Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Tyranny of "Putting on a Happy Face"

So big things have been coming up on the horizon. My film company's latest feature film was accepted to screen at the Calgary International Film Festival. For those who don't know, let me explain the significance of this:

Have you heard of SXSW (South by Southwest)? It's this big indie film festival in Austin that happens every year & has a big music festival associated with it as well. If you're not hip to the indie scene, you will hear about SXSW endlessly on IFC (the Independent Film Channel). A friend of mine who, for his part, is not exactly a film expert wasn't familiar with SXSW; I swear that guy needs a film education & I have half a mind to be the person who gives him one. If you mention SXSW to someone who works in film, chances are they have very much heard of it (as have I).

Well, it seems getting into Calgary is a bigger deal than getting into SXSW. As in, it is huge & could mean a life changing experience for my company as well as me the person since I'm part of the company. I already have seen the impact of us having our present reputation & I feel like this could bring us into that space I both feel honor and fear about being part of.

To think, I remember us trying to get into SXSW & not being successful.

It's that whole conflict between having a private life & privacy vs. working in an industry where you're going to be high profile. Modeling works much the same way as well as some of my other work. Some days it's like "Damn it! I look like this & have creative talent so people keep asking me to do all this performance stuff."

Now I love writing, acting, singing, modeling; it's in my soul. I never even thought I'd be doing modeling at this point since I figured those days of eligibility had passed. As I've said, every girly girl wants to do it (me included) but I figured I'd have no chance due to living in NC, going to college & not being willing to go homeless to make it happen.

When I went to law school, I definitely didn't bargain on getting my partnership at One Way or that I'd be getting listed on IMDB. I thought maybe I'd get to do community theater if I had time; I'm sure other people figured I'd be a lawyer & never get a creative break. It was one of those dreams you figure would be great to get to live but based on the normal progression of things, you violate it so there's no need for you to consider it could happen.

The problem is, if you're too good at being creative and you get known you will get press. Now I'm not badmouthing the press here; it's not their fault human nature is what it is. Getting press means you get fans & haters. The fans are never bad to have but you have to worry about the ones who take it too far (the stalker types). The haters are a validation you're doing something right but if you're controversial, you've got to be a very strong person & put your 1st Amendment right to speak ahead of people who'd love to silence you.

The haters are what cause this tyranny of putting on a happy face. Do you ever see anyone well known who tells you about the bad stuff or is honest with it? I feel like getting known for things & having a fan base can mean you never get to have a bad day. You never get to share your upset or even your true feelings if they aren't shiny, happy or socially acceptable since too many people will be waiting to knock you down.

Don't you hate that? It makes a career where your brand is based on who you are a tad hollow, right?

You also learn who your real friends, supporters, fans and the like are as you go up the ladder to success. You have to see the problems, who's going to weigh you down & who's going to bring you up. Deep stuff.

At least the good news is I'm not required to be a saint or perfect in my own brand. I get to say when I'm having a bad day or when something is BS (I have a duty not to condone BS, especially in my industry). I'm actually doing a fashion show tomorrow, have things going on career wise that a lot of people would kill to have for themselves (developing the modeling direction might end up being a smart move on my part) but have a lot of personal shit I have to worry about. When you have death in your immediate family, it's something that lingers. It's not like "Oh, well," and you move on like it never happened.

Today was a big manic depressive episode. I'd interviewed for this job before Labor Day & finally got a status update on it. The job itself fizzled out due to fallen deals (it was entertainment related). That was a bummer to me; I also feel like it sums up so much in my life. This is not the first time I've had such an event happen, not by any means. I was thinking "God forbid I could finally have a steady paying gig! How much longer am I going to have to deal with this & things like MIA interviewers?" No one I know has had the types of stories I have concerning vanishing jobs & offers that went nowhere.

Just another "what the fuck?!" moment that seems to just be me. I'm selective in what I pursue or who I talk to so it's not like I'm unprofessional when I do interviewing. I feel like it's a definite sign from the universe that my company is going to be successful & I shouldn't bother pursuing other jobs, especially outside the entertainment industry. The question is, when is the universe going to deliver on the financial rewards? It seems I'm great at giving the illusion of success & people must think I live in a mansion or something when that couldn't be further from the truth. Unfortunately, a great reputation doesn't pay your rent or your student loans. I wish it did. I also felt like I needed to cry at some point; I don't really cry all that much & as a rule, I won't let people see me do it in public. I have only cried in front of a select number of people; those people only get to see it if they agree not to hold it against me later.

I later went to therapy, got cheered up some there, came home, set up the laundry service (since I hate our local laundromat, hate having to deal with my clothes being filled with wrinkles when I put them away & really hate the manual labor involved; I felt like paying for it might end up being worthwhile to save the time, stress and energy of doing it) & then got a phone call to have a meeting tomorrow before this fashion show I'm doing tomorrow evening (a show for Fashion Week, which I figured I'd be no part of as this newbie model who isn't devoting her full time to it). It could mean a chance to take this modeling thing further & getting to do bigger events. I have no issue with paying work & none with travel if I don't have to foot the bill for it. I have supporters outside NYC who might actually go to a show I was in if it was in their area.

I sort of feel like there's this 5'6 hate going on & I have no shot at professional modeling but I could be wrong. Others in the field did tell me height wasn't the end all, be all I thought it was but time will only tell if that applies to me or not.

So the question here is how do you keep your own identity intact without having to be everyone's happy face if you aren't known for your straight talk? I honestly feel like being open & honest is a way of having a more authentic & honest relationship with people; perhaps inspiring them to do things or feel like "Hey, this person isn't perfect. I don't have to feel inadequate or intimidated of him/her." If you ask me, we should share our trials & tribulations instead of storing them far away.

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