Circus – Women in Film


She was in the makeup chair all morning. There was a 7am call time which was particularly difficult for her. She was cranky in the mornings. She was always short with people until after her first cup of coffee. Having an early call time was more daunting the night before. Like Christmas, she found she didn’t have a problem getting up so early at all. Booking acting gigs came few and far between these days so the prospect of getting up early to go act all day seemed like a good one.

Make up and hair trailer first. This was her favorite part of the morning; getting to sit in a chair while professionals do their very best to make you as attractive as possible. She tried to ignore the fact that it took all morning to make her look so good. In that chair, she caught up on all the set gossip….who yelled at who and was about to get fired, who was hooking up, who was shorter than they thought he’d be. On set, everyone operated on a hierarchy. Professionalism was key. In the make up trailer, though, everyone was down to earth and without pretensions. If she had to start ‘doing’ mornings, she wished they could always start like this.

She came prepared to set. Lines fully memorized. Consistency in delivery. She’d done this before and she was determined to let everyone know they hired the right girl for the role. She loved acting, but at the end of the fourteen hour day, she couldn’t say she felt proud. She played a slutty girl. Again. These seemed to be the only roles available for women; the Madonnas or the whores. She used her studio education and tried to bring more depth to the character, but ultimately, it wouldn’t matter. The editor would make sure she was as one-dimensional as possible.

She hated playing caricatures of women. She wished for parts that were complex and didn’t lead with sexuality or taking care of a family. She was starting to internalize these stereotypes. Playing these parts well made her feel like she was losing her own complexity. Maybe someday down the line, she’ll finally get around to writing the roles she’s always wanted to play rather than waiting for someone else to do it.

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