(Something from September 2010)
I moved to LA for several reasons: one, to truly admit, for the first time in my life, that I am an actor and therefore need to do as the actors do. Not become another cookie-cutter, Stepford actor, but rather to make my daily business the business of being an actor. The second reason for my move was to find a better source of income (read: day job) whilst pursuing the business of acting, and since the best I could do in the Emerald Triangle was a 2-hour per week grunt job cleaning the sinks at a bakery for minimum wage, I figured a change of location was in order.
As usual when I first make a decision, the universe conspired to shower me with wonder and opportunities and fluffy kittens and the feathers of white doves. I immediately began to be called in for auditions in LA that I was self-submitting for. I found a great and relatively cheap place to live with interesting, intelligent roommates. I effortlessly booked myself theater gigs for the entire first year of my move, which didn’t pay me much, but which validated the fact that I was ready to be a professional performer in a way I had never before embraced.
I moved here to fully be myself in a way I have been avoiding for over twenty years. This involved grappling with the fact that I’m (gasp!) still queer, and that when I moved I was fairly overweight (roughly the size and shape of a baby killer whale, but who’s counting). Stir those two in a big pot called “But I’m A Performer” and you get a freshly baked batch of insecurity drizzled with a crippling debt-to-income ratio.
But the doors continued to open – because I saw and continue to see a niche I can fit into; one that I can dominate. I will rant about the overall treatment of butch women by society in another post, but the point is that I have been watching the trends, folks, and there just aren’t many of us on tv or in films or shows. But with the popularity of Ellen, the inestimable Rachel Maddow, Julie Goldman, Jane Lynch – all women who are not exactly the Hollywood feminine stereotype – I think things will soon be changing. At least, I hope, and think it’s a valid hope.
Combine those ladies’ popularity with the surging numbers of lesbian characters in the media and eventually someone is going to want to put a few women who look like the rest of us in front of the camera. And while I may not look like an “every-Woman”, I make a darn convincing lesbian on screen. 10 out of 10 viewing lesbians agree (totally biased unofficial poll amongst my friends).
And I’m not saying that I only want to play lesbian parts – at this point I want a chance to play ANY parts – but that would fulfill a huge dream of mine. To play a lesbian character who actually looks like a real lesbian. Sure, I can and will have a satisfying career playing park rangers and female prisoners and nurses and cops, but I believe the writers and CDs and producers are ready to take a challenge. Put me in the ring. The tides are shifting that way. I know how to throw a few punches, and I may get clobbered, but I’m a big girl and I have to try. Yes, I’m sticking my neck out by making this claim, hoping this hope, and trying to do it my way. I owe it to the Myself I am working on being.