Monday, June 29, 2009

Confessions of a Chameleon

I recently had new headshots taken by the wonderful Ben Strothmann, whom I met after he took production photos of The Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun for BroadwayWorld. He captured almost every moment of that musical so beautifully, so when I found out he also took headshots, I had to meet him.

Almost any actor will tell you how excruciating headshots can be. I know, it sounds bizarre, because as actors we want to be in front of the camera, especially for film and TV, but it's usually while we're in character. It's a strange and funny thing that many actors are actually quite shy. I've even read about how some A-list actors will adopt a sort of red carpet persona in order to deal with the pressure of walking the red carpet. Yet as true artists we want to get our art out there, and we are our art, so we have to get out there!

Our calling card - especially starting out - is our headshot. This picture functions as our business card, a visual introduction to casting directors, talent agents, and just about anyone in show business. So getting a headshot that captures your essence is key. That's why I like working with Ben. Taking photos with him is like having coffee talk with an old friend, full of laughter and fun, all while sharing dreams amidst clicks of the camera. He's a delight to work with!
I recently went from being a blonde to a redhead, hence the reason I'm feeling so chameleon-like. Why red? Why not? My family has the genetic code of graying early - I started getting silver hair when I was 16 - so I've tried just about every color out there. I went blue- black for a role, and that color stayed for quite a while. Boy was it hard to get out! Then I went blonde, and it was fun to play the roles that went with that like the mobster molls and ditzy dames.

But my friends and cohorts in the biz kept saying there was more to me than being a blonde, and that they missed the earthy sassiness that seemed to emanate from me when I sported a darker look. Amazingly, quite a few of them urged me to go red. So I have, and I like it immensely. I've also noticed a stronger receptivity to my look in auditions. Towards the end of being blonde, there almost felt like a disconnect, because I'd get such high praise for my talent, but there was also that feeling that something about my product wasn't quite meshing. But now with red, it seems like people are really looking at me, and they have that look in their eyes like they want to buy my brand, so that has been very encouraging.

So now I start rebranding, continuing to hit auditions, work out at the gym, take classes and work on my craft. We'll see what this new 'do does. :)

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