Life of an Artist and Athlete

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Every “New Year”, I designate my reach goals and tangible goals in order to instigate change from old patterns and create new ones. Never did I expect to accomplish one of my “reach” goals this early in the year! I was lucky to have the opportunity to play one of my favorite sports growing up for a Coors Light commercial. Not only did I have an incredible time and meet some amazing, female talents, but I also was respected and generously compensated for my time on set.

This experience made me reflect back on some obstacles I faced in High School, where my multi-talents weren’t as supported and encouraged. I grew up an athlete in addition to my dance background and passion for the Theatre. I played soccer, basketball, volleyball, tennis and ran track. I literally lived The High School Musical, except I didn’t have a six pack (aka Zac Efron) and my school did not let you dance on tables whenever you felt like busting out into a song. I was the starting point guard for our varsity basketball team and the female lead, Baker’s Wife, in our musical production of Into the Woods.

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I handled what could have been an unpleasant situation with clarity and class, and was able to balance my two passions, Sports and Entertainment, with grace. However, there were many teammates, classmates and teachers who acted as anchors instead of sails to my ship. Subsequently, I made the choice to focus on my performance skills even further for the following show/season to alleviate some of the stress and drama from the last experiment. After several years of being one of my High School’s leading varsity athletes, this was undoubtedly a tough decision for me, but it truly demonstrated my determination to be an artist.

One impact that my accomplishment had on my school and peers, is that many of them realized the limits they have placed on themselves. They soon realized that we often can accomplish much more than we initially think, as long as we are willing to do the work and stretch ourselves. Many of my teachers commented that they were extremely impressed with my choice to break the norm, thus  inspired them to encourage and challenge their younger students to expand their talents and not limit themselves.

Being able to step back into my athletic roots while pursuing my dreams in entertainment was truly an unforgettable experience that I hope to continue to foster and create! Thank you to my family, friends and teachers who always believed in me and encouraged me to trust my talents, even if it meant stepping out of my comfort zone. Please enjoy the full commercial below (I am #24 guarding the hero girl in the 3rd, 5th and 6th shots):

Coors Light Commercial

 

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The Official Trailer – Fauk My Life

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I am beyond excited to finally share the Fauk My Life official trailer for the first season! You can view it by clicking this direct link: Fauk My Life Trailer 

Working on this project has truly been an amazing experience and I think audiences all over the world will fall in love with this story about two young women pursuing their athletic dreams as well as figuring out life and discovering the kind of person they want to be. It’s not your stereotypical sports story that focuses on the end goal of getting recruited or drafted at the professional level and making lots of money. It focuses more on the athletes’ journeys to self discovery and inner peace.

For more details and footage, you can enjoy sneak preview footage of the actual Pilot episode on the official website: Fauk My Life

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14680589_348283082180350_1812922229675004933_n.jpgI was recently cast as one of the supporting lead roles in a TV series called Fauk My Life, about a young female athlete trying to figure out the best path for her future; should she choose a man, get married and put her career on hold or should she choose basketball, her true love and pursue a collegiate journey?

I grew up an athlete, playing literally every sport from soccer to volleyball to basketball. Basketball was particularly special to me, so having the opportunity to tap back into my balling days while doing what I a most passionate about, was truly enjoyable. Working on this project has truly been an unforgettable experience and I believe that this show will touch and relate with many audiences around the world. This show taps into themes such as love, sports, interracial relationships and LGBT conflicts.

For more details on the show, visit the website: Fauk My Life

 

Let’s Make Movie Magic

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My production company, Kalliste Zoe Productions, is developing a short dark, comedic film, Birds Dropping, about two close friends that experience one nightmare of a road trip. As they travel by car to one of their sister’s weddings, they hit a literal “crossroad” but instead of working together, they argue and end up stranded. I will be directing and producing this project.

Coral Huerta, the writer, started developing the script a few years ago as she morbidly fantasized about how terrible it would be to get stuck off some highway in the middle of the desert. She took a lot of solo road trips from Los Angeles to Henderson to visit her sister and nephew, so on these journeys she had nothing but time to map out the worst case scenarios: popping a tire, running out of gas, taking a wrong exit or turn? Through this exploration of her imagination, she synthesized a bizarrely dark and funny comedy. When she work-shopped a scene from the script in a class we were both taking at the time, I thought it was hysterical and approached Coral about sharing this with the world.

With your support and help, we will be able to make this story come to life! We need to cover basic expenses for the equipment, crew, transportation, lodging, props, wardrobe and food. This is a low budget film as we aim to keep expenses around $1,000. We are aiming to shoot everything one weekend at the end of March (26th & 27th). Donations start at $5 and we already have more than 50% of our budget covered, so any additional amount you can contribute makes a huge difference. We have an incredibly talented cast and crew that plans to create an aesthetically beautiful and funny story for all to enjoy!

You can Donate by clicking this link: GoFundMe – Birds Dropping

To check out more about my film production company, visit: Kalliste Zoe Productions

 

It’s A Beautiful Life

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I am thrilled to announce that creating my own film production company has truly been one of the most exciting and rewarding parts of my unpredictable, entertainment career. Art is the exploration of truth; therefore, I aim to discover, capture and share such beautiful truths with the world through film. I am truly blessed to be able to collaborate with so many incredibly talented artists and help make their visions come to life. Here’s to 2016 – may it bring more amazing projects and success to Kalliste Zoe Productions! To view some of my current projects, please check out and follow my company below:

www.KallisteZoe.com

YouTube Channel

Facebook Page

Google+

Twitter/Instagram: @KallisteZoe3

My Journey as an Artist

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I am Mary Rachel Gardner, nickname MayRay; born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area by a big Greek family. I’m known for my sense of humor, genuine presence and yummy cooking. Since I was a child, I loved sharing stories and challenging perspectives with almost anyone.

I graduated from USC in 2013 with a major in Acting and double minor in Business and Film Production; I also spent a semester abroad studying at a theatre conservatory in London (BADA). I have been performing since I was six years old; constantly active with dance, musical theatre, and filmmaking. While at USC, I acted in numerous student films and had the pleasure of performing in Top Girls as Patient Griselda/Nell, and Tristan and Yseult as a Love-spotter. I wrote, produced, and acted in some of my own short films as well.

While theatre and film are significant players in my life, I am also passionate about the “behind the scenes” aspects of entertainment. I worked at several production companies, such as Steve Carell’s Carousel Productions and agencies such as William Morris Endeavor. I even had the incredible opportunity to work at The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where I learned about the production and operation elements of running a live television show.

All of these amazing experiences have further fueled my passion for entertainment; which is why I am currently pursuing my acting, writing and producing career in Los Angeles. Since graduating from USC, I have starred as the lead in several plays, musicals, short independent films, and I was a featured dancer in the upcoming feature-length film Breaking Legs. I have also developed many of my own independent projects with my production company Kalliste Zoe Productions; including music videos, parodies, comedic sketches and short films.

I am eager and ready to contribute my talents and collaborate professionally with others in the entertainment industry as an artist. I truly feel at home when entertaining others, whether I am on the stage, in front of or behind the camera. These past few years have reassured me that I have found my niche and am truly looking forward to the new adventures ahead.

Some inspiration for my fellow artists; You, actor, must master the art of observation…for what matters is not how you look but what you have seen and can show us…Your task, actors, is to be explorers and teachers of the art of dealing with people. Knowing their nature and demonstrating it, you teach them to deal with themselves. You teach them the great art of living together — (Bertold Brecht)