ON THE WAY SERIES: A series of interviews with Non-Union, EMC and recently turned AEA actors working + living in New York City. Sit in on a conversation while we chat all about auditions, survival jobs, NYC + everything they have learned on the way to achieving their dreams.
Megan Peterson is a dancer, actress, singer based out of New York City. Megan graduated high school and poured herself into dancing + auditioning as much as possible. Soon after starting community college she was snatched up by the New York City Rockettes and given the amazing opportunity of touring with them! She is an incredibly sweet and giving performer and I got the chance to sit down her and get the inside scoop! Check it out.
Name: Megan Peterson
Profession: Dancer, Actor, Singer, Orange Theory Instructor
Current Location: New Jersey
Union Status: EMC
How did you get started in this crazy career?! Was there one particular memory that drew you to it?
I’ve been dancing for as long as I can remember; It wasn’t until my high school annual spring musical production though that made me really want to pursue on a professional career level.
How long have you been performing?
8 years professionally (whoa!)
How did you find your first NYC apartment?
I still live in NJ and wouldn't trade that as the commute is manageable. When I did sublet, it was through friends who were in need of roommates at those times.
What were a few things you didn't realize about NYC when you first started out?
That it’s expensive to do anything and EVERYTHING!!
If you could change one thing about the start of your career OR move to New York what would it be?
I would have completed some college in my dance major prior to diving into the professional work place. There are so many things I took away from the BFA Commercial Dance program at PACE that I wish I had with me when I started out.
I always say I wish I found my current fitness routine Orangetheory back in 2012 because I would have been in much better shape to do what is required in this business. Having the strength and stamina you get from an Orangetheory workout is key.
What do you do when you are not auditioning or performing? (Your survival job, if you will)
I’m a trainer at Orangetheory Fitness
Why did you choose that? What are the pros + cons to it/how does it work with your audition schedule?
I loved the workout immediately following discovering it. The reward with this is free classes and training at all of the studios nation wide. I am very grateful for that.
The pros are that it is a great, fast growing company with room to climb up the company latter. Staying in shape, great hours and pay don’t even begin to sing the rest of the pros.
The biggest con for me is it’s extremely vocally demanding. As singers we need to protect, reserve and save it as much as possible. Unfortunately, there’s just no way to reserve it during classes other than not screaming and not taking on more classes than your voice can handle.
Other than your survival job + following your dream do you have a side hustle or hobby to keep you sane??
@foodieoutloud on Instagram - where I end your struggle to find bangin' food everywhere and rate each restaurant on a yum scale!
Auditions can be hard, especially if you’re non-eq or EMC. How do you get past it and keep going!? What advice do you have for others?
I always prepare to not be seen (it’s an equity call for a reason.) That is what the team is primarily seeking. I really do respect the system that our union provides us with, and it is actually a luxury that EMC/non-union are welcome to standby and get seen if there is time.
I keep going because at the end of the day we are ALL the same position. We are all after the same job and have had similar experiences. I just say always prepare not to get seen, prepare as much as possible in case you are seen and never to not attend an ECC - especially if you are qualified for the project.
What's one thing you didn't know about auditioning in NYC that you with you would have known?
I didn’t know how flexible auditions can be. I didn’t know that, in the event that you have a legit conflict, the creative team can be very understanding and will let you get seen with the male dancers or attend a callback day rather than an initial call.
I was trained in high school by my teachers to make yourself available - no if, ands, or buts! If you want it bad enough, you will be there on time and available for the entire day! I wish those rules were a little more strict but I have been there where, I either had to go first in a group of singers or the only way I could audition was with the men - as long as the choreographer was ok with it.
What is the best life advice you’ve ever been given?!
“It’s a big world full of no...Think of yourself as a small business and do something for your business every single day.” Adam Cates
“It’s a big world full of no...Think of yourself as a small business and do something for your business every single day.” -Adam Cates
What has been your biggest on stage mishap??
I danced half of the famous Rockette bus routine with my arm caught in the inner lining of my coat so I had one full out no marking arm and another broken chicken wing looking flapping arm!
What advice would you give your 22 year old self!?
Save your money LOL
Do you have a favorite quote!?
What is the last Netflix series that inspired you from an acting/artistic standpoint!?
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel I know it’s Amazon but super inspiring!
What song/album are you listening to on repeat!?
Hump De Bump - Red Hot Chilli Peppers
Favorite Podcast is...
Why I’ll Never Make It
If you could have lunch with one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Do you have a favorite dance class in the city??
Debbie Roshe & Al Blackstone at STEPS