Meet Ali

Ali is an actor, writer, director, producer, activist, ambassador for Suffering the Silence, co-founder/co-artistic director of Reckless Theatrics, and the creator of Chronically Overdramatic.

She also happens to be sick as fuck.

After contracting the mono virus in October 2009 when she was 16, Ali was eventually diagnosed with multiple rare and chronic diseases. Instead of starting college after high school, she spent 6 years housebound. When she did leave, it was to see every doctor she could to try to figure out what was happening to her.

Photo by Amanda Crommett

At the end of 2015 after finally finding treatments that helped get her symptoms under control, she moved to NYC to study acting. She was hoping this would be a fresh start, where she could focus on acting and not her health. Instead, the IUD she had placed before moving to treat her PCOS and anemia caused her hemiplegic migraines to come out of remission and increased the number of blood clots caused by the APS.

Of course she didn’t know this at the time and spent her 2 years in college in and out of hospitals, urgent care centers, and treatment. Her declining health lead to her not being able to finish school, even after going into remission, and eventually lead to having two TIAs after coming out of remission a year later. After learning about the connection between her diseases and IUD, she had it removed and her symptoms improved.

Dealing with the realization that everything she had gone through with her health since moving to NYC wouldn’t have happened and she could have finished school if the connection had been caught earlier took a toll on her mental health. She spent most of 2019 dealing with Medical PTSD and considering quitting acting, until she got some advice from a stranger that changed her mind.

A mirror selfie of Ali in a dance studio. She is wearing all back and a jean jacket. Her hair is long, curly, dark. She also has a bright pink face mask on and a teal cane in her hand.

One day at an event, a stranger stopped her to ask about a shirt she was wearing that said “Nevertheless, She Pre-Existed”. They ended up talking for a few hours about what life with chronic illness was like. After finding out that the stranger was a lawyer, Ali asked what would it take to get a law passed that would help protect patients from some of the mistreatment she had been through. The lawyer told her as long as basic healthcare is up for debate, any other laws are unlikely in their lifetime, but if she wanted to see real change, then she should create something about what she has been though with her health because art has the power to change the world faster than the law ever will.

Now, with a decade of being sick, a few years in the arts, and a few near death experiences behind her, Ali is focusing on doing just that. Combining her skills as an artist and activist with her experience as a patient, she is working to raise awareness about life with chronic illness and change the way the world views sick people.