Alumna of the Month: November 2009
Erin Fogel '04
What is your edge (strength)?
My ability to make anyone laugh, anywhere, at any time.
What at Hofstra gave you your edge?
Hofstra taught me to never give up. I found the confidence to believe in myself, and my ability.
In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
What was your major?
B.F.A. in performing arts
What was your favorite class?
I have great memories of my Russian literature class. It was just one of those classes I never missed. It was a good group of kids who had a lot of fantastic things to say. I guess all of my theater history classes made me appreciate the life and times of Anna Karenina.
What is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
My fondest memory was when I directed Paula Vogel’s How I Learned to Drive through the student-run theater department. I completely deconstructed and rebuilt this incredible play that I had never seen performed before. It was the first fully formed concept I was able to execute with no one else’s influence. I stood back, watching in amazement that it had come from my head.
What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
I am a working actress. It feels good to be able to write that. I try to recount the phases, but there really is no science to figuring out how I got into the industry. After graduation, I hit the ground running; I started with cattle call non-equity auditions, built up my resume, and was able to find contacts as I went along. I worked with different agents until I signed with KTA, the most wonderful, supportive agency. Most importantly, I continued to evolve; I didn’t allow myself to be stifled. Yet, I believe fate is involved. If you pursue what you love, you will find a way to succeed at it. Or it will find you.
Who in your field do you most admire?
Philip Seymour Hoffman has been my No. 1 favorite actor since I was far too young to appreciate him. I had the opportunity to meet him and it was the first time that meeting an actor made me nervous! He was the coolest, most laid back, down-to-earth guy; I can’t say enough good things about him. He is a true chameleon and the most brilliant character actor of our time.
What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
My first paying job was a voice-over for Zappos.com. I learned that they have free shipping AND free return shipping! In all seriousness, working in voice-overs was a great opportunity for me to find my voice and “stay in the pocket.”
What advice would you give current Hofstra students?
Hofstra is filled with so many opportunities. Do and be who you want to be; not who someone else wants you to be. Stay in perspective and don’t let the system get you down. Life is long, and the tables will always turn. Be kind to your fellow students, cliché as it sounds; they are the ones who will be in positions to help you on your way.
How do you balance work and life?
I make sure to have things and people in my life who are just mine. Family has always been my necessity for putting everything in perspective. Yoga is a huge part of my life, and I am working to becoming a master of the sport as well as the state of mind. My friends are very diverse and work in all different fields. However, it doesn’t matter where I am or who I’m with; I will still have you laughing. I am forever a comedienne.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years, I see myself playing characters that producers and directors specifically thought of me for because of my strengths. I want to have made a difference in comedy.
What is the single most rewarding experience in your career thus far?
Getting to be part of the cast of 27 Dresses was by far the most incredible experience. I was able to get a good, clear look at what I had been imagining for almost my entire life. It was a very awesome chapter.
Do you have a favorite quote or saying that has kept you motivated through the years?
When I was about 18-years-old, Jerry Stiller told me with complete assurance, “Don’t ever give up, it’s not as hard as you think.” I always remind myself of that.
When did you begin acting?
I began acting at age 11 at a sleepaway camp called Bucks Rock in Connecticut. My bunkmate begged me to audition with her for the play so she would not have to wait alone. I sang the one song I knew: “On My Own” from Les Miserables. Looking back, it was weird choice of song. Either way, I was cast and it was love at first sight.
In the future, do you see yourself being more involved in film or theater?
I grew up doing theater and have continued for more than 15 years. Film and television are still very new to me, but everything I have ever done was to get on that screen, so I see my success working with cameras.
Erin Fogel is more than a name; it is a hilarious state of mind. Erin hails from the bridge and tunnel haven that is Marlboro, New Jersey. Growing up, Erin was able to hone her skills of comedy when in verbal confrontations with the school bullies, often leaving them speechless and embarrassed. Be careful, she can still quip the fight right out of you!
Early on she found her passion for performance, and slowly began to concentrate on her dream. Erin attended Howell High School of the Performing Arts, attended acting intensives in the summer, and went on to pursue a B.F.A. at Hofstra University. While at Hofstra, Erin introduced herself to the acting world in Manhattan. When she wasn’t doing a production with Hofstra, she would commute to the city for auditions, rehearsals, and performances. This experience introduced her to the reality that is competitive unemployed actors.
Erin began working in the Manhattan theater scene and was even honored with the Jean Dalrymple Award for her work in the premiere play The Mother Song. She continued working steadily, jumping from one play to another, until it was time to expand. From there, she delved into the world of voice-overs and began meeting casting directors. After some time, Erin signed with the Kolstein Talent Agency (KTA), and booked the supporting role of Shari Rabinowitz in the People’s Choice Award-winning comedy 27 Dresses – her first noteworthy booking. Erin is currently fighting the good fight every day, with confidence that she will have the established career she longs for. Watch out for Erin’s next role of Mrs. Mills, the bohemian fifth-grade teacher, in the touching Gary Terracino film Elliot Loves.