[Monday Rant] I am an artist, people!

I realize there are many aspects of the acting/modeling biz that people don't understand. This is one of the primary reasons that I maintain (and I use this term loosely as of late) this blog and share my experiences from the casting couch (so to speak...I'm a lady!) and on set.

Nevertheless, there is one comment in particular that always gets under my skin...

"You made how much doing that gig?! Well hell, I can sit in front of the camera and look pretty. Where do I sign up?"

(...or some variation of this.)

I do realize
that the income I make from acting and modeling is pretty sweet given the relative work that is sometimes required on a gig. I have spent many an hour on set with the most enjoyable, accommodating people I've been fortunate enough to meet, all the while having my makeup and hair perfected every moment, and often doing little more than smiling at the camera and moving around. (I mean, what's not to love?)

But I don't think people have any clue what it takes to get there. There is a huge misconception in terms of what we go through as actors to land a gig. It is so much more than simply securing a decent headshot, waltzing into a talent agency, and watching the Benjamins roll in as I sip my Perrier.

This business requires 24/7 commitment and effort, yo!

For example...
~ As sick as it sounds, I'm a product. Period. This means I'm responsible for maintaining flawless skin, perfect smile (well, as close as one can get when you've got Chicklets for teeth, big bastards), clean hands, slender frame (epic fail), marketable look and dress, and top notch memorization and improvisation skills.
~ I have to hustle for every dime I make. There is one person responsible for my success: moi. The mere mention of "networking" makes me cringe, but it's a necessary evil in this biz. Lucky for me, I am in a market that is chock full o' awesome folks who make this aspect of work very enjoyable. These southern folks know how to have a good time. Just sayin.
~ If I make any sort of travel plans, I have to accept that I will likely be turning away whatever jobs are coming down the pipe around that time (for which, it never fails, I totally meet the specs and the rates are great). The alternative is being super last minute in making/booking plans, which means more moolah and stress for a vacation. In short, it's not worth the hassle.

Not to mention, for every sweet, simple gig, there are about five gigs that push me toward the brink of insanity. Copy changing at the last minute, conflicting direction coming from five different people, hideous wardrobe/hair/makeup, ill-prepared co-stars (don't even get me started on working with animals)...all must be endured with a willing attitude and a smile on my face. (Hey, I am an actress, after all. There is no greater performance than this.)

I don't take a single moment in this crazy industry for granted, and I hope it never comes off otherwise, but I just can't help but feel frustration when people (usually unintentionally) belittle what it takes to make this lifestyle work.

I mean, you don't see me underestimating the sheer willpower it takes to sit in an office for 8 hours a day, dealing with idiot bosses and drama-loving coworkers. I don't know how y'all do it, to be honest. I'd for sure be taking handfuls of lithium and pounding coffee on a regular basis. (Well, more so than usual.)


  1. Put me in front of a camera and you will see that not everyone is suited to...well, be in front of a camera.

    I could never do what you do, but I love that you do it. I mean, after the initial eye-roll before I knew you. But the moment you opened your mouth I knew you were someone special and that I would require you as a part of my life immediately.

  2. I totally understand. Not the being the model part, obviously, but the being an artist part. As a writer, people look at an ad with 3 words in the headline and think: "what did that take? all of 5 minutes?"

    I feel ya sista!

  3. The criticism and constant assessment that you have to deal with as a model/actress proves that you've got some major cahones darling. I don't care what those judgy people say, you are talented and you work your butt off. And who, by the way, said that anything in this crazy life was easy? It all takes work.

  4. Natalie I love this post! It gave me some good insight to what you do and have to deal with. I never had any disillusionments about acting though.. Nothing is all roses all the time. I'm glad you are able to get so much good out of it.

  5. Great insight into how tough it would be to be a model, especially the 'being a product' part. Though I have actor friends so would never underestimate that part.

    And sure it's tough, but I bet you love every minute of it really :D

  6. Oh, I absolutely adore it! That's what I mean, I don't want to come off as complaining, but it's definitely a labor of love. But so is anything that's worth a damn. I can't imagine doing anything else. If I could, I would. :)

  7. I hate networking with a white hot passion! You know, I don't have any sympathy for the "big time celebrities", the ones making $100,000,000 a movie or whatever, but for a model/actress who makes aliving doing smaller parts, my heart goes out to ya! Sure, I'm sure it's really fun, but the whole looking "perfect" all the time would make me batty! I have a lot of respect for what you do!

  8. Great one Natalie. You nailed it on the head. Granted the pay off is usually great, no one ever stops to take into account how much time you have to put into this business. Also, I gotta say your doing a bang up job keeing those hands clean. Its one of the first things I noticed about you.