One of Stephanie Beauchamp’s first roles as an actress – just three years ago – was as a stenographer in a TV show, before she knew anything about stenography. Now she not only has her own IMDB page, but is enrolled as a court reporting student at Plaza College in Forest Hills, N.Y., as well.
JCR | You’ve had a career as a dancer and actress. How did you get into stenography?
SB | I first learned about stenography when I was cast as a stenographer on a show called “Tommy,” starring Edie Falco. While on set, I did a quick Google search on how the writer worked so I could fake it as best as possible. We’ll never know because I was cut out of the scene, but the next week I was cast as a 1970’s army “hero” typist. They filmed closeups of my hands and my actions of typing, and one of the crew members complimented me afterwards on my “beautiful typing.” I put those two experiences together in my mind and started researching stenography and decided to go for it.
JCR | What do you love about stenography?
SB | What I love most about stenography is the amount of potential the field holds, especially for me and my fellow pandemic-era students. We are in a unique position that, upon graduation, we are going to be able to pick and choose the kind of work we want. Prior restrictions have been waived or loosened. It seems that everyone wants us, and we hold all the cards.
JCR | What are your plans for when you finish school? What is your dream job?
SB | When I was deciding whether or not to pursue stenography, a big selling point was that I could maintain my freelance lifestyle, which I am not sure I am willing to give up. However, I am trying to remain open to all possibilities. Of course, I want to be a real stenographer, but my dream job would be a combination of my talents, to have a recurring role as a court reporter on TV. And since we are dreaming, I would love that show to take place far into the future, maybe even in space and on another planet, to really drill it into people’s heads that, despite all our technology, the best way to get an accurate record is by having a real person take it down.
JCR | What do you do when you aren’t studying? What are your hobbies?
SB | I am an artist and have an insatiable need to express myself. When I’m not studying, I can usually be found moving my body in some way, reading, or making something. I love cooking and engage in all manner of needlework, and am an avid sewist, knitter, crocheter, and occasional quilter, dyer, and gardener.
I have been a dancer for over fifty years and have a strong physical practice. I am currently participating in a yoga challenge of taking thirty classes in sixty days. Since learning stenography, I have been especially attuned to the needs of my hands, arms, and shoulders. I have learned to stretch these areas in every possible way and now include it as part of my regular practice. I taught dance and somatics for over twenty years and would love to one day develop a physical maintenance program specifically for stenographers.
JCR | Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself?
SB | After a dance performance last month, an audience member came up to me, surprised, and said incredulously, “You’re not tall.” I hear this a lot, and it is a credit to my dance training to appear bigger than I actually am, and at 5’4″ I am not tall. Yet onstage people perceive me as being tall. My point is, even if you are one way, it does not mean you cannot be, or are not, another way. People’s perceptions of you are their own. I did not start steno school until I was 50. Anything is possible and there are no limits. You can start (or stop) anything at any time that you want. Life is meant to be lived on your own terms.
Stephanie Beauchamp, of Jersey City, N.J., is a student at Plaza College in Forest Hills, N.Y. You can see her IMDB page here.
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