This Introverted UX Designer Doubles As An Improv Performer At Night: How She Pushes Through Her Comfort Zone

No one would ever accuse YiRan Carroll of not taking her own advice. “Do what you're passionate about and what makes you happy, not only what you feel like you should be doing," is this double agent's direction to women looking to juggle different activities in their daily lives. A trained graphic and user experience designer who found success working in New York’s demanding advertising scene, YiRan created a second life on the improv comedy stage, an activity that was far outside of her comfort zone. A natural introvert who feared performing in front of crowds, she took a risk by enrolling in an intensive training course at the Magnet Theater Training Center because she felt that improv training would allow her to improve her presentation skills and motivate her to try new things in her career.

Bustle and Rimmel London were inspired by YiRan's willingness to try new things, so we sat down to talk to her about how she builds up her courage and balances both lives.

Time Management

Free time is a huge luxury for YiRan and she admits that finding it is her biggest challenge. When asked what the biggest challenge of having a double life is, she immediately replies, “Lack of time! And balancing all of my priorities. I don't see my friends or husband enough, but they are so supportive because they know I love my double life so much.” When she does find the time? “I binge watch Netflix with my husband while eating Seamless on the couch.”

Find A Look That Takes You From Day To Night

Fortunately for YiRan, her day job does not require a formal dress code. “My wardrobe definitely needs to go day to night because I have no time to change. Comfy but pulled together is a must. Luckily, I don't have a formal dress code at work, but I like feeling confident in my appearance,” she explains.

Instead of a change in wardrobe, YiRan relies on the power of makeup to give her the bold look necessary to take the stage. Whereas her signature day look relies on application of mascara and eyeliner paired with a light coat of neutral lipstick or stain, she opts for more powerful colors and heavier application at night to align with the loud performances of her group and the colorful costumes. "I tend to reapply my lip color--usually a liner and a bright red or pink tube lipstick or stain. I usually stash whatever product I used in the morning in my makeup bag. Sometimes I'll also reapply a volumizing black mascara. And I also usually reapply a cheek stain or powder blush. Then I tend to refresh my perfume with a spritz from a sample."

A Typical Morning

Unsurprisingly for someone with so many evening activities, YiRan looks to her mornings for time to dedicate to herself and side-projects. “I am most productive in the morning. I love the possibility of the day, and I love that time in the morning when it's quiet and it feels like I have the day to myself. I am in my best mood first thing in the morning. I wake up anytime between 5am-7am. If I have work to do for a freelance project (sometimes I design stuff for the Magnet Theater) then I'll use the morning time before work to work on that.”

How Others React

YiRan’s also lucky to work in an environment where her peers are just as dedicated to afterwork activities as she is, so she explains that no one is “too surprised” when they find out about her double life in improv. People’s first reaction when they find out? Usually it’s “I’ve always wanted to try improv!” And luckily for her coworkers, she’s helping them do just that! “I've been helping some coworkers organize an improv group at work. It's so exciting to see my friends at work get excited about something I love!”

How Improv Helps Her Day Job

Her original intent when starting improv was to become more extroverted and less afraid of public speaking. Her training in the comedy style has done just that. “I wanted to get better at presenting to clients and coworkers—I definitely think that improv has helped in that department.” Aside from the boost in presentation skills, improv has also helped her perservere through difficult situations. “Working at a company where everyone is smarter than me helps me stay motivated and accountable, which is really helpful in improv because sometimes you bomb a scene and feel kind of bad about it. But like anything, sticking with it even when you don't feel like you're improving is really important and helpful.”

This is a sponsored post with Rimmel London.