‘You are so pretty, you can become an actress’

Recently on Instagram, whilst I was browsing through my explore page, I came across a beautiful picture of a girl. Honestly, she was breath-taking and in my opinion drop dead gorgeous. What, however, concerned me massively and drove me to write this blog was one of the comments which were left on this photo – ‘you can become an actress’. For you information, the girl in the picture is not an actress and has no background in the field of drama.

I do not have much experience in the field of drama however I did complete a GCSE in Drama, and of the 13 GCSEs I sat, Drama was the one which challenged me the most. My two assessed pieces tested me in different ways. One was a play in which I had to play a 30 year old who was playing an 8 year old; basically it was a play within a play, so I had two folds of characterisations that I had to master. The second was where I had to play a teenage girl with Body Dysmorphic Disorder and how this condition escalated to psychosis which ultimately tipped her off the edge.

In addition to my own drama experience, one of my friends is a final year drama student at university and her aim is to eventually become a professional actress. I thought it would be useful for you to see how much it takes to build an acting career, whether it be part-time or full-time. She described to me how competitive the industry is and her plans for the next few years is to go to a drama school or do a Masters in Acting or get an internship somewhere, but go to acting classes on the side to hone her acting skills. She is not even sure whether she will definitely get into drama school, and on top of that she needs to get signed by an agency. It is then through her agent that she can get actual auditions and castings. This is just a summary of what she needs to achieve in the next few years in order to get one step closer to becoming an actress.

So why am I telling you all of this? Well because acting is extremely hard. Calling oneself an actor/actress is not something which happens overnight, it happens with years of training and hard work, just as with any performance art like dance or music.

Now if I talk more specifically about the South Asian film Industry, acting has become so much about girls in particular being eye-candy. This explains why the general public are also of the opinion that the Indian film industry requires good looks more than good acting skills. I personally feel it is absolutely disgusting that women are objectified to such an extent.

There are so many people at fault for the state of the Indian Film Industry, and I am not here to discuss these wider issues. All I want to say is that it is such a shame that so many individuals in westernised cultures are also falling victim to this objectification of actors and actresses (more so actresses of course).

I wanted to leave every girl and guy who aspires to be an actress or actor with one challenge. The day you strip of all your make up and style, and convince an audience that you can play characters ranging from 8 year olds all the way to 80 year olds, is when you really start showcasing your potential to act. 80% of your ability to pull off a character comes from your ability to act. The remaining 20% comes from additional factors such as: make-up, lighting, set design, camera angles, etc.

Next time you call yourself an actress or actor, really think about whether you are an actress/actor or whether you just have a passion for acting. They are two very different things!

Oh and for the general public, because I think we are all responsible for the state of the Indian film industry objectifying people, we need to stop falling victim to such daft mind-sets which are infecting the generations to come and their perception of an acting career, which I highly respect if done correctly.

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