Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Child, woman. Woman, child.

I was 19 years old. I had only been living in LA for a little over a year and had begun a halfhearted pursuit of acting. After all, what else could I do??  And it wasn't  even really acting that I wanted to learn, I didn't feel I had anything to learn at that point in my life.  I thought I knew it all like most of us at that age. And let's face it, I was lazy.  So in this naive state, I just thought ...hmmmmm....it would be "fun" to be a movie star. Like it was that easy. And my, mother coming from a show business family promptly jumped on board.

One of the first teachers I encountered was a very bitter old man who at one point was a director and had even been blacklisted. Needless to say, he had quite a chip on his shoulder. As I tried to do a scene from Agnes of God, he mocked and belittled me. Sadly, his own anger leaked out onto  all of his students. I'll never forget what he said. "Child, woman. Woman, child. Whatever you are. This town is gonna chew you up and spit you out when you aren't sweet anymore!!!"  Yikes...... That hurt. I'd been chewed up and spit out my whole life. So this was not unfamiliar territory. And aren't most 19 year old girls child, women??!!! 

Of course in retrospect, I see it clearer and thank God, encountered some amazing teachers after him who loved and supported me and my growth and exploration. But I have after all these years never forgot his words. With all the positive that has come into my life, it seems I've hung on with a literal vengeance to the ugly, painful stuff that was done or said to me. This fact reminds me to a. be careful what I say   b. try not to spew my unresolved anger onto others 
c. try to let go of all this negative baggage. All of which I am only mildly successful at.

In a business where you are defined by your very last job, not a body of work. By the people you know, date or are related to.  By how "thin" you are and how" young" you look. By mistakes and gossip from your past, it is not an easy task to put all that stuff down. You see, in Hollywoodland, it is your calling card. Don't tell the truth, hide your age, keep fit with the Madonna 4 hour a day workout. And always, always, ALWAYS at all costs, you must look SEXY.

I've always wondered, what does it mean exactly to be a "SEX SYMBOL"?  Does it mean in the dictionary if you look up sex there is a picture of you? Or the huge amount of women who are called that? Why is that title reserved more for women then men? Does it mean when people look at you they imagine have sex WITH you? Or do you just symbolize it in such a way that they will then think of sex with their beloved ?  How has the MOST physically connected one can be to another  become as trivialized and mundane as squatting to go to the bathroom on a toilet?

I also find it so noteworthy that a few of the women who were so famous for this title, sex symbol,  were actually dealing with some interesting issues around it that were diametrically opposed to the image the world had given them.  I site Clara Bow and Bettie Page as two of them. If anyone cares to look beyond the image , they will find yet another American with some confused ideas about it all. 

This is the truth with me as well. I tried to courageously look at and reveal things that made me uncomfortable. Things I did not understand about relationships and intimacy. My job [I learned later by better teachers] was to illuminate the human struggle.  And there were times I  naively worked with people who were not on the same page or even on the same planet as I. But I learned.  If I was not discovering, uncovering & recovering, I would've just been an exhibitionist. Desperate and excited to strip and show my God given attributes.  Which is fine if that is your cup of tea. God bless. I speak here, as always, of MY truth from my direct experience. I had no interest in that. In fact, it was like an exorcism.

 There is quite a world famous scene in a film that gives me friction. I mean if you are gonna take your underwear off for a scene in a film, spread your legs and be lit well enough that your "pooch" is visible, which is not an easy task for a DP by the by: Why not be real enough to own it. Not to pretend that you did not know that you could be seen  , in the scene, that way.  A role and move that ultimately made you a scenester.   hehehe.....  But seriously, it is just such hypocrisy to me. Maybe the average person who is not accustomed to being on  film sets will buy that but anyone in the business knows it to be pure bullshit.

What is up with America and nudity anyway. As an actress, once your shirt is off... your work is immediately dismissed. It is not the same in Europe. It shows the immaturity of this very young country we live in.  Even on the scale of breast feeding. It freaks people out. As if they have forgotten that breasts were intended to feed  babies. In the healthiest and purist way.  I have even heard breast feeding characterized that the mother is getting off sexually and that is why they do it. Or that it is just a fad, when it has been happening for thousands of years.  All over the world!!! 

This judgement and shock at an actresses recent actions of nursing an ill and starving baby while visiting Africa was appalling. What a heart she has. What an example of a pure woman with the maternal instinct firmly in place. I wonder how can in the face of such selflessness and care  these crude comments arise. Every base man with little to no being uttered the predictable, "I'd let her nurse me too!!!"  With Obama making us proud to be Americans again, finally, comments like that are nothing less than embarrassing and pathetic. The point being missed entirely.

Is the world really becoming that polarized with less and less of the needed gray area in tact. Is it turning into the Stephen King novel,"The Stand."??? It seems so. The light is getting lighter and the dark, darker, stupider and more dense. Make no mistake, the world is changing. We all need to think before we act. Be clear about the path that we are on. Or not. Your choice. 

Many people are changing their lives. And will meet resistance as they step out of the tribe, out of the collective sleep. An actor on Letterman the other night is doing just that and  was being publicly ridiculed  for it. It was clear he did not want to be there and my guess is a lawsuit was threatened if he didn't show. So he showed with his truth and was mocked mercilessly. I found it another sad example of the immaturity and desire to always "rip others down" syndrome that is rampant in this world.

 I had the honor of playing Elizabeth Taylor. She illustrates this in her direct experience with her "public." She was loved by all. Her life since she was a child had been documented. Her third husband died in a tragic plane crash [i believe] and her public mourned with her. UNTIL, she started a relationship with Eddie Fisher and he left America's sweetheart Debbie Reynold's to do so. She received hate mail and death threats. She hid out in Rome trying to get Cleopatra off the ground. Then almost died and had to have an emergency tracheotomy, and  predictably, her public came rushing back to her. That same year she won an Oscar for what she calls her WORST performance and says she knows it is only because she almost died. It is transparent and actually quite weird. 

So we can live in the world but not be of it. I want to continue to have the courage to go against the tide. And thank God, that tide is changing. What is that saying....something like....It is just as bad to commit an injustice on another as it is to stand by idle and watch it occur without saying or doing anything. Water seeks its own level and I will continue to shout and shine my truth from my blog mountaintop and if I reach even one person, I am happy. And my family is thankful that maybe, maybe, they don't have to hear it all themselves.



  1. Good points, many good points. Sorry, that's all I got, it's been a tough day.

  2. You know who is a sex symbol for me ? (and I'm a man) this is Jim Morrison :))

    Well... I think, I'm may be wrong, that :
    1) You are beautiful (no doubt about that)
    2) You made for some people sexy movies
    3) You are mysterious.

    But, what I like when I see you on screen (because I have not seen you in real life, unfortunately) you always play women that need help, and I do not know why really...
    There is this movie "Boxing Helena", I write to Jen Lynch on facebook (I know.. Facebook gnagnagnagna gna) that what I do love in this movie was and is always :

    "This film knew how to cross ages without taking a "wrinkle!" (except the music - maybe...-) but the plot is very, very powerfull and humanistic.
    And it's well done, technically speaking and acting too. Sherilyn Fenn is wonderfull, Julian Sands too, and Bill Baxton egnimatic.
    This movie really move me.(And few movies make it that to me)

    Some peoples think :'yeahhhhhh sex, it's only a sexual movie'. NO... It's just the voice inside us which is telling 'I love this woman, this is not her body, her legs, this is just HER!"

    You know when we are worried about a person that we love, we do not think at her/his body at all, we just think "I REALLY HOPE THAT EVERYTHING IS OKAY! THAT HE/SHE IS FINE... I NEED TO KNOW HOW SHE/HE IS. IS EVERYTHING IS OKAY REALLY? I WANT TO KNOW!"
    well, I think that you understand what I mean, at least I hope...

  3. Ho, and yep, you are right with the Europe and the nudity.

  4. So we can live in the world but not be of it.

    That's an interesting point. The public strives to imitate the life they are shown, and are often condemned if they reflect what life really is.

    And originality is shunned unless profitable.