St. John’s alumna turns comedian

20160322-DSC_0336.jpgWe met up with Grace Baldridge, class of 2009, to see what she is currently doing.

Please tell us about your life after St. John’s.
Life after St. John’s wasn’t exactly smooth. I attended Smith College in Massachusetts, solely to play basketball, but I tore my ACL early in the season. I left after a year
and moved in with my parents who had moved from Belgium to Kentucky. Ouch. During my year in Kentucky, I attended the local community college, coached a High School basketball team and tried standup comedy for the first time. After that, I knew I
needed to work in entertainment, so I transferred in Elon in North Carolina. My time at Elon was amazing. I lived with one of my best friends and fellow St. John’s alum, Haley Goss (Rafferty). I spent both of my summers at Elon living in Los Angeles and testing the waters before buying my one-way ticket in 2013. I had a variety of jobs when I first moved to Los Angeles. I worked as a producer’s assistant on shows like Whose Line Is It Anyway? and House Hunters. I was Director Luc Besson’s assistant for a full year before I decided to quit my office job and pursue comedy full-time. Most importantly, since leaving St. John’s, I got a big dog named Casper.

What do you currently do?
Currently, I host the entertainment talk show Pop Trigger which can be seen on The Young Turks Network. We have almost 400,000 subscribers on a network with 1.5 billion
views and counting. I also perform standup comedy all around the Los Angeles area.

How did St. John’s prepare you for adulthood?
St. John’s prepared me for adulthood by encouraging me to explore interests outside of my comfort zone and forcing me to adapt and grow my social skills. Your friendships are constantly evolving and changing when you attend an international school.
You have to learn to roll with the punches. People move and it’s sad, but you get over it and make new friends. Learning that at St. John’s made it easy for me to
pick up and move to Los Angeles without really knowing anyone.

What did you learn at St. John’s that has proven helpful in your career?
I learned the importance of mentors. There are some teachers and coaches at St. John’s that truly guided me in becoming who I am today, whether it was helping me achieve my goals athletically or figuring out why I would spend hours writing skits and fail to turn
in essays on time. I think it’s so important to have mentors within your chosen field that challenge and affirm you.

Which teachers/adults at St. John’s positively influenced you most?
Dr. Hausdorff has such a special place in my heart as perhaps the first person who realized my passion for comedy and performance even before I did. Coach Davis and Coach Laurent are angels on this Earth for putting up with the most persistently lazy basketball player in St. John’s history (me). And lastly, Mr. Graham took a risk and
cast me in Godspell my senior year of High School. I had no prior performance experience aside from assemblies, bless that guy.

What makes St. John’s special?
Hands down, what makes St. John’s special are the friendships and opportunities.
My time at St. John’s was a profoundly transformative experience. St. John’s cultivated
my sense of adventure from the young age of eight at Space Camp all the way to my
senior trip to Crete. And these experiences, the laughs and heartbreaks along the way,
formed superhuman friendships. The bond I have with my St. John’s friends is truly unique and unparalleled. They are my sanity and my international family.

What advice do you have for current St. John’s students with big dreams?
My advice would be to go for it—especially at your age. Do not buy into fear disguised as practicality. I hear stuff like, “I’m gonna get this degree because it’s easy to get
hired with and then work at this job I hate for five years and save up enough money AND THEN I will do the thing I really want to do.” I’m telling you, do the thing
now! Failure is always an option so you might as well fail at doing what you love rather than some job you hate.

Note: Since this interview was conducted, this article on Grace was published in the Huffington Post: