Faces Of The Fund: Meg Thomas
Meg serves as Manager of Special Events and Membership in the Western Region and is the face of The Fund for our members in the Southern California area. She also spearheads our fundraising events in Los Angeles.
Actors Fund: How did you come to work at The Fund?
Meg: About six years ago I followed up on a listing to volunteer at one of the events that we were doing here in Los Angeles, and that’s how I came on board. I believe that was in 2006 and soon they asked me to help produce some special events. I did that as an independent contractor for a while. And then, almost two years ago, they offered me a full time position—Manager of Special Events and Membership—and I was beyond thrilled to come on board full-time!
AF: What did you do before you came to The Fund?
Meg: Well, I studied theatre and acting in college in San Diego and moved to LA to pursue a career in acting. I did some low budget film work (horror films, I was a screamer!), did a few commercials and worked as a personal assistant to James Best, who was on Dukes of Hazzard at that time. Then the actors’ strike hit in the 1980s and I went to work for a health club because I needed a job. As chance would have it, I ended up opening my own chain of clubs. Through that, entertainment remained my number-one priority and love all along—and I continued to produce some low-budget films while running my businesses—the success of the clubs afforded me the luxury to pursue my dreams. I eventually sold my clubs and went back to pursuing entertainment full time.
AF: Why do you think The Fund is so important for the Los Angeles entertainment community.
Meg: Film and television can be a very tough, cyclical career. It’s up and down, and there’s no guarantee of work—because you’re working this week, this month, or this year, doesn’t mean you’re going to have the same income or job next year. Once the show or movie ends, you’re back looking for work. You have to really be committed to it, and the ups and downs are hard. And yet, in the arts, this is what we do.
When I found out what The Actors Fund does, I was amazed, because I didn’t know there were organizations that did that kind of thing—helped people (in entertainment) in times of need or crisis. I didn’t know that there was any kind of safety net in this industry, and that’s what made me want to volunteer. Since I’ve been here, I see first-hand what we do and who we care for. It’s an amazing organization, and I’m behind it 100%. We get people over a hurdle, through a rough spell, and back on track. They don’t need to give up their dreams. Sometimes we just need a hand up. And a lot of these people are the ones that pay it forward to us later on, and it’s pretty amazing. It’s like being a member of an extended family—others help when one falls.
AF: So as an Angeleno, we have to ask—what’s your favorite awards show?
Meg: Well, I’ve never been invited to the Oscars, and of course I would love to go—but I have to say the best night out here is our ownTony Awards® Viewing Party. It’s the only event like it anywhere—as the only live streaming of the actual Tony’s. It’s a really fun and intimate night, where all our guests enjoy dinner while watching the Tony’s live—and they get their own show during the commercial breaks with other special guests. This year we’re honoring the wonderful Jason Alexander. It’s really not to be missed!
AF: Give us your pitch: Why should people become an Actors Fund member?
Meg: Because The Fund supports the arts, it’s that simple. The arts are something that define our lives, be it film, stage, dance, opera—we NEED them in our lives, and this community must be nurtured and supported. And here’s the thing, it’s not only for actors—it’s foreverybody that works in entertainment. A lot of people in the arts live paycheck to paycheck or making barely living wages—not everybody makes the big bucks we hear so much about. And it takes all of these people behind the scenes, to create the end result you ultimately see. The set decorators, the costumers, the makeup, the writers, editors—we help everyone. If you believe in the arts, then supporting what we do helps us continue to provide for these people who work to create great art and entertainment.
What’s on your iPod these days?
Well, I recently saw American Idiot, so Green Day is there. There’s Adele, some Amy Winehouse, Dave Matthews Band, and maybe a little blast from my past—Bob Seger and those kinds of guys. And a little bit of classical, just because I’m fairly wound-up all of the time, and sometimes I need to relax and just breathe.
Join The Actors Fund for access to the best seats in the house, and you’ll also help people in performing arts and entertainment in need. Get more information on the benefits of your Actors Fund membership. Or call Meg Thomas at 323.330.2434, email firstname.lastname@example.org.