Crazy Diamond Remix | Mindwaves of the Xiren Persuasion

Posts Tagged ‘naked’

Whiskey, Cigarettes, & Cologne

In life on March 6, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Is being an actor in New York hard? You never seem to be wearing many clothes in your FB pictures. Hope all is well in NY. I have no doubts you are doing very well.

How do you respond to a message like this, really? Even when I ignore the sarcasm from the opening question, the heavy judgment in the statement that follows renders the genuine, caring bits in the end, contrived and meaningless at best. I confirm the fourth and last statement to be true, thank you for your faith in my nakedness.

The answer is yes.

Yes, acting is hard. You have no idea how difficult it is to be completely open, honest, and truthful, 24 times a second, on set, on camera, and off-screen rehearsing. The way we train and stretch our emotional dials to the extremes will terrify you, because we make big choices that terrify ourselves. The difference between an acting school and an asylum is that as actors, we’re actually sane and controlled. But to an untrained eye, we’re all just the same. Naked, vulnerable, crazy, and fully exposed to judgement, warranted or unwarranted.

Acting is hard, because unlike most people, as actors, we can’t settle – it’s all or nothing, go big or go home. We don’t fake it – we won’t fake it. Every fiber of our body, every cell, is filled with intention, truth, impulse, and a genuine interest in getting the others to “tick”. So acting is tiring, but it is the one thing that makes me feel most alive. Acting is about constant growth and a state of becoming – it comes with the territory, and it is one of the most difficult journeys of discovery and exploration.

Music is what runs through my veins, but acting is what gives me pulse, so I don’t remember life before I became an actress, before I tumbled down this rabbit hole that I call my paradise. But I remember the smells like I remember the sounds. I used to shower only with products that smelled of chocolate, coconut, vanilla, or mint. I used cinnamon buttercream frosting lotion, and I had an intoxicating collection of perfumes, some of which still sit on my dresser, somewhere between the masks, feathers, black lace, leather cuffs, silk bows, and white pearls…

A glimpse of my past and you wonder why I’m naked where I am today. I don’t.

These days, every time I close my eyes, I relish in the scents of whiskey, cigarettes, and cologne. And I don’t really want to wake up.

So go ahead and judge me. I dare you. I’m as real, and as full, as you’ll ever be. Or never be. Recklessly wasted on life’s succulence…you should taste it.



To be Vulnerable

In NYFA journals on January 6, 2011 at 2:31 am

Natalie Portman’s vulnerable side in Black Swan

If there is one feeling that leaves me more naked than being nude, that is the feeling of vulnerability. It’s just about the polar opposite of what I live to be, against all that I stand for. If questioned, I would lower my pitch, and deny any trace of its existence in my life, but on a bad day, I don’t make a habit of looking into mirrors, because I know I’ll see it there, staring back at me.

I used to believe that being vulnerable marked the beginning of a downward spiral that would eventually victimize me, so I used to run away from it, as fast as I could; maybe that’s why my dreams were always heavily dominated by the chase theme. However, the twenty-something me now has gotten a bit more grown since the teenage child, as I’ve learned to view vulnerability differently. I don’t run away from things now; I’m turning around and demanding to know why you’re after me.

Time is not the only factor responsible for casting the different light upon this intangible matter, it’s my training at NYFA. It is more unfair than unfortunate that the eternal blanket statement which actors fight against is their status as “professional liars”. This is because most people don’t understand just how personal their work really is. Take it from Natalie Portman, who said in a recent interview while shooting Black Swan, “As an artist, it is scary… Your work is very, very personal, and you’re putting it out there for people to see and to judge. It’s a scary thing to do.” Here, she openly admits to how vulnerable her roles make her feel, and I applaud/admire her for that. Similarly, Ryan Gosling is also praised for being fearless against being vulnerable, “Gosling is the rare Hollywood actor who isn’t afraid to play vulnerable men” (Cineplex Magazine, January 2011, p.37). You see, vulnerability is sort of a secret ingredient in acting.

{Originally written on July 22, 2010}

On Vulnerability
This is another area that echoed the material from another class – song interpretation, to be exact. We were instructed to make up the details/story for each song, and were encouraged to not be afraid to show our vulnerable side. “In fact, most actors get casted for their vulnerabilities”… our instructor told us.

It is on that note that I wonder… can vulnerability be trained? If so, is trained vulnerability almost a pretence? Or is it more vulnerable than the original vulnerability? Either way, I feel that good acting requires the letting go of insecurities, and the breaking down of walls. Perhaps insecurities will still be there, but not hiding them is already a step forward. As another acting instructor said, acting is the ability to be private in public. In my view, it takes a lot of honesty with oneself to do that.

It always comes back to honesty and truth
I suppose honesty and truth would be the two core pillars of good acting. This is because as audiences, we feel connected to what’s going on when we can relate to something that they are doing. Even though the situation is make-believe, or contrived, the acting is not.

Fast forward to now: After all this mental tug-o-war, I’m ready for bed. Perhaps next time when a bad day comes, I’ll deliberately spend some time in front of a mirror. I’m going to find that vulnerability, I’m going to study and recognize that face, and I’m going to capitalize on it…