A self proclaimed “Mill Valley mom,” Cate Hayman spent the month of January hiking in the morning, doing pilates, and getting coffee with her friends — as well as auditioning for 14 college-level musical theater programs.

Hayman, who graduated from Tam in December following the first semester of her senior year, has spent much of her time travelling across the country to audition for bachelor of fine arts (BFA) musical theater programs. In fact, Hayman estimated that she only spent three consecutive days in Mill Valley during all of January, precisely the reason that she decided to graduate a semester early.

“I didn’t have faith in myself that I would pass any of my classes without going to any of my classes,” Hayman said. Although Hayman has finished taking high school classes, she plans to get her diploma with the Class of 2016 in June.

Hayman explained the subjectivity the audition process is. “Someone might be looking for a 5’10” blonde,” Hayman said, inadvertently describing herself. “Someone else might be looking for a 5’2” redhead. They could be looking for a drag queen to play Cinderella and you just [wouldn’t] know. You could be the best person in the room and audition for 14 schools and not get into a single one… because you aren’t in the right place at the right time. It’s crazy.”


According to Hayman, musical theater is a form of storytelling, one that has the ability to impact an audience in an artistic way. “It brings everyone from all backgrounds together because art is a universal language. It touches on a lot of controversial issues and it touches on a lot of current issues which people can relate to,” Hayman said.

Hayman is especially drawn to the character work that accompanies musical theater performances. “It’s…a way to escape into another world — oh my gosh this sounds so cheesy — because you take on a character,” she said. “It’s easy to get caught up in that character and forget about everything that’s going on in your life.

Along with auditioning for schools, Hayman flew to Miami, Florida to participate as a finalist in the YoungArts competition. Of the 12,000 artists ages 15 to 18 who applied, 842 were deemed winners and only 168 were chosen as finalists and got to go to Miami. Hayman now joins the likes of Nicki Minaj and Viola Davis as YoungArts finalists. During the weeklong competition, Hayman participated in workshops and intensives, and also showcased her talent to a live audience. “It was so diverse in the kinds of artists that were there. You could just take in all the art and all of the passion that was there,” Hayman said. “I’ve never been around people who pushed me more as an artist. YoungArts changed my life.”

To add to her impressive January résumé, Hayman recently found out that she was one of 60 artists in the country nominated for the U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, a prestigious award that recognizes high school artists for both their academic and artistic achievements. Her nomination was based on a performance that she gave at YoungArts. Of the 60 artists nominated, 20 will be honored with a trip to the White House and performance in front of President Obama.

Hayman’s impressive list of accomplishments doesn’t end there. In the spring of last year, she was signed to a plus-size modeling agency in San Francisco, though her hectic schedule has prevented her from attending a casting call yet. “I’m signed as a plus-size model, which is just awesome,” she said. “Apparently plus size models make more money than any other type of model.”

Although Hayman’s modelling future may be uncertain at the moment, she definitely plans to pursue musical theater as her long-term career. “I just want to perform wherever I can and hopefully I can perform enough where I can actually make a living out of it and not be a waitress,” she said. “It’s recommended that if you…have a plan B then you don’t pursue [musical theater]. And I don’t have a plan B.”


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