Jenny, start off doing live theater. It's really the only way to learn to act well. Then network hard and do some normal commercials and/or pick up a position doing the local TV news traffic report etc... Just be sure to keep some stage time in your career. This will keep your track into bigger network jobs clean. Many who try to just jump into the business end up victims of prostitution and other bad things.
Also, remember most of the film business doesn't happen where you think it does. In fact of the top ten films and most of the top TV shows 99% have nothing to do with NYC or LA in any way. Too many taxes and regulations have forced entertainment companies to push a lot of work out of America completely. Thanks crazy Obama and his liberal minions!
A degree in something professional is the only thing that'll help you survive if you go for any formal education at all. No one gets an acting job from a college stage so avoid being a theater major, it a degree for suckers.
Remember the asian lead from the Hangover series? He's actually a medical doctor! See what I'm saying.
Acting isn't a career, it's a passion and it will never reward you for not doing the process the right way. No one goes from a nobody serving tables to a major screen talent. The same is true for the music business.
Do a professional thing and put your feet on stage as much as possible and good things may or may not happen if you maximize opportunities. You're in Houston. Ever heard of country star Toby Keith, he worked on an oil rig for almost 15 years in TX and OK before anyone cared about his music career. Good thing he had a great career in the energy industry!
What are you going to do?
Hi Jenny, as explained you should consider acting in classes and theater, and then possibly auditioning in ads and modeling. You have to develop skills to express yourself through experiences, gain confidence and awareness of the market, the opening doors of Hollywood. You could pay for Variety, or use the Network, such as Twitter and Facebook, Linked In, Studio 32 and IMDBPro when you're ready.
You start with classes, stage work (community theater) and auditions. Acting requires a great deal of training, so you can always look into where actors, whose work you admire trained or who they studied with. Working in theatre, while perhaps not a long term goal, is also an outlet for honing your craft. You get to learn what works and what doesn't in front of an audience. Lastly, you can audition for film projects -- many universities offer film classes and those students need actors for their projects. These smaller productions offer a great opportunity to learn about the process, and to learn how your work translates to film.