THE FEMALE BODY IMAGE

On a day to day to basis, I for one, am critiqued on my body image. I'm in an industry where unfortunately, most of the time, looks are everything.

Being an actor/model, I struggle with confidence and my image at the best of times. I get nervous before castings and auditions, I sweat profusely, I change my outfit a dozen times in the morning, I worry that the directors will take one look at me and laugh and I question my diet all of the time...

Unless I'm walking around in Spanx, with a tub of Ben & Jerry's and declaring that I am to be the next Bridget Jones... I really don't stand a chance. 

The industry is and forever will be, based on body image.

I'll never forget the time that I was invited to attend a high profile modelling agency in London when I was 15, to be turned away because they "weren't too sure about my face." Now what's sad about this, is that at 15, your body changes. I was asked to attend as they saw my images posted online and they called me in for potential representation. Safe to say that my face wasn't up to the standard of their agency. I was even asked if the pictures were in fact of me?

Ridiculous right? Perhaps I should have worn a mask just to test them to see whether the rest of my body was good enough...

Not everyone has a chiselled jawline. I for one am lucky to even see my jawline on the best of days. I'm that person that laughs and all I have is a neck...

Saying that, modelling is and always will be a huge part of my life. It's something I will continue to do. However, acting is my main priority. Plus I find acting so much easier and less degrading when it comes to body image.

Then again, I haven't been in Hollywood movies, pictured in the press or followed by paparazzi, so perhaps my opinion will change when I see my "neck" on the front of a magazine... 

Don't get me wrong, acting it isn't the easiest of careers, actors seem to be everywhere; but we all come in different shapes and sizes and the ones that I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with, stay true to themselves. Also, I know that modelling agencies have curve divisions and those women come in different shapes and sizes too, but when you're a size 10-12, like me, you just seem to flutter in and out of the scene because you're not "skinny or curvy enough."

It's like a never-ending, never-winning game...

I had another casting that was just as enjoyable as the last. It was for a high fashion brand and they wanted to see me for their fit model role. Now bearing in mind that I sent off all of my statistics and portfolio prior to attending, I still got told no. Want to know why? Because the jeans FITTED me. They wanted them to be baggy enough to wear a belt... I even got called a "large size 10."

Now, if I knew that what they meant by fit model was in fact the complete opposite, and that they would just completely ignore my statistics, I wouldn't have bothered wasting my time. They ask for a fit model. The clothes fit me. Yet I am turned away. 

Honestly, hats off to models that do this for a living... It's unbearable. I thought receiving tonnes of no's from auditions was bad enough, but this is on another level!

With acting, I have been extremely lucky so far. I was cast as Maleficent for Disneyland Paris, which I'm pretty sure was thanks to my awesome (if I may say so myself) resting-bitch-face. Also, I recently worked with Panasonic appliances as their featured model; got that role thanks to my awesome smile...

Now I probably sound vain, but I've learned to love myself and how I look. Yes I make improvements, but that's because I want to make them. Not because society makes me feel the need to change how I look.

But enough about me, let's talk facts. 

So... Back in 2014, The Guardian revealed that 10 million women in the U.K. felt 'depressed' because of the way that they looked. 

Now, I'm almost certain that a high percentage of these women only feel depressed about the way that they look, due to what they see on social media and in the newspapers.

Even though we see women’s bodies everywhere, it’s only really one body that we’re seeing, and it happens to be a young, thin, toned, perfectly-proportioned, long-legged, non-disabled body.

Disgusting.

Not every woman has this body shape, nor will every woman be able to achieve such a shape, should they wish to. 

But because we are on social media most of the time, we come across photoshopped and airbrushed images. Those of which, that once we see these, our minds tend to go into overdrive and we find ourselves comparing our own bodies to what the industry want us to see.

We're inundated with images of women who work out everyday, who eat the healthiest of foods, who are blessed with "flawless" skin and who are just generally pictured as goddesses.

There's a constant flow of dietary products on offer, waist trainers, celebrity work-out DVDs and so on... I'm all for living a healthy and balanced diet/lifestyle, however it's excessive and on every corner that you turn.

Plus, let's think about it seriously for one moment... If every woman woke up tomorrow morning, looked in the mirror and decided that they were happy with their bodies, a lot of industries would go out of business! That's the harsh truth. Which goes to show that the industry create such a look, that harnesses the mind and makes you want something. In this sense, a "better body."

Women should be happy with how they look. We're all beautiful in our own ways. Yes it's corny, buts it's true! Whether we are curvaceous, skinny, pale, tanned, large-breasted, no breasts, bald, white, black, little, large... it shouldn't matter. It shouldn't be seen as a bad thing.

Body confidence isn't about trying to achieve the "perfect" body, it's about embracing and loving the one you've got. That's what I have learned to do and yes, I've learned it the hard way and will probably forever go on learning, however it's the path and the industry that I've chosen. 

Don't let your mind, bully your body.

Be happy. Be yourself. Be free. 

...oh and eat that slice of cake.

Rebecca Mae
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The Female Body Image

Thursday, 17 August 2017


THE MALE BODY IMAGE

My casting type is that of the bad boy. It is what roles I generally get, from the abusive boyfriend to the drug dealer. I also get a lot of Viking and Medieval roles too (down to the long hair and beard). But what I have noticed is that even within this 'casting type' I am quite small and skinny and this makes me want to bulk and gain immediately.

Alongside acting I also trained as a dancer, so fitness was and still isn't really an issue with me. What I do find hard though is gaining body mass and the reasons why.

Generally I work out 3 times a week (yes, I could probably do more but time is always a issue). I tend to not do cardio as I am already skinny and walk everywhere, so I like to lift weights and work on toning too. 

Now we all have that ideal of what we want to look like and mine isn't Dwayne Johnson but is more Tom Hardy. I would love to have a so called 'manly' body. Not necessarily ripped but well built. What I struggle with though is gaining that weight. My metabolism is high and I seem to burn off everything I eat. I am vegetarian so consume my protein from other means than meat, but yet when I wake up in the morning I feel like I have always lost the previous days eating and training off my body.

It really does get to me sometimes and this is why.

In TV and Film especially, most men are well built, unless they are older. It is seen as the ideal of a man. What I dont like is that men actually come in all different shapes and sizes and why are these not represented in screen. Yes there are a few but they generally aren't the leads. 

Women have a massive campaign at the minute against body shamming and image and I feel this needs to be highlighted for men too.

I mean take for instant this years 'Love Island'. All the men were completely ripped and defined (and looked the same may I add) but this is seen as beauty.

I hope this will one day change and the pressure of having to gain and bulk will go away. But in the mean time, here is the simple work out do to keep my body in shape and slowly gain muscle. It takes only 20 - 30 minutes to complete (perfect for those with little time).

3x10 Shoulder Press
3x10 Upward Row
3x10 Forward Flies
3x20 Wide Press Ups
3x30 Bicep Curls (half, second half, full)
3x20 Squats
3x20 Side Leans with Weight

*remember to warm up and cool down.

It may not seem like a lot and mixes body areas but for a quick full body workout it seems to work for me. You will need weights but you can grab them cheaply from a lot of stores i.e argos.

Let me know if you have any tips for gaining muscle mass and what your workouts are. And let's start to not shame other body types and realise that if we miss a day of working out or want a beer (or five) life is short and it's not the end of the world. We are all beautiful.

Joseph

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The Male Body Image

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

THE SECRET

So this post is going to be hard to write but I wanted to chat about something that has effected me recently.

Now firstly let me say I have a pretty good life. I have great friends and family to support and am chasing a career that I enjoy. However recently thoughts of 'what's the point' and 'you could end it all now' keep coming into my head.

What I mean is that recently suicidal thoughts are definitely present in my head and last week they came in full steaming ahead and really brought me down. 

What scares me is that even though I am happy, I am always striving for more and scared that I will never TRULY be happy or TRULY satisfied. 

I even started to think that this whole career/dream chasing thing is such hard work that I don't know how much energy I have left to pursue it, but without it I am no one or not who I want to be.

The other day the thoughts got so much that I did start crying at the fact I was even thinking about suicide (yes men cry too). I don't think I would ever actually have the guts to follow through with one of these thoughts and I definitely don't want to. But I wanted to share this with you incase anyone else ever feels like this and/or wants to chat.

I will always be there for my friends and family if they are feeling the same and I know they are there for me. So in any case would be calling on them (it's so important to look after each other and spot the signs).

It is a tough world out there and being a performer is by no means an easy profession. I am getting back on 'The Magic' by Rhonda Byrne to pick myself up again and starting my 28 day positivity plan to help (I do recommend that you grab yourself a copy too).

Suicide is more common in men than women, yet it is definitely not talked about enough so I am hear to listen to your stories and share your thoughts too.

Also if you really need someone to chat to and feel your friends and family aren't there call The Samaritans on 116 123.

These thoughts are not something to be ashamed of but writing this has been scary and brought me to tears again and it shouldn't. Let's support and help each other.

Joseph

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The Secret

Thursday, 10 August 2017

SO YOU'RE AN ACTOR?

'Actor' is our job title but I have seen that we are more than just that.

A Social Media Manager
An Accountant
A Sales Person
A Web Designer
An Usher
A Lighting Engineer
A Sound Engineer
An Editor
A Bartender
A Waiter
A Teacher
A Marketing Executive
A Stylist
A Personal Trainer
A Singer
A Dancer
A Puppeteer
A Musician
A Friend
A Husband
A Wife
A Boyfriend
A Girlfriend
A Mother
A Father
A Camera Operator
A Children's Entertainer
A Director
A Producer
An Agony Aunt
A Nutritionist
An Explorer
A Massage Therapist
A T-Shirt Seller
A Ticket Tearer
A Master a Kickstarter
An Anxiety Expert
A Day-Time TV Watcher
A Ticket Sales Person
A Computer Wizz
A Writer
A Model
A Technician
A Journalist
A Freelancer

You are an ACTOR but you are also so much more, don't sell yourself short.

Over and Out
Joseph

So You're an Actor?

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Headshot by Claire Newman-Williams

A PLASTIC OCEAN

I have spoken about this issue before but I definitely think it something to keep promoting as reminding ourselves to change our habits and stick to them on this is of the upmost importance.

SINGLE USE PLASTIC

So what are the facts.

  • ONE IN THREE SEA TURTLES HAVE PLASTIC IN THIER STOMACH
  • MICRO PLASTIC IS GETTING INTO OUR FOOD
  • 25% FILLED WATER BOTTLE USED THAT MUCH OIL TO CREATE IT
  • BILLIONS OF POUNDS OF PLASTIC CAN BE FOUND IN THE OCEANS
  • EVERY PIECE OF PLASTIC EVER MADE STILL EXISTS
  • 1,000,000 SEA BIRDS & 100,000 MAMMALS DIE OF PLASTIC EVERY YEAR
And it goes on and on...


Recently I had a new headshot with the wonderfully talented and gorgeous person Claire Newman-Williams and as we were having a bit of down time and a chin wag in the studio we got onto the conversation of how plastic is destroying this planet and the fact Claire has no plastic in her house whatsoever. She states it has taken her years to achieve this but it is possible. Here are a few tips that she came up with, I found on the internet and some of my own.

  1. Drink your coffee from a glass keep cup (let's totally move on from plastic).
  2. Say NO to straws. If you really can't cope without a straw buy a reusable metal one.
  3. By a stainless steel water bottle to refill.
  4. Use your own vegetable bags at the supermarket, don't use theirs.
  5. Find a famers market for non wrapped fruit and veg.
  6. Shop around, plastic is cheap but other materials are coming down.



This problem won't be solved over night or alone so make sure you share this post. We need to tell these corporate companies that we don't want to use plastic any more and that they are better alternatives.

Spread the word and start changing today, it's easier than you think.

Also check out the documentary 'A Plastic Ocean' on Netflix NOW!

Joseph

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A Plastic Ocean

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Photograph by Claire Newman-Williams

THE CONFIDENCE ISSUE

Sometimes confidence can be a really issue, it is seen that all performers are a special breed of human who have no fear. But I for one definitely suffer from confidence issues.

It sounds silly but sometimes the fear of being judged can be crippling and will stop me working with anxiety set to go through the roof. I don't tend to suffer with confidence at auditions or castings, but I do in the waiting room. Once in the room I am more relaxed talking to a director or casting director than I am with sparking up a conversation with a peer in the waiting area. I also can happily be very confident on stage, in front of camera or on set.

This is probably down to the fact when I have to, I definitely play the character of me. The confident, chatty and full of personality me. Then when I am out again I am just...me. 

Even by writing this post I keep thinking I am going to be judged and people will say why do it then, and from someone who loves to perform, create work and promote things it all seems a little hypercritical in my head too. But it is what I love and creating characters is where I am most confident. 

I read a lot of self help books to solve issues around this and ones like The Power of Now genuinely help. The Power of Now focuses your problems and bring you back to reality with hopes and excitement rather than feelings of shame and dread. 

When I first started this blog I thought who the hell would want to listen to what I want to say, but I quickly learnt that we all have a story and that we should all be helping others to learn from our mistakes, share memories and lend that advice.

Another area I can suffer with massive confidence issues is at events. I hate going to them by myself but sometimes that has to be done and I definitely need a few drinks before stepping into that room. I am terrible at approaching people as I think they don't want to be bothered, but how nice is it when someone comes up for a genuine chat.

I have wondered if this has come from my childhood, as like many my parents split when I was 11 so I was kind of 'left' and guess maybe thought I wasn't wanted and shouldn't have a voice. Now we are all happy families but I wonder if that could have been a cause. Maybe there isn't a cause and I should  stop looking for one too.

I am going to start doing a bit of meditation and thought focus to get me over this and if you have any other advice then please share it in the comments section below.

Let's all vow to help each other to kick this confidence issue and anxiety crap and hey if you see me in a casting say hi as I am actually a nice person (even though my casting type says otherwise).

Thank you for listening, I for one want to start trying to be more confident and open.

Do you suffer with confidence issues as a performer and what are your tips and tricks?

Joseph

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The Confidence Issue

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

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