Today we’d like to introduce you to Kelly Piliouras.
Kelly, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was always the class clown at school and at the family dinner table (much to my parent’s dismay when they realized I could pretty much ~never~ be serious the second we all sat down.) Something about making people laugh and being able to reel the attention of an audience in to tell a story was something very intriguing and exciting to me.
I began auditioning for roles at school and found out quickly that– a lot of other people also loved it too and that I was in for some serious competition in this road I’d chosen. I’d tried everything from team sports to social clubs, debate team… nothing compared to that feeling I got inside when I stepped on stage or in front of a camera, and I knew I had to keep that fire lit. And so I kept at it; I auditioned for anything and everything; I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone; I tackled plays, musicals, choir solos, and when I got to college I did on-camera acting for the first time.
When I graduated I continued with community theatre while working a demanding full-time corporate job. I knew it was time to get serious about my acting career so I packed up my car and moved from Michigan to Chicago with my eyes and heart set on building a portfolio of work in this city full of opportunity. I started working full-time and when I could, I began taking classes at The Second City Training Center.
I quickly started auditioning for and was cast in several student shows and then accepted into the Second City Conservatory — a longtime goal of mine. I graduated November 2016 with classmates who had become family, got an agent, and continued with classes– never wanting to get rusty — and still juggling a full-time job and growing more serious about my weightlifting and fitness lifestyle. Right now my weeks consist of a steady 9-5 who appreciates and supports my second career of acting.
Anytime outside of those hours you can catch me at the gym (a great stress management tool for me and a passion for a healthy lifestyle) and then spending the rest of my free time taking acting classes, rehearsing, auditioning, recording voiceover projects for clients, plugging my business on social media and always networking and connecting.
Sometimes I stop myself and ask why I’m doing all this and do I still love it? And in those moments; I think Alan Watts really puts it best, “if you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is, in order to do the things you don’t like doing, which is stupid.”
Has it been a smooth road?
It’s been a road full of ups and downs but the majority of it has been up’s, in that I’m very grateful to be where I’m at right now and to be surrounded by an amazing support system of family and friends.
I have a lot of people in my life– my parents in specific—who have been incredible to me as I navigate an extremely busy double career while still making social time and rest/relaxation a major priority. Keeping your mental health game strong is one of the most important things you can do for yourself.
When I first started my journey and road to being an actor/comedian it was extremely difficult; I had to work very hard at polishing my skillset and checking my ego at the door because there was a lot to improve on if I wanted to land myself an agent and get seen by casting directors.
You learn to really do your research, hustle harder than you ever have for opportunities and eventually when you’ve put your time in, you can realize that—as Michael at Vagabond School of the Arts here in Chicago says—acting is a business of opinions. You find what works best for you and your goals and you never stop learning or growing.
One thing I’ve picked up along the way is that if I don’t know how to do something, it doesn’t scare me off from trying; I am confident in who I am, where I’m going and keeping an open mind to opportunities around me daily I may have missed if I were to tunnel vision. Stay humble, work hard, stay hungry and always be grateful.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Kelly Piliouras- Actor & Comedian – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I am an Actress and Comedian – but overall I see myself as an Entrepreneur within the Arts. I have an agent that submits me to tv/film/commercial work and outside of that, I submit myself for any and all projects I have access to.
Some of the accomplishments I’m most proud of to date are:
Being cast in a comedy sketch with Clickhole/The Onion (release date 4/18), graduating Second City’s Conservatory Program and a Commercial for Medline Industries line of Ave Scrubs sold at Target.
I think what sets me apart is that I’m doing this all because I truly love it and I connect with every project I take on; it’s an added bonus to see that that authenticity is what has allowed me to plant seeds and grow a business founded on passion over money.
I see the world as an art and am always dabbling in between different projects be it photography, modeling, on-camera acting, voiceover, singing, stand-up comedy, painting, drawing, writing comedy sketches and doing the leg work of editing and plugging to connect on social media platforms.
There is so much opportunity out there; you just have to research and know how to navigate to land it; I am very grateful that that is a skill of mine I have learned to hone over time, especially as I juggle a double career with a day job working with senior level executives while doing the arts days/nights/weekends.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love the spirit of entrepreneurship and the genuine people within the arts community. It really does feel like one big family once you’re integrated into various networking and artist groups – the spirit of everyone wanting to help each other is real and it’s encouraging to be surrounded by such a positive vibe.
I also love all of the different neighborhoods within Chicago and how each brings a different vibe and experience. I’m also a major history/science/art lover so all of the museums here are such a bonus.
What I like least about the city? Ha, definitely the weather!
- Website: www.KellyPiliouras.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: kelly_piliouras
- Twitter: kelly_piliouras