Today I'm interviewing Lily Leblanc, a 24 year old French woman who was lucky enough to win the US Green Card Lottery and has just moved to New York City to take Broadway by storm. After studying acting at the Cours Florent in Paris and vocal performance with coach to the stars, Richard St. Croix, she is ready to try her luck far from her native Garches, in the city that never sleeps.
A.L. You've been in New York City for a month, how have you been adjusting?
L.L. New York has such a crazy energy, it's really hard to get used to it! And everything is so confusing at the beginning! I mean, you can't even just go buy coffee, there's about 500 different kinds and you have to know what you want! Whatever happened to just normal coffee? No seriously, the hardest thing was finding a place to live. Luckily I'm here with my best friend Max and he knows more about NYC than I do. We finally found something through Craig's List. D'accord, it's very small and the neighborhood is a little scary sometimes, but it's a roof over our head and we're living our dream, n'est-ce pas?
A.L. Speaking of living your dream, have you been able to start auditioning?
L.L. Actually, it took me a while to work up the courage and I just went to my first audition this week. Mon Dieu, it's different from in France! There were hundreds of people waiting and you can only sing 16 bars of music. It took me all week to find the perfect song and then, at the audition, I heard the girl right before me singing my song. It was awful - and I had nothing else with me! I went in anyway, but as soon as I started singing they said "Next". It was pretty discouragng. I guess I'll have to have more music with me next time!
A.L. Everyone always says you have to have a day job in New York. Have you found yours?
L.L. A friend of my father's helped me get a job answering phones at the Alliance Française but I ended up speaking French all day so I applied to the Starbucks around the corner. I'm starting next week. I guess I'm finally going to learn about coffee! (laughs)
A.L. What about your family? How do they feel about you moving so far away?
L.L. Well, my mom's pretty out of it, you know. I'm not sure she even realizes that I'm gone. But it's hard on my father and my grandmother, Mamouchka. They didn't really want me to go, but winning the green card was an opportunity I really couldn't pass up. I mean I've been dreaming about being on Broadway since I was a kid. I must have watched Funny Girl about a million times! Anyway, there's Skype and everything, but oui, c'est difficile...
A.L. You mentioned Funny Girl, is Barbra Streisand a role model for you?
L.L. Oh que oui! I have a long way to go before I can even come up to her ankles! But she is such an example of someone who came up from nothing and made it to the top just with her talent.
A.L. What's your favorite thing about being in New York?
L.L. The black bean burritos at the take-out downstairs... and my tap class! I just figured out how to do a time step!
A.L. And your least favorite thing?
L.L. I guess I'd have to say the solitude. Even though Max is here, New York can be really isolating. You're surrounded by crowds but it feels like no one ever really sees you. Maybe I'll get used to it...
A.L. Best of luck with your auditions. You know what they say: If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere! So here's wishing you a big m----, as they say in France!
L.L. Merci, Alyssa! I'm going to do my best! With my luck, I'll probably end up in the English version of Starmania, but hey, everyone has to start somewhere, right?
This interview was written for #StoryMOOC.
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