|On set with Hubbell Yoda.|
On April 10th, I got to live out a few of my lifelong dreams. I acted on a television show, got paid as an actress for my time, and got to work with a filmmaker I love more than words can say. Even more icing on the vegan cake? The filmmaker is none other than Mike White, the tremendously talented guy who penned Year of the Dog, a movie that completely changed my life (and will change yours too if you watch it!). Year of the Dog follows a woman (played by Molly Shannon) who, after the tragic death of her beloved dog, goes through a life-altering transformation to becoming a vegan animal rights activist.
See, Mike is a Hollywood writer/director/actor/producer, and he also happens to be a passionate, joyful vegan. Ever since I jumped back into acting after a two year break of enjoying and sharing my vegan lifestyle with the world, I've been looking for any way I can to combine my love of performance and storytelling with my love of animal advocacy. After reaching out to Mike a few months back about how much Year of the Dog touched my heart, I began watching his amazing HBO series, Enlightened, another labor of love involving a woman on a mission to help the world. If you haven't already experienced the magic that is this series, get started now. It shouldn't be missed!
I reached out a second time to Mike about how, yet again, his work changed me for the better. A couple of months later, I received a call from my agent about an audition I would have for a TV show... called Enlightened. And the rest is stuff of kiss-worthy miracles. Because on April 10th, this vegan actress/singer/blogger/animal activist got to act in two scenes in the upcoming season of Mike's show, alongside his Enlightened co-creator, Laura Dern, one of most tremendously kind, grounded, and talented actresses around. I don't know if Mike knew how much I was looking for this kind of opportunity at exactly this time, but the gift he gave to me is one I will cherish forever. Because not only did Mike give me my first paid LA acting gig, but he also gave me the chance to collaborate with a fellow vegan artist on a show that celebrates the activist in all of us. Bottom line - I lived my bliss on April 10th.
What I will say is this: Mike White is one of the good ones. Aside from being a consummate professional, he has the biggest heart of any filmmaker I've ever come across. He makes working on a television show look easy, and he finds a way to connect with every single person he comes across during a shoot. And it doesn't hurt that he is an unbelievably gifted actor, writer, and director. I hope this is not the last time I get to experience working with him, and even more, I hope you will check out his work beyond what I've talked about today.
Oh - and I haven't even gotten to the best part! On the set among all of the hustle and bustle was a little dog named Hubbell Yoda. Hubbell Yoda was rescued by Simone Reyes, a vegan activist and the executive assistant to Russell Simmons (you may have also seen Simone on the reality show Running Russell Simmons). After suffering from painful glaucoma for six months, Hubbell had his eyes removed about a month ago. During the shoot, Hubbell was being watched by activist Mai Lei Robinson, who allowed me some time to get to know this little guy. While he couldn't see me when I hung out with him, he definitely made sure to sniff me out and seriously enjoyed getting cuddled. Watching this beautiful, brave doggie experience the world was so humbling - despite his ailment, Hubbell is living his life as blissfully as a dog possibly can. And he's being loved, cared for, and given the freedom of living peacefully, the best scenario any animal can ask for.
To Mike, Laura, Hubbell, Simone, Mai Lei and the Universe, I say: thank you.
I can't wait for more!
What are ways YOU would like to combine your animal activism in your daily life? Share in the comments section below!