We had the good fortune of connecting with Ally Mulholland and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ally, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
“A person’s a person, no matter how small.” – Dr. Seuss
I’ve always felt like I’ve needed to prove myself. Not only do I literally look like a child even though I’m an adult, I’ve also felt underestimated and not taken seriously in my career on stage. Due to being small, looking cutesy and being the “chubby girl,” I was put into a tight box because of the way I looked and my size. Not that I don’t love playing those characters, they’re a blast and I will play them forever, but I wish I wasn’t told that I was limited because of it. One of the things I strive to enforce in my children’s theatre environment at Class Act Community Playhouse is inclusivity in every sense of the word. Whether it’s someone’s looks or sexual orientation or how they identify in their gender roles, my main goal is to give kids a very safe place in which to create. I don’t feel like I had that as a kid. I was around people who were influenced by the structure and idea that people (actors) need to fit into a category and if you don’t fit, you’re forgotten or misplaced. Often, your talent didn’t really matter if you didn’t fit into a pre-defined mold. In this quote from Dr. Seuss, the statement of “a person’s a person no matter what” is so meaningful. The “no matter how small” part is personal to me because I’m 4’10 but what’s important is that a person is a person no matter what. No matter who they are or what box someone says they have to fit into. You a should be respected and the art you create should be respected. It means to not apologize for who you are. And to not be ashamed of who you are.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m excited about our growing program. It feels like a privilege to have the platform to provide kids a space to grow creatively and build their confidence so that regardless of what field they go into, they’re able to walk into any situation with their best foot forward. Also, I finally feel like I’m not afraid to step into audition rooms as anything less than my authentic self. I’m no longer looking for the reassurance and approval of others or seeking permission to be who I am. I use to be paralyzed by my fear of what everyone behind the table would perceive me to be, but now I get to enjoy the excitement of walking in excited to share and create even if it’s only for 1.5 seconds! It’s something I strive to instill in my kids as young as possible because I didn’t start to feel that way until well into my adulthood. When it comes to being a teacher, everyone always told me if I became a teacher, I was somehow giving up on my own dreams. But fuck that stereotype. I use my love for my art as a way to encourage and inspire the next generation. I’m not giving up on my dreams. And I’m not giving up on theirs. The biggest lesson I’ve learned as a teacher and as an artist is to trust myself. No one knows what you’re capable of more than you do. It’s not anyone else’s job to rate your self-worth.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I always tell people they have to go to Abbot Kinney in Venice Beach and The Music Center in downtown LA. I also love the fashion district and of course, Disneyland. It’s my favorite place.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My cousin Jen has always been my spark of inspiration. I remember being mesmerized by dance as a young child because I use to watch her dance in shows and think, I want to tell stories like that on stage! I remember once after a show she let me walk out onto the stage under all the lights and told me to dance or sing my favorite song. I think I sang a few lines of a song from Annie and I immediately felt such a sense of freedom and excitement that I knew I had to chase that feeling forever!
Photography by Ryan Brinson