...currently writing from: Studio City, CA
Growing up, I was the "chubby kid." I was one of the first of my friends to get boobs, and one of the first to fit in “junior sizes”, which at 9 years old, isn’t necessarily cool. I couldn’t shop at Limited Too (90’s kid) because I didn’t fit in their clothes. I had a big butt, big thighs, and a belly (not much has changed). However, I never knew I was chubby. Well actually, I don’t remember if I knew or not, because I never cared. It didn’t negatively affect my life.
But now, at 23, I am more aware than I have ever been, about my size. In fact, I’m aware and reminded of it every day.
Living in L.A. is something that no one can truly prepare you for. It’s a beautiful city, rich in the promise and hope of one day “making it big”. You can feel it in the air. However, the “industry”, meaning entertainment, T.V., and film, can be a nasty place. When I say that I’m aware and reminded of my size every day, it is because quite literally, people remind me. I won’t bore you with every instance or case of this, but I will tell you about one in particular that will stick with me for the rest of my life.
I am a makeup artist and an actress, and I moved to L.A. after college, specifically to pursue both. Makeup has been what has truly taken off for me, and I feel beyond blessed for that. Acting has been a whole other story. If you ask any actor or actress, they will tell you that it is HARD. And not just on a technical level, but on the level of: you are lucky if you can even get in the room to audition for a job, hard.
It also is HARD if you don’t fit the industry’s standard of beauty; this is where my story comes in.
One way to try and get “noticed” is by doing both casting director workshops, and agent workshops. Basically this is how one of those goes; you prepare either a scene or a monologue, you perform, and then you get the chance (sometimes) to sit down with either the CD or the agent and discuss your performance. They are designed to be educational, and they are a good way to get in front of some of the most important people in the industry. One agent, lets call him Joe, showed a huge interest in me.
SO, CHECK OUT THE VIDEO BELOW TO SEE WHAT HAPPENED.
Now, I left out a lot of what happened in the interview with Joe, but you get the gist. He actually started off by telling me that he wished that I was “bigger”. He said that I was funny and he needed a client that was a “big funny girl”. When I looked at him with utter shock, that’s when he explained himself:
“Basically after this conversation, you need to either eat a cheeseburger or go to the gym. But you need to pick one and stick with it because your body type is in-between and there is no place for you in this industry”
I couldn’t believe someone said this to my face. I almost quit acting after that.
I couldn’t fathom what gaining more weight would do to my self-esteem, but I also couldn’t imagine starving myself in order to be thin. For someone who has struggled with weight their entire life, hearing this was heartbreaking. But after consulting many friends, fellow actors, and family members, I realized that if I do this - if I change my appearance in order to “fit”, I’m encouraging this mentality.
I would be encouraging the mentality that beauty is more important than health.
I thought about my younger cousins, and how heartbroken I would be if they started to think that they needed to stop eating in order to be beautiful.
I thought about how sad I would be all the time if I was constantly worrying about what I was eating all day long.
I mean, come on.
If I feel like eating a damn donut, I deserve to eat a damn donut.
The funny part about my interview with Joe, was that after all was said and done, he asked me to “hold onto” his email. He said “I have a feeling about you, and I would love for you to keep in contact with me”.
Sorry Joe. Bye, Joe. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.
We all deserve someone in our lives, whether it be work-wise or relationship-wise, that is going to encourage us. We deserve to feel beautiful and attractive in our God-given bodies, not to be told that "we won’t make it" unless we change.
I would love to claim that I never stare at that donut and think “I probably shouldn’t eat that”, because I do. But what I don’t do is let myself think that I am never going to make it because I’m "chubby."
NOW, MORE THAN EVER, IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO ENCOURAGE SELF - LOVE!
With the age of juice cleanses, and 30-day bikini workouts, I think it is vital for all of us to surround ourselves with encouraging people, because we can’t do this entirely on our own. I challenge you to post that selfie where you know you look good, wear that dress or shirt that shows off your bod, be PROUD of how you look, and give a nice big thumbs down to the people that tell you that you shouldn’t. Let’s make a point of lifting each other up, because you never know who needs to hear it.
Let’s encourage health, not only physically, but mentally. Let’s eat that cheeseburger OR go to the gym because we WANT to, not because someone told us we need to. I’ll end with saying this; you are beautiful, you are handsome, you are loved, you are HOT.