I have to confess: I’m still loving our “Conversations Over Coffee” series. Each week, we’re able to introduce you to incredible women from all walks of life. With each interview, I’m finding myself more and more inspired to be vulnerably open as myself. Today, I want to introduce you to Laura Simms. I met Laura virtually through mutual friends and have loved the opportunity to get to know her better. I think you’ll find her as fun and inspiring as I do.
Tell us about Laura – as if every 7-10 years (or so) of your life, you had a nifty Crayola color that represented that time period. We want to know the bold, the ugly, and the beautiful!
0-9 Cornflower + Hot Magenta. Curiosity, exploration, Legos, forts, animals, playing outside, reading, developing a stubborn streak. All my dreams come true when I finally get a little sister at age 9. I think I’d like to be a vet.
9-18 Navy Blue, the color of my school uniform, and Electric Lime, the color that doesn’t care what you think. School and studying all the time. Excel at many things, struggle with math. Learn that just because you work hard doesn’t mean you’ll be rewarded. Independent and not too concerned with what other people think translates into I-don’t-do-girly and my mom practically pins me down to get me to wear lipstick for prom. Fall in love with acting and do gobs of school plays. Think I’d like to be a marine biologist because no one really becomes an actor.
18-28 Atomic Tangerine fades to Sepia. Wildly creative college years. Energy, spark, playing pranks, writing music, doing improv. Decide to become an actor and get first real gig at professional theatre and have the best summer of my life. Cut my teeth in regional theatre for 3 years. At 25, head across the country to graduate school for acting and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. Feel strong and free and spontaneous. Graduate back to the real world and move to Los Angeles. The color fades. Creativity fades. I fade. But isn’t this what I wanted?
28-33 Sepia to Magic Mint. Have some success in “the industry,” but something is off. The least amount of acting I do since age 12 is as a professional actor in LA. Atrophy. Low grade depression. Identity and career crisis. Slowly muck my way back to feeling like myself and shed my acting career in the process. The color comes back fresh and green. Search for more purposeful work leads to coaching. Start my business, love my work. Don’t think about what I want to be, think about why I want to be.
Tell us three “defining moments” in your life – and what opened up on the other side for you….
Became a big sister. I really took my role seriously and took great pride in being a leader, teacher, and protector. I pulled Christina’s first tooth (by tricking her; I wasn’t always good.), taught her negative numbers when she was 5, and saved her when her floaties popped off when she jumped in the pool with her arms up. “Big sister” became a big part of who I am.
Got into my top choice graduate school. The program was very competitive and I was a bit of an underdog with my history BA. My craft as an actor rocketed, but in a broader sense I got to explore meaning and art and contribution, and I will always be better for that.
Moving away from Los Angeles. This decision emerged over a period of several years, but by the time it was go time, it felt like a big yes to my future.
What do you know now that you wish you knew at 24?
Compound interest? There’s really nothing I want to save my 24-year old self from. I want her to have the experiences and struggles she will. It works out. :)
Tell us all about the Blue Chairs. When did your love affair begin? And fess up – how many blue chairs reside within your home?
Haha! I stayed with a friend in New York a couple years ago, and her whole apartment was white with the softest turquoise accents. When I came back to LA, my mind was on that color when I stumbled across a gorgeous pair of frosty blue wingback chairs, and as soon as I saw them I knew they were mine. I sit in one for the videos I do for my website, and it wasn’t long until people were commenting on the chair. I brought them home a friend recently, so now I have three.
What is your super power?
Hearing between the lines. It’s like sonar for what doesn’t get said.
It’s dinner time – what is the Go-To get-it-on-the-Table” menu?
A mango? Cereal? I’m in a terrible cooking slump where I mostly eat ingredients instead of meals. But when I’m on it, I like to start with simple vegetable dish like orange-glazed beets and build around it.
What in your life brings you the most: satisfaction, joy, spark, and absolute giddiness?
I have a great life with lots of fulfilling relationships and work. But if we’re taking giddy? Like off-the-wall, tears of joy, snorting laughter giddy? Cuddly animals. One otter video can send me into hysterically happy tears. Last week I got to hold two baby bunnies and my head blew off. One of my favorite people in the world is a dog. I just, they make me, I mean, I just…I love them. They blow me away.
I’m Laura Simms, and I want you to get paid for being you. As a career coach, I help women find meaningful work. We do purpose and profit; money and meaning. If you want to get a job/quit a job, change careers, or finally start that business (eep!), we should talk. I’ll teach you to stop selling out and start selling in. Visit createasfolk.com to learn more.
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