Dakota Raen - Be an Original
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California 2015
Dakota Raen
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California 2015

Challenge me.

I took up something different this year. Not many women normally have an interest in it, but I fell in love with it, lifting. No, not the light weights in the "Woman's section" at the gym... but the heavy weights where you see the big guys. That's my interest. 

For the past five years I have taken care of my body by eating healthy, and staying active. I ran track and field for a while, and then got very serious into running Cross Country. I stopped running once I started lifting.


I remember sitting at my kitchen counter with my brother. It was Christmas 2003, and we had already opened all of our gifts from Santa. I asked my mom where Daddy went, and she responded with "He's getting you guys another present, nothing special. Something small like a puzzle." 

I thought, "Well thats boring.. why would he leave to get us puzzles?" 

It wasn't long after that my Dad had come home. He walked inside holding something, someone. He brought home my Best Friend.

Insecure & Happy

Happiness isn't a destination, a person, or an item, yet so many people looks at it that way. "I will be happy when..." Is commonly used. I have struggled a lot with happiness this year, and I learned that no it is not permanent, and when I am happy... embrace it. I use to always ask myself "Am I really happy?" and then I would think of reasons I shouldn't be. Which, I know, is very unhealthy. 

This year I learned to look at the bright side of everything, and to understand that everything happens for a reason.

"Figure it out."

One thing all young adults really struggle with is to figure things out on their own. I am 100% guilty of this. So many times this year I have called my parents freaking out over certain things, and they have always responded with "Figure it out. You are an adult now." 

I am terrible at this, and they end up helping me anyway. The few times I have tried to "Figure it out" I made the situation so much worse. So they minus well help me from the beginning. 

One time... now I am not proud of this in anyway.


Another thing I learned this year, and still learning.. is Balance. I have never realized how important this is until this past year. 

I have a very obsessive personality, so when I find interest in something... I go a bit overboard. For a while I was working 7 days a week. I couldn't handle having nothing to do. My days started at 5 AM and ended around midnight. I reached a point I was so completely exhausted, I had pushed many people away. I wasn't able to sleep because I was too concerned about getting everything done the next day.

Trust the moment.

"You need to be in the moment." 

Anyone who has been in Richard's acting class has heard this over a hundred times. It's the number one lesson he teaches, how to be in the moment and trust it. In reality, we don't plan out our conversations word for word, we feed off of the other person. So he teaches us to trust the moment, and just go with your gut. 

In January I knew what he meant, and in my scenes I trusted it. It has improved my acting a lot, and I know how to switch it up with every person I read with.

Comfortable with being Uncomfortable.

One thing I learned this year is not to give up, and to push through the moments of doubt. Today really proved it to me. I didn't want to get up today, or go into class. I wasn't doing good mentally, and I felt like I was going to be off in class. 

Once I got there I let myself go, and just focused on the character. I thought about what she wanted, her goals, her problems. Then I went on stage and did the scene. It wasn't perfect, but it was way better than the last time I did it.

Tree of Life

Back in January Dakota took me on a hike to the Tree of Life. At the time it was intense. We started just by climbing up rocks, and i struggled so much getting up there. I didn't think I could make it to the top. We were both tired, and thirsty... but after an hour we made it to the Tree of life. Which is basically a tree on top of this mountain that people leave letters under. I left a note mentioning it was my first week living in California for Pilot Season 2015, and that I had hoped not to return to Chicago.

Peter Pan

You know those people who have such a great smile, it makes your day? Or the people that are so incredibly talented you can hand them any instrument and they could learn it and play it beautifully? Or the person who asks how your doing, and will listen to you talk before they even think to bring up themselves?  This person to me is Kevin Quinn. 

I met Kevin on set of Kids & Ghosts last year, and we stayed in touch when we moved to LA. I knew he was a great actor when I worked with him on set, and I saw him on Chicago PD shortly after.


"We met at Crave" I remember Dakota saying as we were lying on the bottom bunk in our old apartment. "I was so smooth, like crazy smooth." I couldn't imagine it, Dakota? Smooth? If he says so. He went on and on about this girl he had met two months before. "We didn't even mean to spend everyday together after that." 

Her name is Yasmine, and she is beautiful, carefree, talented, and unique. She looks at things the way Dakota does. They are the couple that you can feel it in the air how much they love each other.
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