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Tell us what the union means to you by answering either or both of the questions below:

  • How did you get your membership card?

  • Why are you a proud union member?

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“I started acting as a teen and, over the years, I experienced harassment and even assault. I met with my local union reps and talked to them about how I could be safe from unwanted advances or harassment. The union reps were so supportive and encouraging and gave me all the resources I needed to feel like I could work safely in the industry again. Thanks for supporting me through some tough times!” — Jessica Furhmaneck

“It’s my two-year SAG-AFTRA anniversary. I never expected to be on this journey at this point of my life, but the ride has been so much fun. I don’t know where it will lead, but I’ve been blessed with this experience.” — Joseph Kelly

“With my five-year LA-Aversary coming up on June 1, look what showed up in the mail! To say I’m excited and proud is an understatement. Being a SAG-AFTRA actor has been on my goal list for quite a while now … and feeling beyond fortunate during what has been an incredibly hard time for so many. Sending love to all my fellow actors and creatives. Keep pushing through and don’t give up. We will be back on set one day.” — Abbie Georganna

A project needed a stand-in for a pretty tall guy, and I fit the bill. I did two days of pre-production and a week on the actual shoot! This led to me getting my first day play on a network series. I'm proud to have earned membership! – David Nikolas

“I joined SAG-AFTRA after two years of working on multiple sets…I believe diversity is important in this industry and I’m happy to be Hispanic and a SAG AFTRA member” – Alonso Saravia

“Joining the union changed my life and helped make my dreams become a reality, especially as an actor with a diverse background. SAG-AFTRA has been there for me in times of need and has been that frequency I needed to help reboot my alignment with where I am in my journey. SAG-AFTRA always reminds me that there are a tribe and community that will always be there for me no matter what comes my way.” – Alisa Reyes

“I was…at this Arizona school cleaning horse stalls as penalty for late class homework. A tug on my shirt collar occurred as I was scooping horse dung. I looked to see who was tugging at my clothing and heard, “You are what I have been looking all over the country for, kid.” It was Jack DeSort of DeSort & Sam Productions in Hollywood. He cast me for a principle National Oscar Meyer Hot Commercial titled Hot Diggity Dog: 1978.” – David Marc Nims

“I got my SAG-AFTRA card by getting upgraded to a principal performer on the set of the Disney film Holes. I have been a SAG-AFTRA member since 2003 and proudly represent SAG-AFTRA everywhere I go, including red carpets!” – Alex Castillo

"I'm a proud union member because there are many unscrupulous producers who have taken advantage of young talent for a long time. I got my SAG card in 1987, after being upgraded as a background actor on the TV version of Fame, on which I worked regularly. Now I'm the voice of Dodger Stadium as the public address announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers! I'm an announcer and voice talent for advertisers like Toyota and Liberty Mutual Insurance and I'm the ringside announcer for the American Rescue Dog Show on Hallmark Channel. Union Strong!" – Todd Leitz

“I wish I can say I'm playing an EMT on some TV show but this is as real as it gets. I'm blessed to live another day to help someone in need. Let's do our part by keeping our distance, washing our hands and staying home if we’re sick. To all my SAG-AFTRA family: Please stay strong! It takes all of us to get through this.” – Amir Abdalla

"Having my SAG-AFTRA membership card is something I’m very proud of as they’re hard to earn and highly sought after. I got mine from working on Burt Wonderstone with the kind and brilliant Steve Carrell who made everyone feel welcome on set. Being SAG-AFTRA means being protected, better pay, being among those who inspire and having the chance to vote for and celebrate the leaders in our community each year." – Eve Dawes

"Thirty years ago, I was doing scratch demos for a little project. Fun music; we thought it might go somewhere. Then we were offered around six SAG recording dates, but you had to pony up and join the union. Some folks said, “Why lay out this cash for a cartoon?” I had the money at the time, and I thought the sessions would eventually cover the union dues. Boy, did they ever! Beauty and the Beast was my first SAG gig! Over a dozen Disney features and many other TV, film and commercial projects later, I’m entering my fifth decade in the entertainment business, and it IS entertaining! Thirty years in the union. Thanks, SAG-AFTRA!" – Wilbur Pauley

"I am a #sagaftramember since 1998, after booking a Burrell-produced national voiceover commercial, “Softer Side Of Sears”, in Chicago. I am a proud member…because we are represented with protections where we are not able to protect ourselves." – Maia

"I travel around the world and, as a proud SAG AFTRA member, working on production is never far from my mind!" – Tania Anderson

"Proud to be a 40-year member of SAG-AFTRA!" – Stephanie Angelo

"I booked a costar role on The Rookie! Being an athlete, I always relate athletics to the industry. I'll strive to continue working hard and making this union proud." – James Achille

My career path to becoming an actor started when I was 13 years old. I’m proud and honored to show my determination has gotten me this golden ticket that has launch[ed] my acting and stunt career to the next level. This is my ultimate achievement unlocked! – Mike Marin

"Years and years ago, I got a voucher on The Ghost Whisperer. I moved away from the US, but came back and started doing background work. Getting my card in the mail was a validating moment. I am now part of an incredible group of inspiring, talented, supportive and just overall wonderful people creating beautiful things for the world to enjoy." – Jeroen Paul Vahrmeijer

"I'm a New York-based actor and singer-songwriter from Puerto Rico. I was able to join the union through an independent film that actually talked about Latina women in the film industry. I'm very happy that I got my card by playing a role that represents my culture and the diversity that is rightfully coming to the industry. Never stop working for your passion." – Maricelis Galanes

"I earned my SAG-AFTRA card 30 years ago while working for a New York City radio station. Since then, I have worked as an actor and broadcaster and recently wrote my first book, The Name Dropper, about working in the entertainment industry. Including the time I spent working on the board of our union, I am so proud to be a member of SAG-AFTRA." – Tim Tyrell

"34 years, 45 television episodes, 10 movies, thousands of TV news reports and eight headshot sessions later, I am as proud to be a SAG-AFTRA member as I was on the day that I joined. Membership in SAG-AFTRA has made so many of my dreams come true. It started in 1985, when I was hired at KTTV as a news reporter. My career really took off when I got my first SAG job playing a newscaster in Cagney and Lacey. Today, the fun and thrill of getting to do something I really love continues. Thank you, SAG-AFTRA." – Saida Pagan

"I am a combat veteran who decided to pursue my dream to become an actor seven years ago. I’m now a member of this prestigious union alongside actors and performers I respect and admire. I couldn’t be more proud to be a SAG-AFTRA member and am extremely excited for what’s yet to come." – Mu-Shaka Benson

"Becoming a member or SAG-AFTRA has been a huge goal of mine. At the age of 45, I decided I had to pursue my passion and my husband laughed and said, “Keep dreaming!” Well, good thing I did!" – Pam Renall

"I got my card doing a SAG-AFTA new media series called Morning Smoke. I got this job through Backstage. I’m so honored to join this union which represents the faces and voices that entertain and inform America and the world." – Joe Lagville

"It's been a long journey, but I'm finally a SAG-AFTRA member! Couldn't ask for a better birthday gift than joining the union. I moved to LA roughly a year ago [and] dove into the world of background acting, which has become my survival job while I audition for other projects. It was the best thing that could happen to me. I was able to learn more not only about my job as an actor by observing veteran actors in action, but also about everyone else's job on set, giving me more understanding and respect for the movie-making process as a whole." – Katherine Novak

"Working in the film industry has been a hobby of mine for years. I was in the right place at the right time as background on The Nice Guys when their chosen stand-in fell through…Within minutes, I was the new stand-in, receiving my coveted final voucher. I'm honored to be a member of the SAG-AFTRA family and proud to stand unified with so many great people who value who we are!" – Amy Westmoreland

“I was doing theater in New York and [then] came out to Los Angeles to continue studying with my mentor Stella Adler one summer. While here, I got a part in the film Lifeguard with Sam Elliot. BAM! I became a member of SAG-AFTRA and [am] proud to still be a union member.” - Louise Diana

My professional acting career began as a background in a Super Bowl Commercial, then House of Cards for multiple seasons and episodes. I finally became eligible [to join SAG-AFTRA] during work on a major super hero movie that opens next summer. - Calvin Tucker Jr.

As a retired broadcaster, I have been in this business – first in Cuba since 1950 and in the United States as a member of AFTRA first and SAG-AFTRA later – since 1971. The results and the experience on both radio and television have been extremely important and successful in my career. Proud to be a member of this organization! – Carlos Alvarez Del Castillo

“I joined SAG-AFTRA through the cooperative agreement with Actor's Equity, where I'm also a proud union member. I have worked in government, industry and the non-profit sector. I keenly understand the importance of having capable, productive and motivated workers in any industry. As a proud union member, I am pleased to be part of the continu[ed] tradition of preserving these gains for future generations.” – Elliott Bales

"I was working as a background actor on Steven Spielberg's West Side Story to make ends meet. I was booked for five days of work and on the second day, a production assistant asked if I had ever been given a Taft Hartley. Right then and there, I knew I was going to be bumped up to union background actor [contract coverage]. I ended up being a union background actor for all four remaining days, enabling me to qualify for SAG-AFTRA membership. As soon as my time on the film was over I went straight to the SAG-AFTRA office in NYC and applied for membership." – Johnny Olmez

"Holding My SAG-AFTRA card. Proud to be a member!" – Domenic Arduino

"I joined SAG in 1993 after doing a radio commercial warning kids against the dangers of drugs. I am proud to be a member of the now SAG-AFTRA union and hope I can contribute whatever I can to make it a better and stronger union for all." – Steve Brody

"Being a SAG-AFTRA member since I was eight years old means a lot to me. I have learned so much! One thing that being a member has taught me is that good things come when you never give up! Sometimes you don’t get a role and it can be sad, but I know to be patient and always keep trying. So the lesson of the day is to “never give up!” I love my SAG-AFTRA family!" Eva Shadi – Eva Shadi

“I started this love affair with acting in 1997 and gained my first Taft-Hartley waiver in 1998. After gaining the second in 2003, I embarked on a much unintended 15-year hiatus. In that time away I became a husband and father to eight children, a US Army combat veteran and law enforcer. It is with the utmost humbleness and disbelief that I can finally say I am a member of SAG-AFTRA! This is a milestone over 20 years in the making.” – Wayne T. Stevens

“Three years of hard work, dedication, determination, education (about the industry), persistence, family, friends, faith, community and believing in myself are what it took to get my SAG-AFTRA card. With all the encouragement and support on my side, I was able to get three background vouchers [to] be eligible for the first time. And now that hard work has finally paid off. I’m officially a SAG-AFTRA member as of today and now it’s time to take off.” – Bryce Rubie

“I have been a proud SAG-AFTRA member since 1987. I couldn't imagine being an actor without the protection and support of SAG-AFTRA. Now, I get to welcome in my son as a member of this great union.” – Camryn Manheim with Milo Manheim

I went in for a Pat Moran audition in Baltimore for a speaking role on a project called Magic Hour - AKA Wonder Woman 1984. I never heard back, so I assumed that I didn’t get it and that was that. Weeks later I get a call asking me to come in for a fitting! I went in and ended up getting a featured background extra role allowing me to work for three days as opposed to the one day I tried out for. All the heroes I look up to in films – like Heath Ledger, Anne Hathaway and Robert Downey Jr. – are all part of SAG-AFTRA. To be included within that group just feels so surreal to me. I’m so lucky, honored and overjoyed to be a part of the union.” – Jesse Milliner

“I’m so grateful to hold this card! If I only knew [earlier] what support and resources I’d receive by joining the union I would have focused on joining years ago. I am so grateful for everyone who’s been on this journey with me. Here’s to leveling up and having the backs of the amazing talent of this union. We are the union. To everyone out there just starting out or who have been on this journey for a while, I wouldn’t wait another minute to join or make that your focus.” – Timmy H. Barron

“I did my first background gig on the movie Public Enemies directed by Michael Mann in Chicago. The manager of the Biograph Theater thinks the box office is going to be robbed after the last show because four men are standing across the street watching the box office. What the men are looking for is a signal from FBI Special Agent Melvin Purvis (played by Christian Bale) that John Dillinger is coming out from the last show. Me and three other cops are sent to the Biograph to check them out, or as Director Michael Mann told me, to "roust-‘em". In my scene, I was talking to one of the guys when Purvis (Bale) pushes me out of the way to tell my Sergeant that the men are with him and working a case with the FBI. At this point, I take exception to him laying hands on me and we have words. Mr. Mann liked it. Later, the production assistant gave me some papers to sign and [union] card was born. Will never forget the feeling of receiving my first card in the mail.” – Roger Wiggins

"While at a Women in Film & TV meeting, we heard a fellow member mention that her script was purchased at Cannes! The filmmaker said she was going to need to hire SAG-AFTRA actors! I leaned over and whispered in Susannah’s ear, “'let’s show our cards!' And we did!" – Susannah Devereux and Carla Christina Contreras

To see more member stories

SAG-AFTRA members from across the country share their union pride. Share a video of you with your membership card — or simply a photo of you and your card — and you may just get shown on, at an upcoming member meeting or in a SAG-AFTRA publication!

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