We had the good fortune of connecting with Leah Cevoli and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Leah, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Great question and super relevant I think for most people in 2021, we’ve had a big perspective shift around work/life balance. When I was in my 20s/30s just starting out, I said “yes” to everything. Like, everything!! Not only was I pursuing a full-time acting/voice over career, audtioning, taking classes, going to networking events etc., but I must have had a dozen evening and weekend freelance jobs and another dozen volunteer positions, often back-to-back and even overlapping at times. I was paging thru an old planner a few years back and was exhausted and frankly amazed that I pulled that kind of a schedule off for so long.

This go-go-go lifestyle carried over into my crowdfunding business as well. I found myself immersed inmy client’s campaigns, afraid to take a vacation, go on a little road-trip, or even just turn off my phone for a few hours.

Nowadays I am all about the balance. This has becaome particularly poignant after what we’ve experienced in 2020/2021. As the world shut down, I looked around me and realized how many fun things in my own city I had yet to experience. How many summers I let pass me by without a trip to a lake or even a nearby beach. I made it a part of my regular routine to get out in nature more, to go on more road-trips, to have days where I do nothing but sit outside and watch the birds. And to be okay with that.

That’s the key to balance, being okay with – enjoying – the downtime – because if while you’re relaxing or visiting with friends or exploring nature, in the back of your head you’re still worried about what emails you need to check, or an upcoming deadline, then you’re not really achieving the balance you were hoping for.

I found becoming an Aunt really helped me with this as well. When I go to visit with my young nieces and nephews, I am much more likely to unplug from it all, enjoy myself and have no guilt.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m a story-teller I work in voice-over, television, film and commercials. I’m a poet and recently published a mini-collection of poetry, Amicably Ever-After: The Year I Grew Up. I’m also a live event host and even do some modeling. I really do enjoy it all and would have a hard time naming a favorite . I think what sets me apart – at least at this point – is the vast experience across so many genres, that I’ve gained from over two decades in Los Angeles. I’m not someone who is afraid to get my hands dirty, work long hours, or put my own ego and agenda aside for the greater purpose of the story – in front of or behind the scenes – and sometimes that looks anything but glamourous.

Early on in my career, I had the great opportunity to work with and get to know some giants in their respective industries. One of these giants was the late great A.C. Lyles, who was a well-known producer and longtime employee of Paramount Pictures. A.C. had a fabulous backstory of how he went from a teenage movie usher in Florida to literally knocking on the gates of Paramount studios in Hollywood. What his story taught me was that persistence, tenacity, courage and believing in yourself will eventually pay off. That and being a good person, someone who is thoughtful and fosters relationships. I’d like to think that’s a part of my overall story and brand. I’m a connector. I bring people together and build relationships.

It has not been an easy road. There have been easy seasons, if you will, but overall it’s been a long journey to get to where I currently am. My career has been filled with some really high highs and some really low lows. I’ve overcome those challenges really, by just staying in the game. Sometimes, that looks like course correction, trying different approaches, seeking out new communities, mentors, and sometimes that looks like taking a break for one’s own mental health.

And creating. Creating new things and getting my own work out there and self-produced, whether that be a low-budget horror short film or a youtube interview series, and not just so that I have a new credit on my imdb page, but really to fulfill my own creative heart.

In a way, that’s how my crowdfunding business was born. I had been struggling to make ends meet as a performer, when I noticed a trend of other self-producing creatives turning to me for advice on fundraising, marketing and publicity. After some resistance, I created Greenlight Your Passion Project and an income stream that I have more control over then that of my creative storyteller income stream. Seven years later, I’ve worked with some incredible producing teams who I most likely wouldn’t have met had I just come knocking on their door with a headshot in hand.

That’s another thing that A.C. Lyles was known for saying….when asked about a career in showbiz he’d say “it’s not who you know, but who knows you.” I’d like to think there are a lot of people out there who smile and nod, when asked if they know who Leah Cevoli is.

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.
Oooh, my best friend hasn’t visited in so long! Where to begin?

We’d be outdoors a lot! One of my newest favorite spots is Franklin Canyon Lake, it’s this hiking trail off of Coldwater Canyon, that has so many ducks, and koi fish, and birds. It also has this little area called Heavenly Pond where the turtles all live. So I call it the Turtle Pond. There are so many hiking trails, I’ve yet to explore them all, but I did recently drive all the way up to the top of the Canyon and the view and the Ravens up there are just gorgeous.

If there was a Cinespia Hollywood Forever movie happening that week, we’d definitely put a picnic together and enjoy lounging in the cemetary watching a classic movie. There are so many outdoor movie events happening now, but that’s my longtime favorite one. I recently saw the Urban Renewal Project perform at a Street Food Cinemia Movie event in downtown LA and really loved the band and the whole set up and vibe for that event. So, we’d catch one of those too.

One of my favorite evening things to do, especially if there’s a full moon… is to head down to Santa Monica, and find a little spot on the beach – a little north of the pier to just sit on a blanket and watch the waves come in. Take a drive up PCH, and take the long way home.

I’ve recently been kayaking down in Huntington beach, so I think we’d do something like that, some sort of boating rental at one of the many beaches in this area is a definite. Ooh, and speaking of boats and water, I love renting the Swan paddle boats over at Echo Park lake. That’s a really affordable, quick outing, that makes you feel like you’ve done a lot!

Descanso Gardens is another great, inexpensive, beautiful afternoon!

I’d love to take her on a waterfall hike, maybe up in Ojai or Malibu. And definitely, take a ride down to Joshua Tree, I’ve been camping down there a lot this past year, and took an afternoon to drive leisurely thru the whole national park, stopping for sight-seeing and mini-hikes.

We’d go get our nails done at my favorite nail salon, Quality Nails in Studio City, hit up my favorite massage place, Jun Foot Spa in North Hollywood, and maybe even make it down to Vivie Therapy near the mid-wilshire area for some whole body alignment and all sorts of other things they do there!

We’d pop in for some yoga classes at The Yogi Tree in Toluca Lake. We’d also need to spend a day getting pampered and enjoying delicious Korean food at Olympic Day Spa in East La – this one is for the ladies only!

Food… so many great places, El Compadre’s and The Smokehouse come to mind. I live in Burbank, so a trip to downtown Burbank, to walk around and look at the shops, and maybe grab dinner at Wokano.

And since I’m a rock n roll chick at heart, we’d definitely hit up the Rainbow Bar and Grill on Sunset Strip for their delicious food, strong drinks, great music, and incredible people watching.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Oh, I could write a book of shoutouts to the people and places that have helped me along the way. But if I have to pick just a few….. my acting and voice acting coaches who have helped me fine-tune my craft, supplied me with constructive criticism, and helped me believe in my talents; these include my first acting coaches, Ivan Markota and Steve Cardwell (rest in peace), Katt Shea, Bob Bergen, and more recently Hunter Lee Hughes. My career and life coaches who encourage me to keep going, to keep growing and showing up; these include Bonnie Gillespie and Barbara Deustch. The communities that have helped me thrive, including Helenna Santos’ Ms. In the Biz community, Emily Best’s WIMPS, Tim Friedlander’s Gardner Street Collective (fka The Voice Over Collective), and the amazing resources at the SAG-AFTRA Foundation. I’d also like to shout-out a few directors whom I enjoy working with, Robin Bain, Jenn Page and Shane Stanley; they’ve each cast me on mulitple occasions, and I am grateful for those relationships. And I can’t really do a shout-out about my career without giving a shout-out to David Milch, who believed in me enough to give me my first television speaking role on HBO’s Deadwood, and also Seth Green and Matt Senreich who believed in me and helped me earn my union membership with my first animated television voice over role on Robot Chicken.

Website: www.greenlightyourpassionproject.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/leah_cevoli

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/leahcevoli/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/leah_cevoli

Facebook: www.facebook.com/leah-cevoli

Youtube: www.youtube.com/leahann4

Other: www.leahcevoliVO.com

Image Credits
Erik Voake, Angel Stanz, Cupcake Quarterly

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