Aly is an actor. She’s proudly based out of NYC and working primarily in voice over for cartoons and commercials. She’s a juggler of sorts, which I guess you have to be when you’re working four main acting jobs in addition to near-daily auditions. If that doesn’t spell out a real love for the art, then I don’t know what does. Aly is the voice of Bonnie on Pokémon (Ash’s trusty sidekick), the voice of Rio Kastle on Yu-Gi-Oh!, a writer/producer/actor on an upcoming web series called Crumbly Kitchen, a performer for the Brass Tacks Theatre Collective, and both a performer and teacher at Three Act Theatre.
It was a “big deal,” then, that she was cast in the Tisch Musical Theater Showcase as a senior at NYU. The Showcase is the event of the year – imagine a junior in high school playing basketball in front of the UNC, Syracuse, and Kentucky coaches or a tech startup pitching to Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. The Showcase is where stars are found. But after months of working her butt off, Aly didn’t “get found” – “It was shocking, really, but it was a dose of reality. Going forward it wasn’t just going to be about showing up; now I had to prove to people that they should want to work with me.”
She took that feeling and ran. Sometimes, I guess, the most important of our lessons come from our failures, not our triumphs.
Aly’s still running, and she’s moving even faster now. “Getting the role on Pokémon was a really big deal to me,” she explained. “I was so invested in really breaking in and this has opened the door to a new side of the industry (voice over) for me.”
So she’s in. But has she made it yet? “Most actors feel like there’s no such thing as ‘making it.’ We’re continually striving for more – the next job, the next project. I’m very, very happy where I am right now but I never want to be complacent because I think there’s so much more of my dream to be lived.”
It’s so refreshing to learn from somebody so grounded in and so passionate about their art. So what’s her muse? What drives Aly to act? “For me, it’s making a real connection with somebody I’m performing with or the audience,” she said. “I had an incredible teacher at Tisch named Maggie Low, and she taught me that above all we need to ‘act truthfully.’ You can be entertaining, you can be fun, you can be dramatic, but if, in that moment it’s not real, then there’s no point.’”
For aspiring actors – or artists of any kind – Aly has some pretty cool words for you. “It’s going to be tough. You’re always climbing, always scrambling, always pushing forward. But remember to take a second and look back at the stairs you’ve already climbed, even when there’s countless more ahead. It’s important to remember where you’ve come from and see what you’ve already accomplished. Then turn back around and keep on climbing.”
I’m so glad that Aly has been able to look back on those stairs, because she’s flights ahead of where she was at Tisch and even more from those early days of singing and dancing around the living room with her family. And she’s got a heck of a journey to go, that’s for sure. She’s making her own way, though: paving her own road; dare I say she’s building her own staircase? And while acting, from the outside, might seem to be some developed form of make believe, there’s actually nothing more true than what Aly and the rest of you actors out there are doing and the characters you’re bringing to life.
Oh, and one more thing. She laughed when I asked what she did for fun outside of acting. “I go to the theater,” she said. “Why would I do anything else?”