I was on Facebook last night and I came across a link a friend shared titled “Can A Man Have Female Role Models?”
As a man, I’d like to respond to this question very simply: yes.
I’m not going to be the next Steve Jobs (but I am inspired by him, and recommend the movie “Jobs”), but I do aspire to change the world in some way that I can.
It may not be the whole world, and it may just be the small part of it that I occupy, but that is enough. I aspire to happiness, and I aspire to be confident enough to pursue my passions. It was with this in mind, and the linked article, that I realized that my role model is, in fact, a woman.
Julia Albain is exactly the type of person I look at and think “I wish I could live my life the way she does.”
For those of you who do not know her, Julia Albain is a director, actress, author, and all around amazing person who graduated from the University of Michigan with a BFA in Theatre Performance. She had minor roles in the Harry Potter parody musicals on YouTube created by Starkid Productions, which is what thrust her into the spotlight for many.
I found Julia through those musicals and ended up Googling her and coming up with her Tumblr, where I became a huge fan of her writing. This inevitably lead to purchasing her book, “The Glamorously Unglamorous Life.”
While reading this, it should be understood that I purchased this only knowing that Julia Albain could write from a few blog posts and because I wanted to support her as a person.
This was one of my better decisions. Julia’s book reflected back the year of her life she spent in New York after college, where she took a job as a writer covering bands, when she wasn’t sure what she was doing, and when she had moved just to do so and experience New York life.
The book was one of the most inspirational things to come into my life. Julia Albain was is one of the most inspirational people I’ve ever found. I always think about how great it would be to jump into something with both feet without over-thinking it to the point of talking myself out of it. To read a book where someone about my age moved to New York with limited funds and had to make it work, that is inspirational.
Fast forward in time and Julia Albain started a Kickstarter to raise money to direct a stage production of “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.” I didn’t know the play, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to travel to Chicago to see it. To make things better, I knew I didn’t really have the money to give a donation.
Naturally, I put $50 into the play and received a set of photos, stage notes, signed postcards, and other tidbits from the show.
Only things get even better than having a few items that were sent from her/the cast and crew. In July of 2013, I went to a Harry Potter convention in Portland and members of Team Starkid were among the special guests. Julia Albain was one of those attending. Naturally I took her book with me, hoping to get it signed.
Julia Albain, along with Corey Lubowich (Co-Executive Producer and set designer for Judas), held a panel about how to go about starting, working on, and finishing projects like Judas. I found it inspiring despite the fact that I don’t work or participate in any sort of stage productions.
After the panel, I got the chance to meet Julia Albain and she signed my copy of her book. I ended up running into her multiple times afterwards, and each time she remembered me. In person, she was humble about the fact that she had tons of fans. People had come to see her; I had come to see her. She took pictures, she signed autographs, she ran panels and yet she still took the time out of her busy schedule to not only do those things, but she took the time to just mingle and get to know people.
With everything going in her life, you could see she was happy. She may have times when she is unsure of what she’s doing, or you can tell that she’s taking a risk by trying to raise money for a play (which she got nearly twice as much money as originally hoped) but she was happy. She was living her life to the fullest and that’s what fulfilled her.
Seeing her go for what she wants in life makes me want to be more like her. She’s one of the reasons I decided I really would try to apply to Arizona State University last fall, and one of the reasons I will be moving this summer and starting at ASU. I want to live my life as fully as I can, and I know it’s possible when I can see someone my age doing so.
If you don’t take anything else from this long, likely confusing, late-night rambling of mine, at least remember this: women can be role models, just as the author of the article that sparked this post says, and women should be role models.
When I tried to think of a role model, Julia Albain was the first person to come to mind, not because she was a woman, but because she is the type of person I aspire to be.
So, who are your female role models? Leave a comment!