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A Mirror Up to Nature? Hollywood Tells Me About My Body

Here is a blogpost from one of our BGB Actors, Kate Hamilton (pictured):

I’ve gone back and forth about sharing this post for a while.  A few months ago I shared a shorter version on my Facebook page and I was met with an incredible outpouring of support and empathy.  Since that first post, Donald “Pussy Grabber” Trump has taken office, a man who’s accused of sexually harassing women won an Oscar, and I feel like saying, “Fuck you”.  I don’t want to be vulnerable right now.  Open up about my weight, my body? Are you fucking kidding me? FUCK YOU.

That’s what I feel like saying, but I won’t.  Because I know the incredible relief I feel when I learn that someone else has dealt with issues similar to mine.  (It’s almost always a surprise. “You, too??”)  If one person feels that relief from hearing my story, it’s worth it to me.

A casting director once said that I don’t seem like “the kind of person who puts a lot of effort into being thin”.   She went on to explain that the leading roles I might otherwise be a contender for almost always go to skinny women.  Women like Kate Winslet* are an exception.  But if I wanted to gain twenty pounds, I could be in the realm of the best friend, sidekick, etc.  Crazy-making, right?  But this casting director wasn’t trying to be hurtful. In fact, she was trying to be helpful.  She was merely putting a voice to a truth of the industry.

Her phrasing, however, stuck with me.  “I don’t seem like the kind of person who puts effort into being thin.”

In retrospect, it’s almost funny to think about.  I was the youngest person in my Weight Watchers meeting at age 11. That took a lot of effort.   I did P90X once and lost 20 lbs in a summer.  That took a lot of effort.  Today I try to maintain a balance between being physically healthy, living my life, and looking a certain way to have a shot at being a working actor.  That takes the most effort of all.

I’ve always struggled with being in an industry that is quite possibly the largest part of the problem; portraying human beings at the apex of the gene pool as models of what we should all strive to be.  I don’t know where I fit in this business.  I’d love to say that I want to succeed as an actor so young girls everywhere can see a “normal woman” on their TV screens.  But that would mean that I’d have to acknowledge that I’m not simply “on my way to my goal weight”.  I’d have to be ok with (or even proud of) the way I am now. And honestly, I don’t know if I’m strong enough to do that yet.

I don’t have the answer. I don’t even know what my own plan is.  I’m leaning towards soldiering forward as a “normal”.  Because fuck you Donald Trump.  (Sorry, I know I said I wasn’t going to say that).  But in all honesty, I’m tired of listening to what other people tell me to do with my body.  I’m going to have to get right with me, first.

What I do know is that shame feeds on silence, and that silence isn’t good enough for me anymore.

*I think that Kate Winslet is HOT, and would be proud to be considered an “exception” with her.

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