I have been a professional actor for almost 20 years.
Like many women artists of a certain age, I have struggled to make a respectable living off of anything entertainment-related for the last few years. Most artists I know can empathize with the conundrum of balancing their creative endeavors with the reality of needing to make a decent living in Los Angeles. That fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants financial reality is doable in your 20's and even your 30's, but it's entirely different when you look at your bank account in your 40's and see what the financial roller-coaster hath wrought.
Most artists I know didn't have the luxury of working jobs they actually cared about while climbing (or attempting to climb) the ladder of success in Hollywood. Instead, we were relegated to low-paying but flexible jobs that allowed us the time to audition to or to flounce off to Hawaii for six weeks to shoot a truly awful soap opera. I spent nearly 20 years pounding the pavement, an exercise that yielded modest success with an inordinate amount of pain, rejection, and heartbreak. Having said that, I wouldn't change a thing.
My time with Heaven on Earth began in April of last year a few months after the loss of my sweet, 18-year-old tabby Butch. His loss deeply impacted me; I needed to channel my love and heartbreak into something good for the species that had brought so much joy to my life. I started volunteering again -- a childhood fundamental that had fallen by the wayside while I singularly focused my energy on "making something happen" as an actor and producer.
It felt wonderful: cats make me happy. It really is that simple.
After the 2016 election, finding my happiness was more important than ever. Spinning my wheels in a financially stable yet dead-end job was killing my soul. Having the opportunity to channel my talents into something consequential reminded me that it was possible to do something meaningful for a living. Not needing to constantly prove myself or my worth was a much-needed lift after years of hustling to sell my ideas and talent to an industry that gave me just enough of the carrot to keep me engaged, but not enough of the carrot to eat... in most years, anyway.
By the end of last year, I let it be known that it was my intention to dive into this world full-time. The timing was precipitous; a position opened up, and lo-and-behold, Heaven on Earth had seen enough to bring me aboard. I'm now the Adoptions and Volunteer Director for this wonderful cat rescue.
You now know the why, and now here is my ask: $10. The cost of two coffees at Starbucks or one Papst Blue Ribbon at a hipster bar. As a non-profit, we depend on donations and grants to keep our sanctuary and life-saving work going. Give more if you can, but every little bit will help toward meeting our $825K budget.
Kittens are precious and adorable, but they are also the most vulnerable and have the highest risk of being euthanized when they go into shelters. As you'll see in the video, they require medical treatment and a lot of time for feeding and care. In 2011, the city of Los Angeles euthanized 7400 kittens. By 2017, we lowered that number to 2003. With your help, we can make L.A. a No-Kill city in the next two years.
More than 1100 cats and kittens will pass through Perry's Place this year. Your contribution will provide lifesaving medical care to sick and injured cats and help us care for underage kittens until they are ready to go to their forever homes.
Give because you love cats. If you don't love cats, do it for me. If you don't love me, do it because giving to charity should be a value for everyone living in a first world country.
IF NOTHING ELSE, DO IT BECAUSE KITTENS!
Main photo is of Perry's Place alum Phoenix © Charlie Nunn Photography