"You are who you wanna be." ~ Jane on Drop Dead Diva, played by Brooke Elliott
Last night, the show Drop Dead Diva had its premiere on Lifetime. Most pilots are awful. Beyond awful. This one is inspired, funny, smart, and tragic. Best of all, the back story is one of striving and thriving - a great example for all of us.
My friend, Brooke Elliott, is the star of Drop Dead Diva. I met her in 2002 when I joined the touring company of Beauty and the Beast. She is the funniest person I know. Some people tell funny jokes. Some people have crazy stuff that happens to them and their recounts of those crazy events are funny. Brooke is just funny, about everything. I can be in the most horrid mood, and the way she says hello sets me into giggles. It's a wonderful, rare quality.
Two years ago I moved back to New York after business school and reconnected with Brooke. We had been in touch over email over the years, but hadn't seen each other regularly since I left Beauty and the Beast in 2003. By 2007, Brooke had left musical theatre and was focusing on crossing over to film and TV work.
Brooke's story is one of the most hopeful and compelling I know. When she left musical theatre, a lot of people asked her if she was going to get a day job while she pursued TV and film. Her answer was simple, "No, I'm going to book an acting job. I'm an actor." No frustration, no anger, no naivety. She was going to practice her craft and make a living doing it. That acting job she was going to book is now Drop Dead Diva. And as so many critics have said, "Brooke Elliott is drop dead terrific."
Her success comes as no surprise to me. It was just a matter of time before Brooke had her own show. With talent, grace, and determination so immense, the world was going to find her sooner or later and give her the credit she so richly deserves. After all, you are who you wanna be. It's advice we could all stand to hear a little more often.
If you missed the premiere of Drop Dead Diva, catch the replay of the full episode at http://www.mylifetime.com/on-tv/shows/drop-dead-diva/video and tune in to Lifetime on Sundays at 9pm Eastern.