There are no hacks when it comes to making it big in Hollywood, but it helps to be a little delusional, according to Megan Stalter.
Within the last year, the actress has progressed from a girl from Ohio to one of the funniest women on TV. Starring on the Emmy-nominated series Hacks alongside Jean Smart is a dream for most young actresses, and Stalter says she immediately identified with the role of Kayla.
"You get good auditions all the time, but you don't always get something where you really see yourself in it and feel like you already have ideas about how to do it, like, 'Oh, my g-d, this will come so natural because it's such a funny part," she told PEOPLE. Part of what made the role so appealing is that the show's creators were perfectly on board with the cast improvising as much as they liked. And when you have an actress like Stalter, who cut her teeth in comedy clubs, you know you're en route for a win.
"There's nothing that compares to that high and the connection you have with the audience," the 31-year-old said of performing stand-up. "I was telling someone that when I'm on stage, I feel I'm fully in a different state. That sounds like I'm crazy, but that is how it feels. It's when I'm happiest."
After moving to New York in 2019, New York magazine named the funny woman one of the "comedians you should and will know in 2019." She followed up that honor the following year with a critic from the New York Times calling her sketch comedy's newest star. "In the constantly shifting ecosystem of young performers on Twitter and Instagram, the most vital voice to emerge during this anxious, isolating moment is that of Meg Stalter," said Jason Zinoman. Not too shabby for unprecedented times.
To her credit, Stalter has taken it all in stride and believes that a little bit of madness is the best way to achieve one's dreams. "I think in order to make it in acting or anything like that, you do have to be a little delusional in a way," the Yearly Departed star said. "You have to be your own biggest fan. I don't think you're able to go on auditions and write pilots without fully being like, 'Oh, I'm really good.' You have to feel like you're good because so many people are going to be like, 'You're not good.'"
Stalter's nugget of wisdom is to think that you are amazing so that others think it, too. We reckon it's a hack worth trying.