A friend of mine – an actress – once told me “Working in commercials can be your waitressing job.” I was sort of taken aback when she said this. What???
She booked one or two commercials a year, and it helped her stay afloat as she pursued tv shows and indie films. It was her “day job” essentially. No one had put that idea in my head.
So I’ve been fervently pursuing commercial representation. First a manager, then an agent. When I met with the manager, she had two words to say about my headshots: “Too old.” Those were her thoughts on my makeup.
Then she looked at my hair and said “Too much.” Damn. Please don’t tell me I’m going to have to get new headshots again..
Yep. I am. This time, with straight hair. Arghhhh. I think every African American woman has a bone to pick with the straight hair issue. I like wearing my hair in its curly state. But apparently, the industry favors straight hair on black women. And when my manager (who is an actress as well) told me that the year she booked 18 commercials was the year she cut her hair, I knew she knew what she was talking about.
It became even more apparent when I went to see “Think Like A Man.” Every single African American actress had straight hair. ALL OF THEM. So I’m wondering, is my hair standing in the way of me being a working actress?
Truth be told, I have not been able to secure representation over the last year. Is it my headshots? My “look”? I’ve constantly wondered what was wrong with me. It just might be that people can’t quite place me with all that hair on my head. I’ve even been told it looks like a wig.
So I will no longer begrudge my straight hair. In fact, it might be the one key to me getting alot of work this year. A year ago, I would’ve really pushed back on the idea of conforming to what the industry wants. I might’ve even called straightening my hair “Selling Out.”
But hell – I want to be a working actress!