I am an aspiring actor. There is a lot more aspiring than acting involved at this point, but I am working on it. There is a lot that is involved in trying to “make it” as an actor and, honestly, a lot of it is unpleasant. There is a huge amount of competition as well as very consistent rejection and disappointment. Those things you can get used to pretty quickly. I just chalk it up to being part of the business. I have been going to auditions for various projects since I was a kid and, while it is disappointing not to be cast, it is no longer crushing.
There are other parts that are harder, however. You have to take a good, hard, honest look at yourself and understand the kind of parts you should go for based solely on your appearance or “your brand.” This can be a fairly painful experience because sometimes the way you feel inside and the way you look on the outside don’t match and you have to accept that there is no way you can go out for that part because while you may feel like the character and you may understand her, you don’t look like her.
The part of this that has always truly bothered me is in the category of love interest. I understand that I am certainly no ingénue and that I am more likely to be cast as a friend, or let’s face it, a mom (I am rockin a mom-bod after all), but it has always bothered me that the reason for this is because I am overweight and “not a believable love interest.” Really? REALLY? Just think about all the things we let ourselves believe at the movies. We accept stories about time travel or monsters. We accept stories about magic and impossible scientific advancements and completely new universes, but yet consider casting an overweight woman as the love interest and suddenly it’s, “Oh no, we couldn’t ask an audience to believe that!”
It is hard to imagine anyone will want you in real life when you are told time and time again that it is not believable. In classes and auditions I have been told I needed to lose weight, I’ve been told to become more commercial, I’ve been told that I am pretty but in order to be successful I need to “get skinny. All those comments hurt but I none as much as the knowledge that I would never be cast with a love interest. I know I am overweight and I choose to accept my body. It is ok with me not to cast as the leading lady as long as I am telling a good story. However, I refuse to accept that no one could love me as I am right now.
This refusal to accept my widely acknowledged level of unlovable is not an easy one. It is one it took me a long time to learn, and one I have to choose over and over again. I’ve learned that the fact is all manner of people fall in love and I believe it no matter what they look like. And wouldn’t you know it, but there is even a handsome fella who does love me just as I am this minute.
I can’t help but imagine what a world of difference it would have made in my life if I could have gone to a movie and seen an overweight woman fall in love and be loved with no mention of her weight at all. It could have changed everything and I hope that someday we get to see it.