Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Oustalet.
Stephanie, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with my B.F.A. in Theater Performance a little less than a year ago. However, I started college as a Marketing B.A. at the University of Texas at Dallas. I was incredibly insecure about wanting to be an actor. Through my formative years in high school, I was tormented with a lot of stereotypes that actresses were meant to be exploited and impoverished. So, of course, I made the smart girl choice and went for a business degree.
During my freshman and sophomore year, I still showed up and auditioned for the UTD Theater program’s shows and found myself under the wing of Thomas Riccio and his eclectic clan of creators, the Dead White Zombies. My small-town high school theater reality was utterly shattered. I was way beyond my comfort zone at 18 and having the time of my life dabbling in the immersive Avant-garde. It was obvious to everyone around me that I was an artist, but I still felt obligated to keep my marketing degree.
My grandmother fell ill, who was a huge influence in my life. She had helped raise me. I have vivid memories of her teaching me how to tie my shoes and sitting with me after my tonsil surgery watching Full House. I am grateful that I got to hold her hand when she passed on from this world. My experience with loss shook me to my core. I wasn’t afraid of death anymore after seeing it. I was terrified of not living my life the way I had always dreamed of, I changed my major that week and I have been dedicated to pursuing the life of an artist ever since.
Later it became obvious to me that I wasn’t satisfied with the B. A. in Humanities that UTD offered me. I wanted a B.F.A. in Theater and it hit me like a divine message. So I transferred to the University of Texas at Arlington, auditioned for their B.F.A program, signed my lease to my apartment and moved to Arlington all in three days.
At UTA I got the well-rounded theater degree I had always wanted. I auditioned for their season every semester. If I wasn’t cast, my program was very supportive of me auditioning for other theater companies. So I did the audition, as much as I could. I didn’t want to wait until after graduation to begin creating my network. UTA also created opportunities for me to audition for the Stella Adler Studio in New York and I got to study and live there for a summer, which was a life-changing experience.
During my final semester at UTA, I got the opportunity to go and perform off-Broadway in New York. The majority of my professors were incredibly helpful. They did everything they could to help me get there and still graduate with honors. I passed all of my classes and on my graduation day I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge (I needed some type of symbolic catharsis) and I performed on stage in New York that night.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I think my biggest struggle I’ve been through since graduation was moving back from my brief stay in New York and facing reality. I have student loan debt, I live with my family, and I know I have the daunting responsibility of paying my dues as a young artist for the next few years until I am established and recognized. I was fully in charge of my life and it was all about how I decided to carve my time.
Now that I’m not in school, I am auditioning constantly, which means I am also rejected constantly. Making time for my mental health and trying not to take rejection personally is something I struggle with and I am sure many other artists do as well.
Despite all of the pressure I put on myself, I am incredibly grateful for where I am and all of the people who have helped me get here.
I strive to not live in my failures (and successes) for very long. I always spit them out and quickly hunger for the next thing. Nothing ever feels like it’s enough. Sometimes I think that’s the thing that’s keeping me going.
Please tell us about your work.
I am a stage actor, a film actor, a film director and a published freelance model. I am proud and grateful for my diversity and my ability to pick up multiple crafts and have some form of success in them.
I began Instagram modeling as another artistic outlet. Modeling doesn’t require as much of a long term commitment to a project as theater and film do. After multiple shots, I mastered the breathing techniques, tension techniques, posing, etc. Many of these techniques related to acting. I was fascinated that I could use my body as an instrument to tell a story in more than one way. I have since been published by Salyse magazine and Elegant Magazine. I have also been featured on all of Mehron Makeup Inc.’s social media accounts for my modeling work.
The opportunities to write and direct film were gifts given to me by my friends and peers. It’s not something I thought I would ever find myself doing, but that I was challenged to do. Having the ability to collaborate with so many different artists and the fact that I put these projects together still overwhelms me.
Both of my films “Hey” and “Wallpaint” are in post right now.
“Hey” is a non-dialogue micro-short, scored by Tori Corbo that depicts a sudden romance. My film “Wallpaint” is an intense drama that explores two women and the after-effects of a shared trauma that they’ve experienced.
I hope to premiere both in late 2019 or early 2020.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
That’s pretty hard to pinpoint! One of my favorite parts of 2019 was playing the role of Viola De Lesseps in Shakespeare Dallas’s presentation of “Shakespeare in Love”. I learned so much from that ensemble of actors. My heart swells every time I think of my experience with them.
- Website: www.stephanieoustalet.com
Jordan Fraker, Sierra Clark, Bailey Villareal, Elizabeth Cortes, Prithvi Raj