always wanted to provide an opportunity for people of color to be able to laugh and see someone who looks like them on a stage. I learned much from my time doing standup, but I never felt quite at home. The laughter was there, but I still needed something a little different. I found what I was looking at Finest City Improv.
Improv has been a tremendous outlet for me and allows me to be completely myself. My spouse recently deployed for nine months, and improv truly helped me get through that difficult time. I feel at home on an improv stage and genuinely enjoy every opportunity I get to perform.
When I am not performing, I work on several projects and jobs. Currently, I am the co-founder of a military spouse blog with two of my best friends called, “How to Milspouse.” Humor is a major component as we look to laugh around the shared joys and trials of living lives with military partners. I also work for the podcast “Mueller She Wrote” which covers the ongoing investigation by the special counsel Robert Mueller. To round it all out, I work for a military spouse owned social media company, The Social Crown. I have several clients who I work with and assist in their social media and online presence. Any spare time I have after all that is devoted to my two cockatiels named Frida and Diego, and to my ongoing obsession with Game of Thrones. Improv has added immeasurably to my life, and I will always be thankful to have found such a beautiful outlet. “
and Jen shares more of hers: “My first experience with improv occured back in middle school drama class. After one improv focused class, 12 year old me quickly came to the rash decision that I would never try improv again. Throughout my time in middle school and high school theatre, I avoided improv like the plague. Much to my surprise, this art form provided the comfort and confidence that learning-how-to-adult me needed. Prior to joining FCI I was experiencing an emotionally difficult period in my life. Through teaching myself how to play the ukulele, I discovered that the arts brought me great comfort during these turbulent moments. With the desire to reconnect with my past theatre self, I stumbled upon FCI’s free improv class in a night of a google frenzy. That free class was the first time my troubled thoughts dissipated and instead I was enveloped in happiness and laughter. After that first class I knew I was hooked.
I was immediately welcomed and accepted by my classmates and the FCI community as a whole. I was enraptured by the philosophy that everyone’s experiences and backgrounds are valid and worthy to be shared on and off stage. It has allowed me to connect deeply with my peers and instructors resulting in friendships I would have never imagined. I think the most unexpected outcome from this experience is the drastic increase in my own confidence. It is such an empowering feeling that has transcended into the many facets of my life.
I currently work as a medical receptionist at Select Physical Therapy and in the fall I will be starting a Master’s in Nursing program at UCLA. I am interested in specializing in pediatrics and eventually pursuing a degree as a Nurse Practitioner. I wish to combine my passion for healthcare with my love for improv to bring medical care and joy to my future patients. On a separate note, I also wish to adopt a dog shortly after I finish my master’s program. “
Meet them in the video below!
In Their Words
Jennifer: Hi, I’m Jennifer and I am a level five student.
Sarah: I’m Sarah and I am also a level five student. We met each other in level one improv. I remember when Jenny first walked into the room, she just came in like all out, and I was like, “I want to be friends with her.” And we’ve been friends ever since. Going on stage with someone that you’re comfortable with, I really felt like it was easier. I know we didn’t know each other very well, but just from bonding in class and going on stage, I felt like it just … I don’t know, it made us … I think it reached a level of friendship that maybe most people don’t get to when they first start making friends.
Jennifer: Feeling each other, then I think we were just like, “I got your back,” to each other.
Sarah: I got your back.
Jennifer: And that’s something we frequently like to say to each other, even if we’re not performing, and just in life. So that just solidified that feeling of, “Oh, we’re both scared and this is an unknown place,” but we’re there together.
Sarah: I joined improv because my spouse, he was deployed, and so I was like, “I wanted to have some hobby that I … ” I’ve always been interested in improv and so I just wanted to try it. And I think during that time having my partner away for so long and me … I was just so lonely and in a new place because I … and I never lived in Oceanside before. And then I met Jenny and then we just bonded so quickly. But I really felt like it’s made me a more outgoing person. It helped me access a part of myself that I think I kept hidden for too long.
Jennifer: I think on my end, I actually entered improv in a rather not great time in my life. There would be times where I would be crying before class and then I would go to class and I just wouldn’t think about the negative things. And then it just … Thank you. Gracias. It just transcended into me realizing who I am as an adult, and what I want to do. And just giving me the sense of confidence that I had never felt before and it was just so empowering.
Both: Our improv motto is, “Loud and proud!”
This article is part of the Community Spotlight Series highlighting our amazing students, teachers, and performers.
Are you an FCI student or graduate that has a great story to share? We’d love to feature you! Let us know.