Take Five with Sarah Steele ’11

Steele T5
Sarah Steele ’11 is an actress who has performed in films and on television and the stage. She is reprising her role as Marissa Gold on The Good Fight, a spinoff of The Good Wife on CBS All Access.

What were you like when you arrived at Columbia?

Overextended. I was in rehearsals for an Off-Broadway play. I did all my classes really early in the morning and then raced to midtown every day for rehearsal. My whole first semester I was doing a play every night so I didn’t make any friends. I realized quickly I needed to quit acting and just focus on school if I was going to get my money’s worth.

What do you remember about your first-year living situation?

I lived in John Jay. And again, since I was doing the play, I was kind of a woman of mystery because I was gone every night! When the review came out, the kids on my floor left The New York Times outside my door with a note saying, “Congratulations! And no wonder none of us know you at all!”

What class do you most remember and why?

I took an American Literature class with Margaret Vandenburg GSAS’96 at Barnard that meant a lot to me. She was instrumental in helping me form a relationship with feminism and become really confident in it (important work these days). I remember once I went on a run right after meeting with her and said to myself, “You can be exactly who you want to be.”

Did you have a favorite spot on campus, and what did you like about it?

I used to sneak in to Hamilton Hall at night and work in one of the smaller classrooms by myself. It allowed me to focus better than I did in the library. I could get up and dance around if I was losing steam. It was my little secret.

What, if anything, about your College experience would you do over?

I would go to office hours more and forge relationships with the professors I really liked. I want to scream at my younger self: “You can party every weekend when you get out of school!” Youth is wasted on the young.