AwareNow: Issue 7: The Return Edition

Page 13




“Sisters Jenny and Kristen Martin are the new ambassadors of Mental Health for Awareness Ties. A psychologist and an actress, they have both pursued the understanding of the human condition from different vantage points. Together, they hope to dismantle the stigma that is still associated with seeking support and to normalize the diverse experiences of mental suffering and wellness. As they interview each other, learn about their individual passions supporting their purpose.” - Jack M. JENNY: Introduce yourself a bit, tell us a little about who you are and what your position in the performance world is. KRISTEN: I’m an actress in NYC. I’ve been in Broadway shows, toured with shows and acted in theatres across the country. I’ve done some film and television. I love what I do, but it comes with its challenges. Challenges that have been wildly exacerbated since Covid came into the picture. I also paint. It has become a source of income for me when I am in-between acting jobs. I’ve also found it to be incredibly therapeutic. I am quite easily distracted, but when I paint I am able to focus in a way that helps quiet the noise. JENNY: What made you choose this particular painting of yours to accompany our interview? KRISTEN: This is a painting from one of the chapters in a book I’ve been working on with my sister- with you! Well, you wrote the book, which in turn inspired my paintings. The open arms symbolize embracing change. Welcoming the unknowns that come along with these inevitable twists and turns that surface throughout our lives. It symbolizes the difficulty of surrendering to not knowing, and how we cope through that discomfort. I felt like this painting spoke to that, which couldn’t be more relevant to what we are all experiencing right now throughout the course of this pandemic. JENNY: What frustrates you most about the intersection of this pandemic and the arts? KRISTEN: I think it’s the unknown of it all. Yeah, it’s definitely the unknown that frustrates me most. It’s an incredibly uncomfortable space to sit in. Not knowing if or when we will be able to work again in our chosen field. Broadway has been shut down since March 12th, and has no plans of reopening until possibly the spring of 2021. It’s pretty sad to see all of the lights of the marquees out for this undisclosed period of time. There are so many people who work in just one show, and there are so many shows, not just on Broadway, but across the country. JENNY: What are you seeing in your industry in terms of how people are coping and adjusting with Broadway’s shut down, loss of income, etc.? KRISTEN: Actors are incredibly resilient and resourceful. We have to be. We have to fight and compete for every single job we get. Most of those jobs have an end date, then we have to do it all over again. When we are between acting jobs, we have to find ways to survive. To pay the bills. Covid has created a new level of challenges for sure, but I have been watching our industry of artists doing what they do best; they are channeling their resilience. Artists are finding other ways to make money, whether it be through teaching virtual acting, singing or dance classes. Maybe tapping deeper into their artistry and exploring other areas they might excel in. Painting, crocheting, baking, writing... 13 AWARENOW / THE RETURN EDITION