Last week, I went to see La La Land (be still my beating heart), and aside from being completely in LOVE with Mia (Emma Stone) & Sebastian (Ryan Babeling), it did make me reflect on my own experiences as an actor and model. I currently work as an actor and producer, and I modelled in Ireland for a number of years.
All too often in advertising, TV and social media, we see the finished product, and don’t have any concept about the reality of what goes into producing content, or what life is like when you’re the “talent”. Don’t get me wrong, it’s SO much fun to have your hair and makeup done, and be fussed over on set, but here’s some of the things I learned along the way:
1.It’s hard work
It’s hard work! Contrary to popular belief, acting and modelling days are loonnnggg. Depending on the job, you are on set for ten hours on average. Some jobs require your own grooming, so before you know it, you’re plastered in makeup, you’re wearing fake lashes, and it’s 4am. So make no mistake, standing in hot, bright lights in a crowded room, saying the same line with gusto, or holding a pose for the twenty-seventh time is far from relaxing.
2. Make sure you have a plan B
The money you earn can be good depending on the job (most of the money is in advertising), but work is sporadic, and unless you are committed to making acting or modelling your only passion, you need another gig on the side. The work can be lots of fun when you do get it, but make sure you have a back-up income, or a plan B.
3. Believe in yourself
Notions of feeling unique or memorable can be quashed as soon as you walk into a casting (audition), and you see that every person in the room looks exactly like you. I have to admit that when I modelled full time, I never felt less confident in myself, and my abilities, as I was too focused on my exterior, and putting pressure on myself to look a certain way. Luckily, I had excellent people around me for support and love, but it can be a very tough game mentally, so it’s very important to believe in yourself. Always.
4. It’s not all about you
When you eventually get a part/job, you feel a million bucks. Woohoo! Then, when you get on set, you are told to sit with the other “talent” in the corner, and be quiet. (This is not always the case, but happens a lot). Remember that you aren’t the star of the show, and that there lots of other people working together to get the job done. Also, be nice to everybody on set. It takes less effort to be nice than to be unkind/rude, the industry is small, and chances are, you will work with the same crew over and over again. Nobody likes a whinger!
5. Take it all in
You will meet some incredible people! I have worked on so many different sets, and met the most amazing people. Equally, I have met some not-so-nice people, but you can always take learnings from every experience, good or bad. As well as the rush you get being on camera, the people are the best part of this industry. Take a breath, stop, and take it all in.
So folks, there you have it, my glimpse into, and tips for actor/model life. Like any job, it certainly has its pitfalls, but after all that’s said and done, for me, the good outweighs the bad. There is certainly more to it than meets the eye, so be mindful of this the next time you wish you were Gigi or Kendall.