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Sonja Fisher – Actor

You have to have tenacity

I have worked more than 21 years in a highly technical field in Corporate America as a sales engineer.

Since I was ten, I wanted to be on the daytime soap General Hospital. I was inspired by Rick Springfield.

What made you decide to finally realize your lifelong dream?

After age 35, I moved from Minnesota to Los Angeles to pursue my dream in acting, and hosting. I started out appearing on prime time talk and game shows like Let’s Make a Deal, Tyra Banks and The Doctors to name a few.

Rick Springfield had not been on General Hospital in 20 years, and I had met him on many occasions where he encouraged me to pursue my dreams. I pursued the casting director, Mark Teschner from General Hospital, sending headshots and post cards. He was offering workshops, so I attended one of his workshops and participated in his classes.

He eventually said to me, ‘Do you want to have a part on the show? We want you to be on the show for the day.’ I just had one line. The irony is I missed Rick Spingfield by two weeks. I always had an idea that I would be on that show. All my friends said, ‘Oh My God, she actually did it!’ I have now been on the show recurring as a nurse.

What were the specific obstacles you faced?

Pursuing an acting career is not as easy as it looks. You have to get in the right ‘club.’ It’s fun and easy to hang out with people, but hard to get the job. For every job available, 2000 people apply for it. It’s also an expensive career to pursue. You have to have professional photos, marketing materials, access to auditions and use submission services. It is a part- to full-time job. I built my resume with non-union work but I joined the union two years ago when I became eligible.

Since I have been in California I have accomplished a lot in my acting and hosting career. I’ve been on numerous talk and television shows and appeared in several movies. Recently I just booked a lead in a pilot, called Transhuman which is in pre-production.

One of my dreams was, I always wanted to win a national beauty pageant. My Mom and I would sit and watch pageants every single year. I competed in the Mrs. Minnesota pageant  six times as well as other pageants. I eventually decided to compete in Mrs. Corporate America. I won the 2009-2010 national title! I was so excited. Now I talk to women about math and science and women in technology all over the United States. I co-founded the first national technical sorority in the US at the University of Minnesota, Alpha Sigma Kappa,  which now has eight chapters worldwide. I am also currently competing for the new pageant, Ms. Woman United States in July 2015.

Pageants are subjective. It’s hard to always be what they’re looking for but it does encourage you to be the best that you can be. You have to be the best at all levels, fitness, interviews, it’s a lot of work to get there. I admire all the girls who do it, it’s a lot of work. You get to meet a lot of nice people from all over. Five of my best girlfriends that have come from the pageant world.

When in high school the goal was to run a marathon. When I moved out to California, the weather was always great. I completed the San Diego marathon and got addicted. My dream, by the time I am 55, is to run a 26.2 mile marathon in every state and continent. So far I have done 11 states and 1 continent.

I found out about the 50 State Club. There are fewer than 2000 people in the world who are members. I wanted to be a member of the club and became an honorary member after 10 marathons. You have full-fledged club membership after you run a marathon in all 50 states.

Lastly, I always wanted a doctorate and focus on women and men in technology and the IT field. I surveyed over 200 women and found that sponsorship was one of the barriers to entry. Men tend to get more sponsors which is a higher level of mentorship. Sponsorship is more about looking out and identifying opportunities.

This is my platform for the current pageant. Inspiring women in the arts and technology to leadership positions. It’s time women become leaders, women are so under represented. I wrote a published chapter in a book called, Why Men Succeed in the book, Breaking the Glass Ceiling Without a Hammer.

It wasn’t easy. I was working full time. It took me seven years to get my doctorate in business. I completed my dream at the age of 44 in April 2013.

What helped you get through?

No matter what, you have to pursue your dreams and go for them…you wouldn’t know what you could have done if you don’t approach your fear head on. You only have one life. Make a mark and make a difference. Go for it.

Most people sit and complain when their life is not going the way they want. Most people have control over their life. You control your own life and you can decide how you want to pursue your dreams. Relationships, work, a sports dream, the list goes on. For most people, they think it’s too hard to change and get away from their routine. They start to lose hope and give up. I wrote a published chapter in a book called, Creating the Life of Your Dreams. It is in the book, How to Survive When Your Ship is Sinking.

What advice would you give to others contemplating finally living their dream?

You have to have the tenacity to do what you want to do. In the end if it ends up working out, its a pay off. Nothing is not doable.

Create the life of your dreams, you can hold out for what you really want.

Everything I envisioned, happened. My life is what I thought I wanted it to be when I was a child.

Don’t ever turn it off, listen to it. Your gut is telling you to do it. I have accomplished my dreams and plan to accomplish more!

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