Success Stories: Shaenia Ayeni

Shaenia Ayeni: Cast It Talent Online Showcase Winner – Feb. 2015

So much of this business is learning to deal with rejection. Managing your own, watching as your friends get rejected, even listening to endless stories of actors who gave up or “didn’t make it.”  It can seem endless and all-consuming. And then sometimes, a story comes along that rekindles that hopeful spark, and makes you remember “I can do this, too.”  I am super pleased to announce that this is one of those stories.

Born in Lagos, Shaenia Ayeni nursed her lifelong ambition to act all the way from Nigeria to her current home in Lawrenceville, Georgia. After graduating from the New York Conservatory of Dramatic Arts in the summer of 2014, she got to work on her professional career. In her research, she discovered Cast It Talent, and submitted to one of the showcases. I got to speak with her about the process. “Cast It was really the first place I went to for online auditioning,” she began.

She’s been using the site for about two years. For this particular showcase, Shaenia chose a monologue (scenes or reels are also optional materials), and made it through the winnowing process to the final 10 contestants. Her work now gets exposure to agents and casting directors.

As anyone just starting out or working in regional theatre well knows, sometimes it can feel like the whole world of acting boils down to New York or LA. Like if you’re not there you don’t matter. But Shaenia found a way to get her work out there, get seen, and get opportunities.

This isn’t your parents’ game anymore. That’s the advantage of our tech savvy world. Shaenia called the Cast It’s system “a really convenient way of auditioning,” and it is that very convenience that levels the playing field. We can all find ways to take charge of our own careers, no matter where we live, how much we’ve worked, whether we have agents or not. We just have to remember, we can do it too.

Shaenia is currently gearing up for the next Showcase, and working on a short film. Best of luck to her and to all of you.

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Rachel Rachel Frawley is an actor living in Atlanta. She holds a B.F.A. in Theatre from Michigan State University (with cognates in Music and Professional Writing) and is an Apprentice Company graduate from the Atlanta Shakespeare Co. She also works as an education artist for local theatres, which have included the Shakespeare Tavern and Aurora Theatre. For more information, visit her website at www.rachelfrawley.com