The Working Actor’s Mindset

[Headshots by Vanie]

Isn’t this model absolutely gorgeous?

I saw her while shopping online (photo courtesy of Lululemon) and it reminded me of two clients in one month who were so self-conscious about their teeth, it affected the process of taking their headshots.


She used Hollywood clip-on teeth and another had a hard time letting her smile come through. I bet this ?model had the same thoughts about her teeth until she landed this job.

I completely understand it’s hard to get past your vanity. BUT as an actor it’s important you realize what will get you work is what makes YOU different than anyone else and then lean into that.

Christie Ackley: Best Friend / Heroine

Madalein Jackson: Gamer / Young DA / Nurse

Ian Delaney: Creative Tech / Suburban Dad

Recognize your imperfections are strengths

and capitalize on your strengths.

When we watch films, we are all wishing we could be the star, the lead, the love interest but that’s not always who we are. There are plenty of roles big and small for fringe characters like the one Julia Garner plays in Ozark.

She is adorable, totally off-beat, quirky, imperfect, a character actor you know AND love. Imagine how it would have worked out for her if she tried to be the gorgeous Hollywood lead.

IF SHE HAD RHINOPLASTY, or got a tan, straightened her hair etc. Would you hire her as the love interest? Very likely not because her outward appearance will never authentically match who she is when she walks in the door.

Jean Lupien: Detective / Love Interest

The same goes for you. Your imperfect (fill in the blank) _____________ only make you that much more authentic as the character you will be cast as in today’s world of very “real” shows.

When you walk in the room, if your essence is that of a blue collar person who grew up in a trailer home, your perfect teeth aren’t going to erase who you are and what you communicate to us all.

Be YOU if you want to get in the door.

Don’t try to conform to your idea (the one that’s in your head and doesn’t really exist) of what the Hollywood “norm” is.

Malena Hougen: Girls’ Night Out / Love Interest / Suburban Mom

Nathan Wright: From top left; Gamer / Edgy Anti-Hero / FBI / Creative Professional

You have acne all over your face right now? Instead of trying to hide it with loads of makeup and retouching, play up the characters you would get cast as with acne.

If your self tape obviously has loads of makeup trying to hide the acne which was retouched in the photos you submitted to casting directors, you will NOT get the job. Perhaps you won’t even be called in again because you deceived them with your picture.

Brittani Ebert: Doctor / Security or Cop

Lola Rae: Upscale Business /Alan Geller: Suburban Grandfather

YOUR TEETH, YOUR BODY, YOUR IMPERFECTIONS is what differentiates you from everyone else. It’s important to understand this concept in the business of acting, because you are a commodity. What you are selling and what sets you apart from the competition is YOU so be yourself if you want to become a working actor.

Once you start working and building your resume, that’s when you’ll be able to branch out and work outside of your immediate stereotype.

Questions? Ask below in the comments section.

Annadelle Phillips: Edgy Teen / Best Friend

Eric Kan: Doctor / BBQ Dad


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