By Larissa Copeland
Many people might recognize Rachel Cannon from her appearances on shows like “Mad Men,” “Two and a Half Men,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Fresh Off the Boat.”
But in Yukon, others might remember her from her time in the Yukon Public Schools system.
“I started my Yukon experience as a Skyview Skyhawk in the sixth-grade and graduated from Yukon High School,” Cannon said.
Starting in eighth-grade, Cannon joined the cheer and pom squads, where she made friends she has stayed in contact with well into adulthood.
“I adored the friendships I made with those girls,” she said. “We still get together when we can for a little cheer squad reunion, when the girls come to visit me in Los Angeles. Our sponsor, Angie Hatter, even made it to the first one. I made such incredible friends in Yukon, and my experience in the school system there was wonderful.”
Cannon has plenty of fond memories of her high school years – cheering in packed stadiums, pep assemblies, interning at the Yukon Review, spending time with friends – but she said the people were what made her time in Yukon special.
“The people will always be what made Yukon so special for me,” she said.
After graduating from Yukon High School, Cannon went on to the University of Oklahoma, then to Los Angeles to pursue her dreams. It was a big change, she said.
“It was very different. Culturally, politically, spiritually … it’s just a very different place here in LA,” she said.
But she quickly found a community, helping to make Los Angeles home.
“I was lucky to find a community right away when I got to LA in an acting class with a Southern Belle named Warner Loughlin. Some of the friends I made that first year in her acting studio are still like family,” she said.
There was plenty to learn, too.
“I did have to learn to toughen up a bit out here,” she said. “I was taught to be kind to people and smile when they talk to you – which was often mistaken for being naive here in LA, so I had to learn to toughen up a little bit to stay out of situations that could be dangerous. Lots of wolves in LA, looking for sweet naive girls to take advantage of. So, a few years of boxing lessons helped me feel like I could at least get out of a sticky situation if I found myself in one.”
Through that journey, she fell in love with everything the city has to offer.
“It’s been an incredible journey,” she said.
For the last four years, Cannon has held a recurring role on the ABC show “Fresh Off the Boat.”
In her second season with the show, she had a baby, and she says motherhood is her “best yet” role.
“I’ve been so lucky to get to bring my husband and baby to set with me the last two seasons so that I can continue my work without missing the milestones of his first two years.”
Cannon’s stayed busy with other things, too. She’s done red carpet interviews for studios and taught yoga to professional athletes, and for the past four years she’s been focused on a virtual franchise skincare business that she started with her sister, Lacy Cunningham, and some friends from Yukon High School.
“We have built a community of women that lift each other up and cheer each other on, and it has seriously filled me with so much joy to see how this group of women love each other in the hardest of times and how much fun we have when we come together to celebrate – which we do often,” she said. “This side business has brought a little Oklahoma back into my life and I will never let that go.”
And for those who dream of one day making the trek to Hollywood, Cannon said she’s a firm believer in making dreams a reality with hard work and dedication.
“The world needs dreamers and doers, but most importantly, we need dreamers that do,” she said. “Whatever you want, pour your whole heart into it and work for it, every single day. Nothing will be handed to you. No one is going to come knock on your door and make all your dreams come true. You can choose the safe road and take an easy job and be happy, or you can shove fear in the closet and chase your destiny, knowing that it is what you were born to do, and no one can stop you. That’s not just advice to be in entertainment – that’s for anyone who wants to live a full life.”