Updated: Aug 17, 2020
Nare Israelyan (@nareisraelyan) is our Creative of the Month. She's an actress and has a hustle that is admirable. She knows what she wants in life and we have no doubt she's going to accomplish those goals. Check out her story on our website, link in bio.
Where were you born and raised?
I was born and raised in Los Angeles. The few, the proud, the ones crazy enough to stay here.
What was your childhood like?
I grew up in an Armenian family. My entire life has been one little rebellious streak after another. I played a lot of sports growing up, I was a huge tomboy. My parents didn’t like that. They wanted a ballerina, they got a basketball player, and that’s when the disappointment started.
Did you realize you were interested in acting at a young age?
Isn’t it like every kid that looks in the bathroom mirror and gives their acceptance speech for an Oscar? I feel like every kid does that! I never had a specific moment. I didn’t do theatre or anything like that. I took an acting class at 13 and after an 8 week course I was told it wasn't realistic and that was kind of the end of it.
I grew up Armenian in the 90s and I never really saw anyone on TV who looked like me, everyone looked like Lizzie McGuire. When you see every American and think “I don’t look fully white”, it feels like it’s not even a possibility you can consider. I didn’t really start acting until I was 23 years old.
Today as an adult, I like the fact that I don’t look one hundred percent one race. I want someone to see me on TV and see part of that in them and think it’s a possibility. When Gal Gadot blew up as Wonder Woman, I was like holy shit this is a real thing. Until then I didn’t really think it was possible just because of the environment I grew up in.
You went to UCLA for business school, how long were you doing that?
I went to UCLA undergrad as a business ecomm major and I decided I was going to be a management consultant and make a lot of money out of school. So I’ve interned kind of everywhere. A start up my freshman year, Morgan Stanley, Victoria Secret for 2 years at their headquarters. I worked at Siegel and Gale, a global branding firm for a year. I worked for the NFL as their consumer products intern in New York City, that still has my heart.
My senior year I got what I set out to do four years ago, I got a job at the Boston Consulting Group. I got my offer. I basically got my dream job at a firm I didn’t even think I was going to get an interview at. I was 22 years old, a shithead, making six figures. I was flying first class staying in hotel suites, and telling CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies how to run their business better. I was working 80 hours a week, 8am to 2am. I was working lunches and dinners. I was on a computer, this is before I learned I was extraverted. I took a test, I’m 90% extraverted.
At what point did you realize that the job wasn’t for you?
Oh I remember! It was February, I was in Portland Oregon working. It was 2am, it was a record year for cold and rain for Portland, I was still lining up boxes on this powerpoint presentation for this board meeting in the morning. The client was holding out on selling follow on work, so we kept delivering more to show our value. A moment clicked for me and I thought hold on, the harder I work the richer the partner gets. The harder we work, the richer the partner gets. You know, I’m pretty good at math and that just doesn’t add up to me. That moment, the bug got planted in my head. I was miserable, I forgot who I was.
What happened after you left that job? What was your next move?
It took me from that moment an entire year to leave. I worked for a music start up for two weeks and decided I didn’t like that. Explored some different things, I did random shit. I started a real estate financing company where I was looking to finance residential real estate in a new type of way. One of my consulting friends told me I should take an improv class.
I took the improv class and two weeks in I forgot how much I liked being on stage. At this point, I was looking at life with a new set of eyes. I was open to exploring which I never was before. I decided to take an acting class. I took my first acting class on my birthday. Two weeks in, I was like my name is on this thing, holy shit. I was going back and forth between my start up and this. My name was on it, it’s something I wanted to be proud of.
It only took a month of taking my acting class to close my startup. I had to give my heart and soul to one or the other because if I split it, I was not going to succeed at either. I just firmly believe that. My gut said to go with acting, it was an easy decision. I went straight into acting classes and have been training like a mad woman for three years now.
What was the process with finding an agency or getting represented?
My commercial agency wasn’t that difficult because I’m in a category where I’m ethically ambiguous, I played five sports in high school, and I’ve been training for awhile. I held off on finding a theatrical agent because I heard at the beginning you want to wait until you’re really good. I've been working with a manager, but haven't officially signed with her because of Covid. She's awesome though, I really like her.
What keeps you motivated?
The one thing that keeps me centered and always going back is the work. I feel like there have been times I was lost and not sure. I’ll lose my routine. I’ll then get an audition and I’ll break down the scene. The simple act of doing it. It’s just craft. I don’t know how to describe it. I just love acting so much. If you love something and fighting for a greater purpose, I think that makes it all worth it.
What is your favorite quote?
We’re gonna have to go with my high school senior quote on this one, “Sometimes you just gotta say what the fuck and do it.” - Risky Business
If you could give advice to your younger self what would it be?
Everything that you’re afraid makes you different and unlovable and the things that you want to hide are the things that you need to shine. Those are the things that people will love the most about you. Your differences are actually the things that will get you ahead in life versus suppress them to fit in. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, blending in makes you average. Standing out makes you extraordinary simply by default because you are different than the average.