Actress Kellie Cockrell's Advice on Breakups, Courage + Dating Intentionally



Kellie_big





We met up with multi-talented Star Trek and former Disney movie actress + designer Kellie Cockrell in a beautiful coworking space in the heart of the Downtown LA’s Arts District before she set off to Europe. She opened up about knowing when it’s the right time to end a relationship and how her perspective on abundance keeps her optimistic in love and life.

HER FIRST HEARTBREAK
“The first serious boyfriend that I had, I had in high school. It was my first major relationship. I was a sophomore, he was a senior and I thought he was really cool. But I kind of knew that it wasn’t right and by the time we broke up, so I was more relieved than anything. I felt literally free afterwards. We had dated for about 2 years and I felt anguish constantly going back and forth. Should we stay together? Should we not?  There was always this indecisive battle going on within myself and when I finally decided that I was done, I felt free. As much as I cared about that person, I had to care about my life more.”

HEART SQUEEZES
“There have been a couple times where I’ve dated guys and while we weren’t necessarily a couple, we had been hanging out for a few months. We weren’t defined and when I approached our situation asking, ‘What should we call this? What are we?’ they’d come back with 'I’m just not really into this.' And there’s a feeling you feel as if your heart has been squeezed. It’s a physical feeling and it sucks. I’m from Utah and most of my friends are Mormon and/or married. I’m not Mormon and I’m not married. I have a twin sister who’s married. So for a while, I felt this strong pressure to have a serious relationship. I felt like everyone back home looked at me as this spinster lady. It was probably my own insecurities projected onto them - no one actually said that - but I just felt really upset after each guy I’d date for a few months didn’t want to be together, or when the relationship ended. And I would be exhausted. I felt like I couldn’t deal with dating anymore. It sucks to be lonely. Especially when you compare yourself to people that are in relationships. Why can’t I find my person and know for sure that they’re the one? All of these other people seem so certain.

Kellie Shelf2

HOW SHE MENDED
“I’ve always relied on being active of some sort. Working out and dancing. When you’re doing something like that, you feel very strong, sexy and proud. That always makes me feel better. I love contemporary, lyrical jazz dance classes. You can really express yourself. I hung out with friends a lot and just did things that made me happy. I tried to not sit at home and dwell. Your couch can just suck you in if you’re not aware. You just have to force yourself to get out of the house. I also read The Untethered Soul. It’s about having perspective on things, practicing letting things go and not letting things build up inside of you. Just realizing that nothing is really a big deal in the scheme of things.”

THE COURAGE TO BREAK UP
“I feel like I’ve broken up with more people than have broken up with me, but the struggle of deciding to break up with them is very much present and very hard.  Luckily, I’ve never been in the situation where someone’s cheated on me or we ended with some raging argument. Things have always been like, ‘Hey, it’s not working and I’m sorry that it isn’t.’ And it sucks because sometimes it’s easier to break up when there’s a big reason for doing so. It takes a lot of courage not to stay in a relationship because it’s convenient. It’s actually so difficult.”

WHAT SHE WOULD TELL HER YOUNGER SELF
“Pick who you’re going to date intentionally. Look at who they are from a broad perspective. It’s very easy to just find someone that you think is attractive and that you feel really good with. It’s easy to just slide into a relationship. I’d remind myself to consider, What is it that they do that you like? What do they do that inspires you? Do they have a work ethic that you admire? I would tell myself to be more objective. There are so many people in the world - so many great guys to date. To pick someone because it’s convenient or because it’s easy is tempting but leads to frustration.”

ON CHASING LOVE
“As I get a little older, I’ve realized that I sort of know right away if it’s going to work. If he's mutually into you then you should go for it. But if it seems like you’re chasing him and he's sort of whatever about it, then end it - it shouldn’t be that way. If it’s meant to be, it happens easily. If you have to push it, it’s most likely just not going to work. You shouldn't have to (and you can't) convince someone to be interested in you.”

Kellie Wall1

BREAKUP VICES
“Social media is hard. Having the ability to go onto Facebook and see a post from your ex is hard to resist sometimes. I try to have a lot of willpower. But every now and then, you’ll get that thought in your head, I’m just going to see that they’ve been up to. I do follow my exes on social media. Well I do on Facebook, but I don’t use Facebook nearly as much as I do Instagram. I use the turn-off notifications option. Even recently, my college boyfriend, whom I dated for 3 years, posted something about his current girlfriend that said, 'I never knew love before you.' I was just like, Well ok, that’s interesting that you feel like that. So I just hid the post.”

THE HARDEST LESSON SHE’S LEARNED ON LOVE
“It’s really easy to succumb to the fear of being lonely. It’s hard to know that you can be by yourself. That you don’t have to be with someone. That is something that every person should remember: whether or not you’re with this person, you’re going to be fine. Your life isn’t over. Your life isn’t defined by having this other person in it or not. And your self-worth isn’t defined by being with this person. I’m working on having the strength and courage to live by that.”

A RELATIONSHIP SHE ADMIRES
“I have 2 good friends who have been dating since high school and they have what I view as a model relationship. They both surf all the time. They’re super fit and active. There’s just something about them that you can tell they have confidence in the relationship. They’re never needy. They’re never showing a ton of annoying PDA. They just know that they love each other and that they’re each other’s people. They’ll go on trips [separately] for 2 weeks and not talk because they love traveling. One will go to Thailand, and they won’t have cell service and the other won’t question, 'What if they’re out there doing...?' They just don’t question. They love each other so much and have immense trust. And that’s what I want. You can either decide to trust the person you’re dating or not. And if you decide that you’re not going to trust, then you just shouldn’t be together.”

Kellie Couch

THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE OUT THERE FOR YOU
“Just knowing that there are so many good people out in the world keeps my heart open. Knowing that there is someone out there who will be a good enough fit that you will want to to commit to. I don’t think that there’s only one person for you. There are a lot of people who will be great for you. So if it doesn’t work with one person, just know that you’ll meet someone else. It might not be super easy to find. It can definitely be hard. But just knowing that it will happen is key.”

SAYING YES TO POSSIBILITY (+DATING APPS)
“Before I met my current boyfriend, I went on a lot of random dates through Tinder (it was still in its first stages!), and I’ve always had a great time. We always had a good first date but in the end neither of us were really feeling it. But it’s important to say yes to the possibility. I think a lot of people say no too much. 'No, she/he’s not cute enough' or 'he/she’s too short' or 'I don't want to use dating apps.' I'm an early adopter of new technology and ways of doing things, so I don't really get why people wouldn't utilize all the resources available. Obviously it would be great to meet someone by chance in person that you click with, but who cares if you meet them online? It's not important. If you jive well - that's what's important. Because really, you’re not going to be getting asked out by super hot dudes who are put-together all the time. And you might find out that the person you least expect to make you laugh actually does, and that's more important.”

WHAT SHE'S LOOKING FORWARD TO
“I have an activewear line with my twin sister where we sell rompers. My current projects include event production [at the time of interview she was preparing for Unique LA], photography and social media. I’m going to Europe for a month in September with my sister and friends. I’ve been wanting to travel again for so long!”

Kellie Shelf

HER INTENTION: BRAVE
“It takes a lot of bravery to do the uncomfortable and not give into fear. I recently watched a TED talk about bravery. They discussed that only 1 out of 10 people that want to make a change will actually succeed. The other 9 will back into the habit because it's so hard to consistently step out of one’s comfort zone. So my goal this year is to encourage myself to be brave to do the things I need to do in order to get where I want to be.”

Photographed by Ellen Huerta in Los Angeles.