( ENSPIRE Feature ) Actress Cassandra Spykerman Shares Her Obstacles and How She Overcame Them
At an early age, Cassandra had to support her family, so she had to work multiple jobs while working towards her goal to one day become an actress. “I took up a full-time job as a customer service officer at a mall although I did not like it. I also took up freelance acting gigs for two years. One of the main obstacles I had to overcome when I was starting out as an actress was not having enough support from loved ones. They all had their beliefs and opinions on what I should do especially since I had to support my family. During that time, I was disheartened and frightened, rebellious as well, one way or another because I really wanted to act .”
Cassandra wanted to prove to herself that she could make it no matter what, so she did what she had to do in order to make her dreams happen. She took freelance acting jobs to get more exposure on camera. There was once when a musical gig which she was committed to, did not pay her and her commitment to the musical group caused her to lose some other opportunities. However, her hard work did not go unnoticed and she eventually got her debut role in a TV series. Soon after, by chance, she became a full-time singer in a band (which she is still doing now). There were times when she had to make a decision with being a fulltime singer or actor, which was a conflict at times.
A few years ago whilst juggling both of her careers, Cassandra suffered from exhaustion, as she worked 14 hours a day and started using alcohol to escape her reality. However, she knew that alcohol was not the way to go in order to be successful in life and wanted to take her life back. Cassandra decided to get help and has been almost three years sober.”
Cassandra has inspired a lot of people in her community because they see her as a woman that is mentally tough and she is humbled that people look up to her as a woman that is a survivor. “When I hear that I inspire people to become better people, it makes me strive to be better too. To improve on my shortcomings, not to be perfect, but to always have the drive to improve. It also warms my heart when I know somehow, somewhere, I’m making a small change, and it all begins with me.”
Cassandra has been in numerous TV series, a few theatre productions, thesis films, and commercials. She even won Best Actress in the National Youth Film Award in Singapore but takes the opportunity to reflect on how far she has come and is excited about the future. If there is one thing she would like to share with aspiring actress or actors it would be this. “Always remember how far you’ve come, and where you come from. Having just 10 minutes to remind and ground yourself, always helps, especially when we have hectic schedules sometimes. Be honest with yourself, always. Take criticism positively, with a pinch of sugar!”
When Cassandra is not singing or acting, she is an advocate with helping people that suffer from mental illness and wants the world to improve mental illness. “The first step would be to remove the stigma associated with mental illness. For example, create content that revolves around these illnesses and on how to help. Having organizations hold workshops, TED talks, anything that has the potential to reach out to the masses.”I feel that awareness is so important. When people are aware and conscious about their actions, it goes a long way. Those who are suffering from mental illness need to be reminded that they are not alone. With a huge country like America, it needs to begin from every state, with unity and love.”
She had to have a positive mindset to overcome the obstacles that life threw at her before and after her career blossomed. Cassandra is currently involved with a couple of projects like a TV Series called Kin and a series called Tekan Minyak.