PART II: COURAGE by Jen Bush
After going through a catastrophic illness, a person might learn something about themselves that was previously undiscovered. “The biggest lesson that I learned was that things will not go according to plan, and it’s ok. I have a hard time letting go and let the natural stream of life take me with it. I usually try to shape it to my own needs. I am still taking control over my life and working to move forward, but I am no longer holding on to what could have been. Now I’m trying to focus on what is and will be.”
Some people go through what Ms. Mizrach went through and have a-ha moments. Ms. Mizrachi’s a-ha moment was the same aha moment she had in childhood. It was essentially, keep doing what you love. “I was very scared and alone during the treatments. When Audrey contacted me, I was afraid I couldn’t do it. But it was such an amazing feeling to create, even while going through the most frightening time in my life. It brought me back to life and made me very happy. Creating the video made me realize that I shouldn’t do anything else besides act. It’s just who I am, and I should never give it up.”
Ms. Mizrachi is a humble artist who values authenticity in her work. There is no question that her work and her journey will inspire others. “I would never assume that the art that I do is inspiring others, but what I try to make sure with everything I do is that it’s truthful, and meaningful. As long as I tell my truth through what I do, it’ll speak for itself. I do hope that my story did inspire other cancer survivors and creatives specially to show that it is tough but still worth fighting.”
Strength and a positive attitude can make all the difference in the world when enduring the fight of a lifetime. Thank goodness Ms. Mizrachi had that and more in her arsenal. “A few rounds of chemo didn’t work for me, so we moved to a more “aggressive” type of chemotherapy. This new treatment almost killed me. The first time I took it I couldn’t leave my bed for three weeks. Then I developed a fungus in my throat, one of the side effects to the chemo, and I couldn’t eat, drink or speak for four days. On the fourth day, it was particularly bad. I was extremely dehydrated, and I was going in and out of consciousness. My body was really struggling. That night, there was a moment when I felt something. I felt like I could give in at this moment and go, or I could stay and fight it. I stood up to a sitting position and I repeated the mantra “fuck you cancer, I’m going to live” over and over again. That was the turning point for me, and I started feeling better and better ever since. I know it sounds like something out of a movie, but I truly believe this is the reason I survived”.
Ms. Mizrachi uses empathy when building a character. “I’d say what defines me as an artist is the empathy I have for the characters I play, which allows me to dive in deep and portray them in the most truthful way I could. I don’t think it changed; however, I am still in the process of figuring out what effects the cancer had on my art. I feel a lot more exposed after what I have been through, as if a layer of me was shed, and I’m sure it will influence my acting eventually. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.”
We all need good trusted people in our lives who we can confide in and who can contribute positively to our existence. Ms. Mizrachi had some wonderful people in her life to do just that. “Everything I am and have I owe to the people I met along the way, and specifically to those who stuck around. They all shaped me into the individual I am today. I have to say that my experiences after I finished the academy are the ones that really made me the artist I am, and I learned from them the most.”
The pandemic is awful and we wish it never happened but for some, there were silver linings. “I actually didn’t mind the lockdown when I was in New York, but I had a good situation that not many was fortunate enough to have. When the lockdown started, I was living with my boyfriend, and just finished the academy. It was refreshing to have an excuse to stay home, and I got a lot of work done during this time. We did a lot of auditions from home, and I actually was able to connect with a lot of people through social media. I was lucky enough that after three months, when the lockdown in New York was over, I had projects lined up because of the work I did. I was also happy that I was diagnosed during the pandemic. It wasn’t easy because I was now at a risk group, but the fact that I know the world was at a halt was consoling to me, that I was not the only one that is not moving.”