Women I Love

In honor of International Women’s Day, I want to write about the amazing, powerful, smart, and funny women who have impacted my life. You babes are the tops.

First and foremost: my amazing mother. She is hands down the most kind and patient person I know. She has loved Dalton and me fiercely and unconditionally. She is hilarious (oftentimes without realizing it). Her constant love and support have given me confidence and bravery. I would be nowhere and nothing without her. She is my favorite person.

Next, my two lovely grandmothers. My mom’s mom is the reason my mom is so perfect. My Grandma Ellis was the sweetest, purest example of kindness and gratitude. She took exceptional care of everyone around her. Everyone that knew her loved her. I miss her every day. My dad’s mom will have a special seat in heaven for raising (and surviving) her 5 hellion children. 🙂 The crazy Musgrave clan has a good-humored, strong-willed matriarch at the helm. She’s a wonder woman. I am so lucky to have had such close and significant relationships with both of my grandmothers.

Moving chronologically through my life, I’ve had some pretty amazing teachers guiding me along the way.

Starting in elementary school. Carla Petersen – in 3rd and again in 6th grade – made a huge impact on my young life. She made art and creativity a priority, which is such a rarity these days. She was loud and funny and messy and unapologetic. I loved being around her. She glowed. And she introduced me to Ms. Rumphius.

In junior high school, Joan Heap somehow managed to remain graceful, classy, and kind amidst the raging attitudes and awkwardness of 13-15 year olds. I loved her classes and her wardrobe.

Weber High School’s faculty boasted some pretty incredible women. The one I spent most of my time with was Melanie Nelson (now Day). She was my drama teacher, and to her, I owe a lot of the direction my life has taken. She was passionate about theatre and instilled that in her students. We worked hard and proudly, and she gave so much of herself to us.

In addition to AP Literature, Nancy Reed taught me about overcoming adversity with strength and grace. She is a remarkable woman.

And my most favorite teacher of all – Hirsch! Joan Hirschi was the funniest, most generous teacher. Everyone loved her and she made our class feel like a family. I’m so happy to have stayed in touch with her all these years.

In college, Tracy Callahan truly lit my theatrical flame. She taught me about the kind of theatre that makes me tick. She challenged me and pushed me and supported me and excited me. I feel so lucky to have her artistic influence in my life as well as her friendship.

Now I’m in grad school, learning from and with some of the most brilliant women in the world: Sherburne Laughlin, Ximena Varela, Anne L’Ecuyer, and all the beauties sitting beside me, studying with me, and helping me along the way.

When the Salt Lake Acting Company graced me with its presence, it brought with it the most inspired, intelligent, artistic, funny, brave, sassy, and beautiful women I’ve ever known.

I’ll start with Cynthia Fadel Fleming. I am immensely grateful for this leggy, amazing, brilliant force in my life. She’s taught me about leading, about listening, about choreographing, about accepting, and about giving. She is a constant source of love and support and has hugely shaped my life.

Nancy Borgenicht is inspiration in its most funny, exciting, and raw form. Every chance I get to spend time with her, I walk away feeling more ready and more thrilled to pursue my life. She’s so smart. She’s so generous. She’s wickedly funny. I love her.

There’s a woman who embodies generosity, research, passion, and poise: Andra Harbold. She’s a brilliant artist, a compassionate friend, a baker of perfect scones, and the most diligent researcher I’ve ever met. Collaborating with her is an artist’s dream.

I’ll never forget the first read-thru of Charm at SLAC and then listening to Kathleen Cahill speak about it – her magical, transcendent play. Kathleen’s mind is a gift to the theatre world. And her friendship is a gift to mine. Her words are enchanted and her soul is nurturing. (And her pup is a dream, and her kitty is my BFF.) I’m so lucky to have called hers my home away from home.

Robin Wilks-Dunn tells the best, most ridiculous stories I’ve ever heard. She is the most fun director. She is so funny and so generous. A joy to be with in and out of the rehearsal room.

Teri Cowan, who I first met at SLAC, is now my DC mama. She is the most beautiful actress and the most loving, generous woman. So happy she’s in my neck of the woods.

There are dozens of other incredible women who grace (or have graced) the offices, hallways, and stages of SLAC, including (but not limited to): Heidi, Erika, Jennie, Jan, Janice, Brittany, Lu, Meg, Annette, Jeanette, Shelby, Ellesse, Mel, Una, Tracie, Daisy, Becky, April, Heather, Alicia, Adrianne, Julie, Penny, Colleen, Deena, Nell, Jayne, Christy, Arika, Shanna, Holly, Stephanie, Ashley, Elena, Lauren, Emilie, Kalyn, Camille, and the list goes on. What a gorgeous group.

Now onto the babes that I boastfully call my friends.

Cassandra Stokes-Wylie is the funniest, weirdest, sexiest person I know. She is captivating onstage. She is the best dog mommy. She makes me laugh HARD. I want to hang out with her every day. She’s brave and resilient and I love her immensely.

There’s probably a lot you don’t know about Polly Pocket Nevins because she’s so humble. But I will tell you that she is a beautiful writer, a smart leader, extremely organized, ridiculously good-looking, hilarious, and kind. She’s a dream and makes every situation better just by being there.

Do you all know Victoria Elena Nones? You will soon. She’s kind of a big deal. The voice of an angel and the devil’s wit. A force to be reckoned with. An empowerer of women and a lover of great danes. She came bursting into my life, quickly made her way to my BFF list, and there she firmly remains.

If everyone had a friend like Elise Groves in their life, no one would ever be bored ever again. We hit it off over our twin cars and loved each other ever since. She is a crazy, hilarious spaz. She’s the best gambler I know. She makes everything fun. Never have a party without her.

Nicole Finney is the most beautiful, deep, mysterious soul. She’s a searcher and a traveler and a seeker. I love her curiosity and her passion. I’m lucky to know her.

Kelsie Jepsen. I just don’t even know where to begin, where to go, or how to stop. She is the epitome of positivity and light. Everyone who knows her, loves her. She is hysterical. She is smart. She is charismatic. She is talented. She is genuine. She works incredibly hard. There is no one like her. I love her beyond words.

And Nicki. I actually don’t think it’s possible to convey my love, my bond, my fierce connection to Nicki Nixon in words. She is my soulmate. My best friend. My sister. I am inspired by her loyalty – to the people she loves, to the truth, and to justice. She is so good. She is wise. She is intelligent and articulate. She is hilarious. She is beautiful. She occupies a large and permanent place right in the center of my heart.

This post is long. It makes me want to cry. I am so lucky. I could have written 5,000 more words about all of these women and then some. There are countless women not in this post who have impacted my life. There are women I’ve yet to meet who will help me and support me and shape me. Women are amazing. Happy International Women’s Day. Very happy indeed.


5 thoughts on “Women I Love

  1. Kelsie Jepsen says:

    Well, I’m crying (seriously). I love you more than words. And the truth is, you inspire me to be a better person every day. We are all so lucky to have you as our friend. THANK GOD I MADE THE LIST! 😉

  2. Robin says:

    Everything Chelsie said and now we have a ridiculous story from DC we shared about the screaming lady at RACE! Thank you so much for this blog.xxoo!

  3. Nancy Borgenicht says:

    I never read blogs. I hate Facebook. Kathleen sent me this. It made me wonder about International Men’s Day, which doesn’t exist but maybe should. It made me wonder about the length of a man’s list. Who’d be on it: his father and/or grandfather; his brother, maybe; a mentor, hopefully; a couple of old friends, maybe; a new golf buddy — but that’s it. I think it must be hard to be a man. I feel sorry for men. Am I nuts? Except for the women in their lives, they don’t have a list like this. And I guarantee, everyone of us mentioned in this lovely blog has our own long long list of strong amazing women. Man, are we lucky.

    • Nance, as I was writing this I kept thinking of more and more women I wanted to talk about, and I had that same thought – that each of these women has her own list of women. It’s pretty lovely and pretty powerful. We ARE lucky.

      It’s an interesting thought – a man’s list. If any man ever writes one, I’d be curious to read it. (And I think every day in International Men’s Day.) 🙂


  4. Jen Perry Hughes says:

    YOU are one incredible woman. What a beautiful tribute to not only the women who’ve impacted your life so deeply, but to women in general. I’m honored to know you, dear lady. Thank you for sharing the richness of your heart and mind with us!

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