Rashada Dawan

I remember coming home in the middle of a very emotionally exhausting day and heading straight for the bathroom. I was behind on my bills and mortgage. My then-three-year-old daughter was in daycare, and I had no clue how I was going to foot the bill for the months ahead. I had been auditioning for what seemed like anything that called me in, but got no bites. I even went as far as applying to take the Chicago Police Officer exam – since my father was a police officer, I figured that may be something I could explore.

Anyway (this may be TMI, but it’s a part of my story so…), I was in the bathroom on the toilet and on the phone with my friend sharing my life’s sorrows and confusions when the line beeped. All I saw was the area code “212.” As an actor, you NEVER ignore a “212” number. So, I clicked over and that was when I got the call that would change my life forever. I was informed that after standing in line as number 407, three callbacks and months of no bookings, I was asked to join the Las Vegas company of Disney’s The Lion King. I remember screaming to the top of my lungs and hopping off the toilet to grab anything I could to write down all of the details. And then I was told that this job came with an automatic Equity membership. I screamed again! No more waiting in long lines hoping some other poor sap missed their appointment so that I could be squeezed in. And needless to say, I didn’t go take the police exam either.

...and that’s how I got my Equity card.