It's a Health Party!
Cast members from Mean Girls Broadway talk health, wellness, and working on their craft during the pandemic.
Let me state the obvious: we are in the middle of a pandemic. Most of us performers are out of work and spending a majority of our time at home. Personally I've been trying to fill my time with home workouts, practicing and building my audition book, and simply praying for the day that Broadway returns.
With a crazy virus going around, I can't help but feel that l need to prioritize my health, and this notion got me feeling curious about how other professional performers are handling their own health and wellness during this time. So I asked!
I caught up with members of the Broadway cast of Mean Girls--Devon Hadsell (Caitlyn Caussin, understudy Gretchen/Karen/Adult Woman), Cailen Fu (Standby Regina/Gretchen), and Aaron Alcaraz (Swing, understudy Kevin G)--to find out just how they have been staying healthy during this pandemic.
What has been your favorite way to stay active (if at all) during the pandemic?
DEVON: "My favorite ways to stay active have been hiking with my boyfriend, Pilates, and teaching Mean Girls Dance classes on Zoom!"
AARON: "Yoga has been my main form of exercise/activity since quarantine started! It’s something I’d always wanted to get in to but never got around to it. After the Broadway shutdown happened, I was quarantined in my NYC apartment. I barely went outside and I didn’t have much space for anything else so I finally started doing yoga almost every day. It’s been great!"
CAILEN: "Yoga! I’ve been trying to commit more to my yoga practice."
What are you doing to stay healthy (immunity, nutrition, etc.)?
DEVON: "To stay healthy, I’ve been cooking almost every night and not keeping sweets in my apartment!"
AARON: "I’ve always done my best to have a healthy diet so that’s continued in the pandemic (even though there are days when I just want to lay around and eat comfort food all day). Yoga has been my main form of exercise and way to stay somewhat fit. I’ve recently moved back to Los Angeles so I’ve been able to start running and playing tennis every now and then as well."
CAILEN: "I take vitamin C every day and since college I’ve taken oil of oregano any time I’ve started to feel under the weather. Not sure if Oregano can fight against COVID, but it definitely kicks a cold’s butt! Since I have so much time on my hands, I try to take the time to plan out my meals for the week! I find if I plan out my meals, specifically dinners, I tend to eat a lot healthier. If I have to throw something together, it’s a little harder to be as mindful."
How are you staying motivated when it comes to physical fitness and/or training for your art during these difficult times?
DEVON: "Staying motivated has been hard, but remembering how great I always feel after practicing my voice lesson or doing a workout and sweating helps a lot."
AARON: "It hasn’t been easy. I try not to force myself to do anything or feel too pressured to get things done because I don’t think that’s the healthiest mental state to live in right now. I just do my best to follow whatever I feel inspired to do at the moment: doing yoga, going for a run, singing through some songs, journaling, reading, taking an online acting class, etc. I take it day by day, week by week. I think everything we do all adds together to be inspiration for our art so I give myself credit whenever I can say that I at least did SOMETHING that day. Every little bit counts, and the most important thing for me is to keep finding ways to continue to grow and do what I’m passionate about so that whenever our industry comes back again I’ll feel even better prepared to be a part of it."
CAILEN: "I try to not pressure myself to stay motivated every single day. I think artists are prone to pushing ourselves because of how competitive and personal our field is. I’ve learned over time that I don’t do well if I push myself too hard physically or mentally because that puts me in the mentality of “well if I don’t do this ONE thing, I must not be good enough”. I work very hard to stay on top of my craft and keep learning but I’ve been working on forgiving myself a little bit more. Being kind to myself is very important when it comes to how motivated I can be."
If you could give one piece of advice for conquering life during this pandemic and coming out strong on the other side, what would that be?
DEVON: "My advice during the pandemic is to use this time to be creative! What new projects have you always wanted to work on? What new skills have you always wanted to acquire? Also, take this time to rest, too! Rarely does life ever hit the pause button like this so take advantage of it!"
AARON: "I’d say that my biggest advice would be to keep finding the joy in every day. Our lives have become very simple and routine these past few months, and I know it’s been easy for me to get into emotional and mental slumps. I get worried that I’m somehow wasting time or that I’m not doing enough--that there’s so much more I could be doing to improve my life or be productive. LOL. There’s nothing any of us HAVE to do right now. There’s no right way to get through this time. So instead of putting pressure on yourself, do what makes you happy! And if you don’t know what that is, maybe now’s the time to figure that out too."
CAILEN: "Again, [my advice] would be to be kind to yourself and others. Don’t take this 'pause' in your life and career for granted. So much of what we do as artists is HUSTLE. Both physically and mentally. We are all struggling and no one is alone in the loneliness, depression, fear. So, in true High School Musical fashion, we are all in this together!"
So there you have it! Thoughts, ideas, and advice about health and wellness from some amazing Broadway pros! I definitely needed to hear their words, and I know you'll find what they had to say valuable as well. Be sure to follow @DevonHadsell, @CailenFu, and @Aaronreads on Instagram for more Broadway, light, and inspiration from these all-stars.
Now go forth, be healthy, and break a leg!