When one of my mentors said, “you have got to connect with Alice Callahan,” I knew he was right. Not just because she was on one of my all time favorite shows, Gossip Girl. Or that she is on the hit show Odd Mom Out. I wanted to know Alice because she is a woman of resolve.
At 16 she became passionate about adoption, and now she and her husband are major advocates for orphan’s rights (they’re hash tagging #planA to help spread the joy of adopting first). She is committed to being kind in an industry that applauds competition and self-promotion. She doesn’t pretend she has it all together, and invites us honestly into her diaper changing duties, her love for sweat pants, and the why behind who she is.
Alice, I think I want to be your best friend. We are honored to have you on Boss Ladies.
Growing up I really wanted to be
Victoria, the white cat in Andrew Llyod Webber’s hit musical Cats
My most-used emojiis are
Fried shrimp, flamenco dancer, and embarrassed face
My go-to order at a coffee shop is
Iced latte with whole milk and real sugar
I don’t know how I ever lived without
Amazon Prime and Seamless (take-out food delivery)
One thing people don’t know about me is
I have a deluxe karaoke machine in my apartment
My real life hero is
Sara Miller, my friend and a real boss lady! When she was a sophomore at NYU Sara moved to the South Bronx with the goal of taking the words of Jesus seriously and loving her neighbors well. Eight years later, she has developed an amazing education program serving hundreds of kiddos in her neighborhood called A House on Beekman. Sara makes everyone around her feel loved and valuable, and runs a non-profit that is changing lives against all odds. She rocks!
What I love about my work is
Surprising people with kindness in a rather unkind industry. Acting and modeling are generally self-oriented, and people are often confused when you encourage them instead of compete with them. I also love the free food on set! Eggrolls at midnight? Yes, please.
The hardest thing about my work is
The constant rejection. You hear 99 “no’s” until you hear a “maybe…” and then a week later, that turns into a “no.”
How I got started with my current career
I auditioned for Gossip Girl five times, for various one-line parts. They called me back for a sixth audition and I was shocked to book it! That turned into a four-season recurring role. I try to remember that when I repeatedly audition for shows but don’t get them.
The dumbest thing I did when I was starting out
I did many dumb things and honestly, haven’t slowed down. My first audition was a major fail. I went to a tampon commercial audition in a ballet outfit. When the casting people asked why I’d done so. I said, “Because most tampon commercials feature girls frolicking in leotards.” They said, “Not this one.”
I used to think success meant
Having health insurance and being able to afford extra guacamole at Chipotle.
My current definition of success is
The deep-rooted peace that comes with believing you are in the center of God’s will for your life. Finding a daily purpose bigger than yourself, and contentment in your circumstances and relationships. It’s going to bed knowing you navigated your day with the goals of loving others and loving the Creator. Oh, and health insurance and extra guacamole.
An example of when I had to push through fear was when
I walked off a film set because they asked me to do a degrading sex scene that objectified women. I thought about the girls I have visited multiple times at an orphanage in Kenya — girls who spent years suffering from sexual violence and abuse. Some are still haunted by the years of rape and forced prostitution. I could not sleep if I did a scene that glorified the violence I fight so strongly against. It was worth the risk of upsetting the production team.
I know my work/life balance is out of sync when
When I haven’t changed out of my sweatpants for three days and am making up rap songs about my son’s myriad of poop colors, I know I’ve been home too much.
On the flip side, when I’m on set and insist on showing everyone six videos in a row of my dog and baby interacting (because each one is ever-so-slightly different), I know I have been at work too long.
It all evens out, and I am grateful for the unique gig of spending half of my time on work adventures and the other half holding down the fort on the home front!
The last time I created something I was proud of was
This sounds very 1950’s housewife, but I am weirdly excited about the essential oils counter top spray I made last week. Cleaning up after a one-year-old’s Jackson Pollock-inspired food art three times a day gets a little old, so my nifty DIY spray has made the task a bit more gratifying. I am proud of my spray.
I wish I could tell my younger self
It gets better. High school beats junior high, college beats high school, and adulthood beats college. Not to say those years aren’t important. God can put things on your heart at a young age that bear fruit if you press into them later in life.
Don’t leave people out. Don’t make the cheap choice at the expense of your integrity. Be nice to your parents (they are your future besties), don’t believe the lie that your happiness depends on other people, talk to God more, worry less. Oh, and tanning beds aren’t cool!
The legacy I hope to leave is
I hope to leave the world better than I found it specifically in the fight for orphan justice. In high school I heard a sermon about how God has adopted us into his spiritual family, likewise, we get the honor of adopting children into our homes. Fast forward fifteen years, my husband and I chose to adopt first, and I could not be more in love with our beautiful and hilarious mini-human.
It is our responsibility and privilege to take ownership for children without families — whether across the ocean or in our own zip code. This particular cause has given my life more meaning than I could have ever dreamed. My son, who I will love until the day I die, was brought to us because of what God did in our hearts. I’ll be happy if my legacy is simply that my son knows he is loved.