A Fallen Dream

Ever get so close to your dream before, that just as you’re touching it some force beyond your control pulls it away?  I’ve lived with this being a tease throughout my life, though never could I have ever thought I would get as close to that dream as I did back in 1997 to 1998.  I want to share with you, how I almost became a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

Since Season 1 of Cowabunga Corner I have been sharing my love of acting, entertaining, and bringing smiles to those around me and just how much I have pretended for the public that I was a Ninja Turtle.  I also shared some stories and video from getting to visit the set of Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation.  This story is connected to those two things.  My dream of officially being a Ninja Turtle, when a live action TV show was in the works.  Of course, I was only 18 going on 19 at the time. Who would hire a kid for a big job like that?

It was January 11th, 1997 when I got the call from Mirage Studios, telling me that they just signed the papers for a live action TV show and would like me to be a Turtle.  The thrill that just went through me, the hopes that this was finally it.  My dreams of getting into entertainment will become real.  I was asked to put together a resume and send it to Mirage Studios.  I did just that, the response I got was good.   Though they were not the ones that could hire me, I had to send the resume to Saban.  Of course I jumped at this.

The idea of doing a TV show scared and excited me.  My mother would bring up that I could be the new female Turtle, though I knew that was not what I wanted.  I would of been happy to play either Michaelangelo or Donatello.  I realized that this was for the costume work, not the voices or stunt.  I was training in karate at this time, so I was in shape.  I was still wearing costumes a lot, so the heat would not trouble me.  I’ve studied the movie costumes through videos and magazines, so I had an idea of what was to come, such as a costume that weighted near 100 lbs once sweated up. Though instead of being a nightmare, every thought of wearing a costume like that got me more and more excited about getting that resume in the mail.  A chance to do acting, a chance to entertain without having the fame that comes with it.  No one knowing my face, but still being able to enjoy seeing people that like the work.  This was my dream.

It was two weeks after we sent the resume to Saban that I got a phone call from Mirage Studios, asking me “Did you hear from Saban?”  I was shocked, this was a lot faster than I thought it would be.  “No, isn’t this too soon?” I asked, still stunned.  “No, here’s the name and number of who to call at Saban.”  As I hung up the phone with this new information in my hand, I remember feeling so nervous.  Sending something in the mail was easy, but now I had to talk to someone.  And it was me calling them.

With my mother by my sid e, I took a deep breath picking up the phone.  Now this is not the first time I’ve had to ask someone to become an official Ninja Turtle, and the other time did not turn out good for me.  So to do this was stepping out on that cutting board again, in hopes that somehow this person would give me a chance, one that was taken away from me only a few years earlier.  I made the call, asking for the person that Mirage told me to ask for.

“Hi, My name is Michele Ivey.  I sent in a resume a few weeks ago, to try and audition for the new “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”.  Mirage Studios wants me to be one of the Turtles, and told me to call.”  The lady on the other end had one question, one question to make her decision if she was going to even take the time to talk to me.  “What Citizenship are you?”  She asked.  “United States” I replied, not thinking that should mean much.  As if she’s said this a million times, her words flowed through her mouth with ease “I’m sorry, though we are only hiring Canadian Citizens for that show, as it is being filmed in Canada.”

How sick can someone feel from something like this?  A dream, where for weeks your hopes have been building.  The people who had your back was important to the property, you had the skill for the job, you had the means to get to the location for the job, and everything could just be taken away by one thing... something that you could not control.. be it your age, sex or this time... Citizenship.  The phone call ended shortly after that.

I was crushed...

This felt like the end...  it was months later before I got the email from Mitchell, who played Raphael on Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation.  We became friends. He got me on the set of the show and introduced me to the other actors.  A dream come true, getting to see everything in the works.  So while I didn’t get to live the dream, I at least got to touch it.

This was not the last time I came close to being a Turtle, but this was one of the biggest and most memorable times.  I still have the dream of wearing costumes and working puppets.  It’s just I’ve come so close so many times only to be shot down because of stuff I can not control, that it has now just become that.  A Dream.


Here's episode 15 of Cowabunga Corner - The visit to the set of Ninja Turtles : The Next Mutation

Entertainment Earth



How absolutely heart-breaking. Sounds like you basically had the job, but lost it on a technicality. Canada tends to just hire Canadian citizens I hear. I have an animator friend who wanted to apply for the new MLP cartoon thats going on, but she got the same kind of rejection they gave you about citizenship. It's cool you got to be on the set though!

Michele Ivey's picture

Yes, it was not always that way. I live very close to Canada and one of the DJs who use to be on our radio a lot, would do shows in Canada. But when they changed the rules he lost his jobs there, though he remained a DJ in Michigan for a long time. Just retired a few years ago.

As a TMNT fan myself i'm saddened to hear you didn't get the part. grew up with the green machine... watched the 80s cartoon religiously so i always wanted to be my favorite turtle -- RAPH .... sorry that you didn't get it. Maybe someday you can live out your dream

Michele Ivey's picture

I was sad at the time it happened, though I can't be too disappointed now. I've full filled so many dreams in my life. And have met so many great people from fellow fans to people who have made the TMNT what they are. I've been very lucky. I'll keep working toward achieving my dreams, though it would of been cool to get the chance to work on the show. ;) Awesome that you were there for the ride of enjoying the show along with a lot of us other fans, always good to meet fellow TMNT fans. ([:{-D