It all began at an audition. When Cassidy was in second grade, her mom had her audition to perform with the Grand Rapids Civic Theater. She reminisces, “I remember that audition so clearly. It was the first one I had ever gone to in my life. There were several other eight-to-ten-year-olds, and the director had us all go into the room and sit in a circle and read the lines.” The act that she was to perform was a toddler having a tantrum. The people who went before her were not passionate enough, she thought, for the feeling the child they were portraying was to inflict upon the observers. She remembers her mom telling her to “get into it” as soon as possible.
As soon as she was into the scene, kicking and screaming the lines, the director asked her to stop and she stood up calm, and pleased with herself. “It was the first time I experienced the freedom of theater,” she observed, “It was the first time I had been able to operate under a different set of rules. It was still me, but I could do things and say things and express things in character that I never would have been able to in real life. And it was so, so much fun.” Needless to say, she got the part. Her journey had begun.
Stories have been integrated and woven into Cassidy Keenan’s life ever since she started living one herself. Life is full of so many twists and turns that going about it without writing it down, or telling someone else about it is not an option. Born in Hudson, Michigan, outside of Grand Rapids to a family of 5 she is full of tales of childhood incidents that shaped her. “I’m a storyteller, I think that’s always how it’s been”.
People are her passion–stories can’t be told if the people who are able to write them don’t do so. Her bright voice and calming personality is nothing short of what it takes for someone to smile and open up. Her bubbly vivaciousness is definitely attributed to her love for those around her and the theater arts.
As a little girl, Cassidy was always intrigued by the theater and those acting on stage and performing for the ones who wish to watch the story unfold. This has become part of what she loves to do as a Junior at Wheaton College, seeking and pursuing a degree in English Writing, a minor in Theater, and, hopefully, a Certificate in Journalism. She was led to Wheaton College for many reasons, but mostly, it was the again, the people that were the deciding factor. “People like there are at Wheaton, don’t exist elsewhere like they do here”, she concluded when asked why Wheaton was where she decided to attend. There was a particular incident when she had visited before deciding that gave her a different perception of the college.
She had broken her foot before she was scheduled to come stay for a weekend, and she was with her mother about to attend a chapel service. While they were trying to figure out how to get the wheelchair she was in up the stairs, a girl they didn’t know ran up to them and asked them to wait where they were. She ran up the stairs, into the building, and opened up the door at the top of the ramp from the inside so they could get in. This touched her in ways she couldn’t express and knew that this place was special and that the mindset of people on campus was unlike the other schools she had visited. Their love of people and genuine intent on learning about others seemed to match her own desires, and she decided that Wheaton was where she wanted to be.
She is a hands-on person and always has been, especially in a working environment–she doesn’t like any taste of boredom to enter her job. “I’m never afraid of hard work,” she said when asked in her interview, “I’m afraid of not having enough work.” This is indicative of the kind of effort she puts into her life, relationships, and God. While at Wheaton she has worked a variety of jobs including everything from retail, event planning for the fine arts department, to waitressing. By far, her favorite job has been working with a catering company as, “[w]atching people have such huge, formative, life experiences, and knowing that I got to help make that happen was so cool.”
Her hope for the future is not a surefire job that she wants to attain, but rather she is willing to see where God, time, and her major will take her. College is not cheap, as she is paying her own way through herself, proving her commitment to her education, and a job that could match her calling and her financial necessities would be ideal.
If she were to not have to think about that aspect of a vocation and career, however, she would choose to either be at a publishing house doing human relations work or to be a performer. She is an Entertainer and there is no better way for her to please those around her than with her gifts and talents. She can use her experience to bolster others for both her and their enjoyment. Her love language is verbal, so words hold their meaning, and telling other people about what she sees in them is nothing short of authentic and special.
Cassidy sees herself as resilient, and that is a quality that she finds most beneficial about herself and it is something that she values as in her childhood it was not uncommon for her family to move around a lot. It has helped her with her college transition and will be having to adjust to new environments wherever she may go.
Living in a time where people like instant gratification is hard as the beauty of the storyline has gone out the window and the time-filler action has instead captivated audiences with the wonders of CGI in all their fabricated majesty. Cassidy is someone who brings the wonder of the theater and the enthralling spin of a story back to life and contradicts views on what people find entertaining in this day and age, fighting for what she believes in and proving that sometimes, throwing a tantrum may not always be a bad thing.