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Photograph: Jay Muhlin

Public eye: Rachel Wallace, 24

New York street interviews: Stories from the sidewalk as told by real New Yorkers about their lives in the city that never sleeps.

By Kate Lowenstein

E 11th St between First Ave and Ave A

What do you do? I'm an actor. I was actually just cast in Mary Poppins. I'm going to be doing it on tour; I'll play the understudy for Mary Poppins.

What's your favorite Mary Poppins song? Hmm. I think it's one that's not actually in the show, just in the movie. It's called "I Love to Laugh." It's the scene where they're on the ceiling, and their laughter makes them fly.

All I can think of right now is the whole Spider-Man debacle. [Laughs] Yeah. Mary Poppins has fewer injuries than Spider-Man, and Spider-Man hasn't opened yet.

Does doing your job—with all those auditions—make you comfortable with rejection? Maybe. What I've learned is, I go in and enjoy my time in the audition room, and as soon as I walk out I stop thinking about it. All we can do is be grateful when an opportunity rolls around.

It's like dating...or waiting for a table at the Spotted Pig. [Laughs] Right! You learn that opportunity doesn't happen unless you make it happen. For instance, I would have never thought I'd do online dating. Lame people do that. But then I realized, if I wanted something to happen in my life, it would happen because I show up and I'm open.

And P.S., meeting people via e-mail is so much less sketchy than meeting them at a bar. It's so much more genuine, right? At a bar, it's like, All right, this person might be interested in seeing me for the next four hours, or they might actually be interested in something real. Online, you know they're interested.

And that they know how to put apostrophes in the right places. Exactly. You have to be capable of intriguing thought on the page.

Do understudies ever consider pulling a Tonya Harding? [Laughs] My friends are like, "We're totally going to pull a Tonya Harding." I'm like, "Please don't do that." In this profession, everything comes back around. In life, too. Better to just bide my time.

More from Rachel

"What'll I miss while on tour? I'm gonna miss fast and easy Thai food and the subway."

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