By Susannah Hutcheson, Regular ContributorOctober 17, 2015
In the busy, social media-powered, plastic, bleached, and waxed Hollywood world, E! News reporter Lindsey Caldwell has broken through the fray and come out on top. Today, she shares with us how she has kept her head on tight, followed her dreams, and retained her integrity and compassion in a society that wants her to fail.
I’ve read your blog If You Can Dream It, Do It (ifyoucandreamitdoit.com), and so I know you took a big leap coming to California. Can you tell us a little about that?
I grew up in a big Aggie family, and I always thought I would go to Texas A&M. The entire time I was growing up I went to the games, wore A&M cheerleader outfits, and just knew that’s where I was going to school. I didn’t even really consider another option.
I ended up having some health issues, where a spot on my brain showed up on a MRI- and then disappeared. It shook me up, and I really realized that life was painfully short. From the time I was two years old, I had always wanted to act. My room was decorated like the Hollywood Hills, the whole nine yards. I realized there was something more out there for me, and I needed to expand my horizons.
Since I had grown up knowing I was going to go to A&M, I had never thought about applying anywhere else. I learned about USC and decided to go for it. However, USC didn’t tell you that you’re accepted until April, so I put a housing deposit and got a roommate at A&M. Whenever I got my letter from USC saying I was accepted, my life took a u-turn, and I’m so glad it did.
However, it sounds like such a fairytale- but it really wasn’t. There were so many times I would see pictures of my friends living this life I felt like I wasn’t getting to live. I even applied to transfer to A&M at one point.
It’s such a Catch-22 to follow your dreams- but you have to do what you feel in your heart. I’m so glad I stayed.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned by taking a chance?
It pays to be fearless. I could never imagine the opportunities that unfolded when I took a leap of faith and went to USC. Taking that leap taught me how to take other leaps- I moved to LA without knowing anyone, and then I moved to New York without knowing anyone. I don’t think I would have done that otherwise. Fearlessness pays dividends.
If you feel something deep inside your heart and soul, do it. Follow it.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced while living out your dreams?
One of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with while being so far away from home is that there was a life I always thought I would live. Then, my plans changed in an incredible way, and I’m living out this big dream. However, it doesn’t meet the expectation I had for myself in a lot of ways. There are so many things I thought I would have by now, and I don’t- but I have so much more.
I also really have to try not to compare myself to the lives I scroll past on Facebook and Instagram- and not live in this tornado of comparison. Nothing is ever what it looks like in pictures.
Do you ever have one of those days where you want to throw in the towel? How do you get past it?
I have had a lot of those days where I just want to throw in the towel. I’m not really sure that ever really goes away. L.A.’s rent is really expensive, and sometimes that is very challenging. It’s sometimes very hard to be so far away from my family. There are days when I’ve told myself that real estate is more stable than entertainment journalism- but that’s not what I want to do.
I’ve done a few interviews before with successful actors who have actually told me that they were a day before quitting when they got the biggest roles of their lives. Life is short and there was a reason I was called to this. It all goes back to what beats your drum- even if it doesn’t necessarily beat the person’s next to you.
Have you felt pressures to look a certain way or act a certain way in Hollywood? How have you kept your feet on the ground?
I’ve definitely felt pressure down here. In LA, the general idea is that if you don’t like your nose, someone can fix it for you. You can go to the doctor down the street, and then they can put you on a payment plan. It’s not even beauty- it’s this unachievable art of plastic surgery.
I’ve come to realize that the most beautiful people I know aren’t beautiful because of what they look like or the way their hair is styled. They’re beautiful because of who they are.
The girl that’s the most comfortable in her own skin is the most beautiful. You have to realize the lens that is in front of a lot of people- like plastic surgery. You just have to know who you are and who you want to be. I don’t want to be beautiful for my looks- but for the person I am.
What is the most important advice you can give someone who wants to start on the path to following their own dreams?
You’ve got to have an insane amount of hustle. I feel like this is overlooked a lot of the time, because we paint it as so picturesque- when in reality, you have to work. Whatever small opportunity you have- take it and run with it. This was a huge lesson with me.
Spend time by yourself. Turn off your phone. The world is so noisy. Just go into nature, clear your head, and focus on where you’re going next. I am a faithful person, so I pray. When you’re alone, it’s so much easier to hear where you’re supposed to head to next. Family and friends are so important and helpful, but when it comes down to the nitty-gritty and what you’re going to do: that comes from YOU.
Always be prepared.
*Interview by Susannah Hutcheson
Susannah is a Journalism major, passionate about social justice and Jesus Christ. She loves cold weather, triple-shot lattes, and macaroni and cheese. When she’s not writing papers or baking cookies, you can find her Googling random things on the Internet or watching large amounts of reality television. You can read her ramblings at ileftamessinthekitchen.wordpress.com, or look at pictures of her coffee on Instagram: @susannah.beth.
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