Tag archive: career


Quitters Never Win – Or Do They?

Not long ago, I found myself face to face with a terrifying dilemma. I had been running as hard and as fast as I could to avoid accepting reality and I had run out of road. There was nothing in front of me except a tall cliff and turbulent waters below. Behind me was a monster of my own making, barrelling down on me like a freight train. I furtively glanced over my shoulder and with no more evasive maneuvers available, I naturally made the only choice an action hero could make – – I hurtled myself over the edge, plummeting through the air with arms flailing wildly, and plunged into the icy waters below.

OK, quitting my day job may not have been as dramatic as all that and perhaps it doesn’t qualify as an Indiana Jones worthy, life-and-death-hanging-in-the-balance, kind of adventure, but it has certainly been filled with thrills, pitfalls, obstacles, and ultimately – redemption. Giving up a regular income and the predictable way of life my husband and I had become accustomed to was a gargantuan risk, no doubt, and it was also the most exhilarating stunt I’ve pulled off in a long time. It was exactly what was required in this instance to restore balance to my life . . . and I should have done it years ago.

Come on, admit it, you know there have been times when a sweeping overhaul of your life was long overdue. But have you done anything about it, or have you simply allowed yourself to languish for years with no end in sight to the daily drudgery? Even when we recognize the need to adjust our sails and set a new course, how do we get up the gumption to break the monotony and implement a plan of action? Ideally, we would objectively plan for the future and play the waiting game ever so skillfully until it’s the perfect time to strike. But more often than not we suffer stoically through our miserable circumstances, hopelessly mired in self-doubt, guilt, and apathy. We become hostages to fear of the unknown, sabotaged by the what ifs.

The thought of turning in my resignation and all that it entailed paralyzed me with fear but the thought of staying put left me feeling hopelessly dejected. As established by my long-suffering passivity, clearly, I wasn’t willing to make a major life change while enveloped in a safe (albeit stagnant) environment, so what was I to do? Waiting for the monstrous flood waters to inevitably envelop me was far less palatable than diving in with grit and abandon on my own terms. Could it be that that No Plan was cleverly disguised as a GREAT PLAN?

Now and again you just have to embody the spirit of adventure à la Indiana Jones:

With much trepidation and a vise-like knot clenching at my guts,
I closed my eyes and leapt . . . Off the quitter’s cliff I flew!

The initial impact of the cold water was shocking, but as my stunned body struggled to overcome the jolt, self-preservation seized me and I defiantly swam upward. Gasping for air as my head broke the surface, I felt the warm sun on my face and my spirit soared. I didn’t die!! Filled with the exhilaration of survival, I realized that jumping to what seemed like certain death was, in reality, my very salvation.

Leaving an unfulfilling job behind, I was suddenly freed from chains I was only marginally aware I’d been sporting. At long last, I had found the time to reassess my goals, take inventory of my skills, get reacquainted with my inner voice, and restore a modicum of peace to my soul. As I navigate the Between Employment River with steady, deliberate strokes I’ve been using the time constructively so that when I’m ready to step back on dry land, I can re-engage the work world with a renewed passion and healthy mindset. Paddling along day by day, I’ve gained an enormous amount of clarity and discovered that I can swim farther, and my lungs can hold more air than I ever thought possible. It’s been a positive, reality-checking, time of self-discovery!

By reconnecting with former co-workers and good friends I’ve been reminded that I add value to the world and that once upon a time I used to enjoy contributing my unique talents to the workplace. In reviewing my resume and digging deep into my past job experiences I have been able to identify what my talents are and where my interests lie. Utilizing resources like LinkedIn, recruiter websites, and other online tools has proven invaluable in successfully navigating the modern, murky waters of digital-age employment seeking. And just allowing myself time to decompress and recover from years of apathy has given me a fresh perspective on life in general.

Make no mistake, I fully understand that life is filled with good days and bad days. No job is going to fulfill all my needs, no workplace is perfect, and no amount of leaping off cliff after cliff will solve all my problems. But taking stock in who I am, where I’ve come from, and where I want to go, is a valuable exercise which my self-imposed break has afforded me. I may be middle-aged, but I’ve got my whole life ahead of me!

While you may not be ready to pull a full-on Butch and Sundance like I did, you ought to at least consider where your areas of stagnation lie. A well thought-out plan is awesome if you can execute it, but sometimes testing your mettle is worth the heart-pounding dive! Drumming up the courage to jump is the most difficult part and adversity is surely promised, but it’s in surviving that reveals what you’re made of and determines your future character! How will you ever attain those dreams if you aren’t venturesome enough to take a risk, knowing that sustaining a few bruises is part of the badge of honor you’ll wear proudly when you succeed? If you’re willing to embrace the unknown, humble enough to accept assistance, and resolute in pressing on to wherever the current takes you, you’ll withstand the fall and rise up with purpose.

Sometimes calling it quits is the winning move!


Who, Not What

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Now there’s a question guaranteed to stop me dead in my tracks – E V E R Y T I M E. I marvel at folks who have always been able to answer that question with certainty. Me? I’ve always wondered why a response required that I must choose just one occupation – why can’t I be everything that appeals to me – an astronaut, a ballerina, a rodeo rider, an artist, a waitress, a rockstar, or a Hollywood stuntman? Why must I be pigeonholed into a single defining vocation before I’d even had my first kindergarten nap? With endless opportunities before me, answering that question seemed impossible as a child and now that I’m an adult, I have no more clarity than I ever have.

Perhaps the better question is, “WHO do you want to be when you grow up?”.  Now THAT is an approach which requires introspection and allows us to ponder a CHARACTER path instead of a CAREER path. And let’s be honest – aren’t we all more interested in surrounding ourselves with people of good character rather than simply hiring or befriending a mere body possessing a detached set of skills? We all know that the person of quality character is always the better choice to employ or otherwise engage with.

In my life, I’ve been many things – a rodeo rider (yes for real!), an actress, a farm girl, a bench jeweler, a mother, a widow, and so much more in addition to my varied job titles. I’ve stepped in more manure figuratively and quite literally than I can count. I’ve fallen, dusted myself off, and gotten back up with determination and grit befitting a prize fighter. I’ve kissed away pain and consoled broken hearts. My own heart has nearly burst with pride while I’ve been quietly content to give wings to others so they may soar to their highest heights. I’ve counted it joy to collaborate with a team to make a collective dream come true. But I’m not defined by any single one of those things or attributes or positions. My character so far is the result of the melding of all my experiences and choices.

And I’m far from being a finished product. I’m still exploring the possibilities of who I might become. I look forward to adding to my skill-set and achievements throughout my life so that when I’m done here, I can say I had become the “who” of my dreams rather than the “what” of my dreams.

Being the proverbial Jack of All Trades, I’ve picked up a few traits which transcend any job description, and which are translatable to any position. Some of these qualities which I embody, value, and may be of interest to potential employers are (in no particular order):  

  • Thrives in a virtual/remote environment
  • Coordinates projects, sets priorities, and meets deadlines with minimal direction
  • Uses initiative and independent judgment within established policy & procedural guidelines
  • Resourceful, reliable & manages time effectively
  • Completes tasks with accuracy and efficiency using task reminder tools
  • Designs creative ways to refine and improve processes to enhance workflow
  • Swift learner with outstanding problem-solving skills
  • Adept at compiling and analyzing data utilizing various databases, spreadsheets, sources, and tools
  • Strong attention to detail and outstanding organizational skills
  • Well-versed in standard office administrative practices and procedures
  • Communicates effectively with co-workers, subordinates, superiors, and the public
  • Maintains strictest confidentiality with honesty and integrity
  • Listens with empathy to overcome objections and resolve conflicts
  • Flexible and adaptable to new/changing environments

So, if you asked me WHO I want to be, instead of WHAT I want to be, I’d tell you this:

I want to be the BEST version of me I can possibly be. I want to be a team player who makes valuable contributions to a worthy goal. I want to be known for being kind, generous, caring, funny, creative, meticulous, responsive, and thorough. I want YOU to be a better person for having known me.

And I want to be valued.

Who do YOU want to be when you grow up?

Colleen Ann Guest

Dancing In Manure Made Me a Better Actor

The Complete Bio
(in third person as you would expect)

Colleen Ann Guest’s performance roots can be traced to the barnyard of her family’s farm in upstate, NY – the barn floor being her first stage and the majestic hills her backdrop. It was a rustic venue with little amenities but the house was always packed and she could name her dates. Her audience was kept thoroughly entertained by rambling monologues and songs sung without regard for conventional styling; however, interpretive dance was foregone due to the sometimes slippery nature of the dance floor. Hardly able to contain their exuberance, the attendees cheered her on with their doe-eyed droopy-headed silence, an occasional tail swish or lazy flick of an ear; and for those moments of undeniable greatness, a resounding grunt or sigh – – the height of critical acclaim!

Fast forward through adulthood. She grew up, got married, had children, and lived an extraordinary life punctuated by joys and tragedies before finally leaping back into the world of make-believe. Having an arsenal of life experiences to draw upon (and the recollections of happily amused farm animals to encourage her) she sought training and pursued her lifelong passion.

The stage held a certain allure for Colleen but, oh there was magic to be made in the movies. Relishing one of her first film roles as a slasher victim in a student horror film, she (and the audience) was shocked to discover during the screening that – – apparently – – Colleen couldn’t hold her breath very well while playing dead. The film’s dramatic climax ended with shouts of, “She be breathing,” and gales of laughter echoing throughout the theater as she and her husband slunk out desperately hoping not to be recognized. (Directors take note: Colleen has since gained a ninja-like control over her involuntary bodily functions.)

Catapulted forward by these and other adventures, her acting resume began to take shape. She knew she’d “arrived” when she had to either reduce the font size or drop some credits to make the resume fit on the back of an 8 x 10 headshot – a milestone every actor dreams of! So, now, without further ado (cue the overture and hit the lights), let’s take a gander at some of her more illustrious career highlights….

Colleen Ann Guest made her theater debut in 2000 playing Claudia Grubner in Raleigh Little Theatre’s John Lennon and Me, a poignant play about the fragility of life – – a subject close to her heart. She has since performed on numerous stages and is a two-time Cary Players’ Pietzsch Award nominee for Outstanding and Supporting Actress for her portrayals of Lousia Bodek in Don’t Pick Up from Love Bits and Bites, and Lily Belle Savage in The Curious Savage.

Making considerable progress in the celluloid (ok, digital) realm, her IMDb credits continue to accumulate.  Colleen’s on-screen appearances include the nationally distributed Pray series by Cross Shadow Productions in addition to being cast in several feature-length films, shorts, and internet webisodes; some by award winning filmmakers, like Rob Underhill and Aravind Ragupathi.

Colleen has also become a popular actress of choice for corporate clients; representing prominent organizations like United Therapeutics, TSA, Lowe’s Home Improvement, and Church Initiative. She has been featured in dozens of commercials, industrials, promotional videos, voice-overs, and print media.

She genuinely cares about her craft and has studied earnestly with some brilliant mentors. Among them are Writer’s Guild member Ellen Shepard and Casting Society of America member Jordan Beswick. Ever the opportunistic student, Colleen also stashes away mental notes of people’s habits and mannerisms for future character development. So beware – – you have been warned!

Someone has to wrangle all that talent and Colleen is most fortunate and grateful to be professionally represented by Talent One. She and her adoring husband Neel currently reside in North Carolina along with their charming (and frequently obnoxious) kitties and Miss Gracie Mae – the most delightful 3-legged dog to EVER walk (hop) the earth.

Colleen Ann Guest on Elvira


Fashion a Better World

“…and Kirchstein’s final look, a fiery dress, was a showstopper.”

WHAT WHAT? HOLY COW!!! The reviewer was talking about the dress I was modeling!! Whoo hoo – I wore a showstopper!!  Let me tell you, hitting the catwalk to sounds of cheers and cameras flashing is a pretty heady feeling and but to see the accolades in print is out of this world. Not bad for an old lady who JUST started this modeling thing! OK, not old, but middle aged.  Just goes to prove that you’re never too old to try something new! I’m so excited to be part of a world that traditionally doesn’t recognize women if they aren’t 17 years old,  skyscraper height and rail thin. I do believe that there’s room for REAL women in the modeling world after all and I’m living proof!!

Last weekend I was so very blessed to be asked to walk a runway show for the “Fashion a Better World” event at Top of the Hill Distillery in Chapel Hill, NC.  It featured women entrepreneurs in North Carolina focused on sustainable fashion whose aim is to encourage artistic minds to bloom where they are planted, creating an ecosystem of creativity within North Carolina.  Brooks Bell, entrepreneur and champion of women-led businesses, was the keynote speaker. They also featured a surprise celebrity guest which you can read about here. The event was sponsored by UNC as part of Global Entrepreneurship week, along with Triangle organizations, to give designers a platform to talk about the significance of their work and promote the growth of the fashion industry in NC.

I modeled for the fabulous Kim Kirchstein of Leopold Designs who is not only an amazing artist but she is one of the sweetest, most down to earth people I’ve had the pleasure of working with.  I’m proud to call her my friend! Check out the UNREAL dress I got to wear. It’s actually  108″ x 45″ of hand-batik silk, with wet-into-wet dye and brushed-on wax strokes which create the soft textures in this design. Kim tied it around me in what she called “the pantsuit” tie. The feeling of silk enveloping my body was heavenly and then to wear it down the runway was just icing on the cake! Read this awesome review from Scope Magazine and the wonderful blog from Pretty Little Snipets to find out more more about all the brilliant designers and how incredible the night was. BRAVO to everyone and a special thanks to Symbology for hosting the event!

Colleen Ann Guest wearing a Leopold Design by Kim Kirchstein for Fashion a Better World Colleen Ann Guest wearing a Leopold Design by Kim Kirchstein for Fashion a Better World

Colleen Ann Guest wearing a Leopold Design by Kim Kirchstein for Fashion a Better World Colleen Ann Guest wearing a Leopold Design by Kim Kirchstein for Fashion a Better World

On the Runway - Colleen Ann Guest wearing a Leopold Design by Kim Kirchstein for Fashion a Better World. Photo by Josh Kongmany On the Runway – Colleen Ann Guest wearing a Leopold Design by Kim Kirchstein for Fashion a Better World. Photo by Josh Kongmany

Front - Colleen Ann Guest wearing a Leopold Design by Kim Kirchstein for Fashion a Better World photo by Josh Kornegay On the Runway with Kim – Colleen Ann Guest wearing a Leopold Design by Kim Kirchstein for Fashion a Better World photo by Josh Kornegay


Parlay – cast announcement

Olivia dreams of becoming a pirate but her Aunt Beatrice is determined to turn her into a proper young socialite. Can these two co-exist throughout the summer while her parents are away?

Colleen Ann Guest is super excited to be playing the part of Fanny Boyle in the upcoming family comedy Parlay by Deano Pictures!! It’s written and directed by Dean Garris, produced by Dean Garris and  Spann Brockmann, and stars Helen Kearney Konen, Tate Clemons, Owen Daly, Rebecca Morris, Nick Karner, Linda Guth, Colleen Ann Guest,  and Leah Caruana.

Click here to visit and LIKE the Parlay Facebook page!





The Watch – cast announcement

Colleen Ann Guest is pleased to be joining the cast of The Watch, a SAG Signatory Short film written and directed by Roger Franks of Nilescat Studios, produced by Michael Devereaux of Lagniappe Motion Pictures, and starring Tucker Smallwood, Adrian Thomas, Lisa Sain Odom, W. Scott Parker lll, Jody Vines,  and Jeff Briggs.
Nathan Bishop, an ambitious and successful lawyer, faces a life changing moment that brings about a chance meeting with Mason Hughes, a man with a rich history, having had the opportunity to be a part of the Civil Rights Movement in this country. Mason sees the good in all and believes it’s never too late to make a difference. Nathan soon realizes that his life has greater meaning but has he waited too late to find what that meaning is?

The Watch will be shot entirely in Raleigh, North Carolina in 2012.

 Visit and LIKE The Watch on Facebook!



The Difference, An Open Letter to a Client

It may seem like a peculiar way of going about it, but through modeling, I believe I can change people’s preconceived notions about beauty and value . . . and I can make a difference in this world. A difference to you (the client), the world around us, and in my own life – – because the why of modeling (as well as the how) is something I comprehend. Let me explain.

Years ago I spent some time as a retail display designer for a national clothing chain. I learned there’s a direct correlation between an artfully crafted display and the resulting sales – – but just because I had created a killer display didn’t mean it translated to killer profits. I had to be flexible and objective; willing to concede when my creation wasn’t all that, and then quickly move on and create something better – – something that sells; not just something pretty. Modeling is similar in that a model has to be prepared to go the extra mile to find sensational poses which stretch the imagination and yet she must trust the photographer’s (and/or client’s) direction and make adjustments on the spot in order to best express their vision.

It occurs to me, to be effective in this industry, a model doesn’t really have to be a particular age or size or shape (regardless of what the media tells us); she needs to understand the intention of why she’s modeling in the first place. It’s never about her – – it’s about the client’s creation and how she best enhances it. She needs to be exude confidence and radiate energy; doing her very best to share space in harmony with the product so that her presence is a compliment to the piece rather than the focal point of the shot.

Ultimately, the purpose of modeling is to entice buyers to open their pocketbooks and not just marvel at an artistic expression. When acting, I can use words and action to help me effectively portray a character and convey a story. I have come to greatly appreciate the higher level of focus required to do the same thing without those luxuries when I’m modeling. In posing with and showcasing a product, a model has to create a lasting impression that will capture people’s attention and inspire them to actually make a purchase – – with only a single frame to get the job done!

What’s more, it’s advantageous when the model believes in what she’s selling. My years in retail taught me that I can sell way more merchandise when the product is something I believe in than when I don’t care for it. Selling then becomes more about sharing one’s passion for an amazing product rather than simply trying to unload it. My personal preference is for consumer goods that are sustainable / green / recycled / used / vintage, etc. and I make a point to broadcast that as much as possible. Wearing and being photographed in those kinds of garments and accessories lend that much more credibility to my personal position as I proudly share links to photos on my website and social media pages.

So, yes; I’d like an opportunity to model for you because I believe I can make a difference. A difference in how your work is represented; giving a new perspective to the process and expanding your audience along the way. A difference in the lives of those around us; encouraging people to challenge their perceptions of beauty and to make a positive impact on the environment. And a difference in my own life; allowing me to grow as a person and as an artist through exposure to new people, products, and experiences.

Thank you for your consideration!


Interstellar Odyssey – cast announcement

Colleen Ann Guest is pleased to announce she has been cast as DR. OLIVIA HARRIS, PhD  in the upcoming feature web series, INTERSTELLAR ODYSSEY.

INTERSTELLAR ODYSSEY is an independently created web series in the tradition of ‘Forbidden Planet’, ‘Lost In Space’, and ‘Star Trek’ that chronicles the second interstellar Earth ship ODYSSEY as it attempts to discover what happened to Earth’s first interstellar ship the Columbus that disappeared during its maiden voyage to explore the Milky Way Galaxy in search of an Earth-like planet to colonize.

The INTERSTELLAR ODYSSEY web series is presently in preproduction and will be shot in high definition video using a combination of green screen with practical set pieces and Computer Generated (CG) interiors and environments.

Please join their website (link below) and follow the voyages of the ODYSSEY!

Interstellar Odyssey website


A model? A model what?

I have to laugh when I think about pursuing a career in modeling. Only stuck up, self centered, rail thin, statuesque, 17 year-olds aspire to model, right? Well, yes and no. There is a whole world of people of different shapes and sizes and somewhere, in some publication, they need to represented. And I’ve discovered that an interesting look actually translates better on film than just pure beauty does. Another thing I’ve discovered is that modeling REALLY stretches me as an actor. It’s hard enough to capture a character and emotion when filming or on stage, but take away the tools of speech and movement and a model has a 10 times more difficult job. An entire story has to be captured in one still frame. Everything has to come together; the emotion, the scene, the lighting, the conflict/story line, and the model has to use every inch of her body and environment to stay in character. Nothing can look forced or posed. It’s really a waaaaay harder job than people give credit for. I’m happy to be pursuing this modeling thing. It makes me a better artist and I feel like I can be a positive role model to other middle-aged women.

Top! © 2017 Colleen Ann Guest
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