Let’s start this section with an eloquent quote from one the casting directors I interviewed:
Leave your f*cking body alone. Your ‘flaws’ and ‘differences’ are what make you interesting.
Pure poetry, we think. Richard Dreyfuss wrote an open letter to actors as part of a foreword to a book several years ago. Within it he took aim squarely at actors’ body image insecurities:
Actors: Know thyself. Actors forget too easily that what makes them unique and different is ultimately their greatest gift and power.Richard Dreyfuss
It is such a difficult balance to maintain. We are part of an aesthetically-obsessed society, working in an even more aesthetically-obsessed profession. But never forget: the very things that you think are keeping them from hiring you will be the very same things they cannot live without when you’re working. Celebrated director Bernardo Bertolucci says that each face has a secret and a mystery. He says it is his job to unlock the mystery in the faces he casts. But he stipulates that “They must be REAL HUMAN FACES”. Fight those God-awful orange-skinned, over-enhanced, plastic surgery pundits and their whispered promises of aesthetic perfection. Refuse to kowtow to the ridiculous standards of ‘beauty’ (whatever the hell that means) that are continually being set and then re-set for both sexes. Do not be controlled by such subjective and ephemeral standards. Aim for physical fitness, psychological and emotional health. Therein lies the rub.