Kalean Ung, MFA, Acting, Cal Arts

I first met Fonta Hadley at American Conservatory Theater’s Summer Training Congress (STC). As my voice and acting teacher, I was always compelled by the energy and passion Fonta put into her work and her students. Shortly after graduating from the STC, I began preparing to audition for MFA Acting programs around the country, and immediately contacted Fonta to arrange a series of private coachings.

Fonta was incredibly informative and supportive of this huge and important endeavor. She began by helping me pick out monologues that were appropriate, diverse and challenging for me. Then we worked meticulously through the text until it came out with a freedom and clarity I’d never experienced before. Every week we dug deeper; we worked to articulate the text and actions more clearly, to be more specific and grounded, and to develop structure with the ability to be flexible and present in the space.

One especially exciting aspect of working with Fonta was how she approached our work together as a true collaboration. Any problems I brought in we attacked as a team. Similarly, any progress I made on my own grew exponentially in our coaching sessions, leading to thrilling breakthroughs. I was always struck by how Fonta would always make me feel like a million dollars, but she was also realistic, challenging and straightforward. Fonta created a space where I felt safe to explore parts of me that I had never accessed before, leading me to discover a whole new range of mental, physical and emotional expression.

When the time came, I pranced into my auditions with the confidence that I knew my material inside and out, and that I could perform it with power, grace and integrity. By the end of the audition process, I was accepted to five schools, with multiple offers for full scholarships and stipends. I am proud to share that I am now in my first year at the California Institute of the Arts, where I am working towards my MFA in acting and truly living my dream. Great teachers are hard to come by, so it is with the utmost enthusiasm that I recommend Fonta to anyone who is passionate about their art and interested in exploring new horizons in themselves and in their work.