Singer, dancer, band member, emcee, and stage manager are a few of the titles Takara Speagle has had throughout her time in the performance industry.
“Born into” the performing world, Speagle said her musician parents instilled her passion for the arts from a young age. Singing as soon as she could talk and getting into dance lessons at around two and a half years old, Speagle said she continued to grow in her work.
She has sung the national anthem at ballgames, danced down Main Street at Disney, joined a Glee-like group, became the lead singer in a country cover band, and sang in Diagon Alley at Universal, making up a few of the experiences that shaped her into the person and performer that she is today.
“It’s very awesome that my parents set an example of being passionate about what they do full-time,” Speagle said. “You know, it’s not like your average nine to five. Our schedules are crazy.”
Her devotion to her craft has allowed her to see the performance world evolve into a more accepting environment. While she has witnessed the entertainment scene advance in being more welcoming, she said she wants to ensure performers give themselves the same grace they give others.
“I think with developing your craft, you also learn a lot about yourself and other people within your craft and how different you are from the girl next to you,” Speagle said. “I’ve had to overcome a lot of the age shame and the body shame that can come with being in this industry for so long and like having babies and, you know, getting older.”
She said she is creating and developing her own business to help women be more comfortable “in their own skin, their current skin and not just the skin they want to have,” as she said it is hard for performers not to be aware of how they look when they are trying to fit themselves into a “certain job.”
“It’s so hard to wrap your mind around that because as performers, we sometimes, and most times, consider our worth based on where we work or what part we booked or how high or low we can sing or how high we can kick our leg. Our worth is based on what shows we’ve
done; basically, our worth is based on our resume, and that’s not the case,” Speagle said. “It’s hard to get away from that, and I think it stems a lot from our self-confidence.”
While her business is still in its early days, she said she feels its mission will resonate with many women and performers who have been in her shoes. Having worked with Speagle over the last 13 years, Paul Creighton, theatrical agent and entertainment producer, said he has seen her grow in her talents and how she presents them exponentially.
They began working together in a Glee-styled entertainment group Creighton started called SING, which no longer tours. Regularly working together still, he said Speagle understands the business side of the industry better than most, which he said you can see in her smile.
“[Her smile] is a combination of her joy, with just a hint of ‘don’t mess with me because I know what’s going on,'” Creighton said.
He describes the performance industry as where people like him and Speagle can “make people smile” and “buoy their spirits.” As Speagle’s journey as a performer has no end in sight, she continues to reflect on how coming from her music-oriented family has helped mold her into who she is today.
“I just feel like music helps develop good humans, period. The arts help develop creativity and innovation, and you learn history and respect for people who are different than you and have different skills than you,” Speagle said. “And the arts, music, dance, and writers bring people together in a way that nothing else does. It’s a common ground, a common language, and it just unifies. I feel like it’s uplifting. There’s less negativity; it’s just all-around good vibes.”