I have called myself an actor from the age of 15. Now, nearly a decade later, I'm struggling to continue to call myself by the very title that I have set out to achieve. Mostly because I'm not sure I personify everything an "actor" is supposed to be. According to all of the submission requests I keep receiving, an actor is supposed to be charming, interesting, funny, beautiful, but most of all an actor is supposed to be "fit". Or "athletic", or "thin", or, or whatever trigger word suits you best. 

This little pity party isn't coming out of left field. I've recently decided to focus on my acting and writing careers by auditioning and going to background gigs as much as possible instead of maintaining part-time jobs. I've always known that this career path would never be easy, and I've particularly known that my castability is somewhat limited, but I never thought I would question myself, my strength, and my self-esteem as much as I have in the last 3 months...at least not as much as I questioned myself in my emo/goth-wannabe days which are way behind me. 

Here are the facts: 
  • On any given day I receive 10-20 emails for submission requests, that all use code words like "attractive", "athletic", "upscale", OR the complete opposite with words like "heavy", "overweight", "large" etc. 
  • I find myself only submitting to 1/3 of those requests, but in actuality I'm probably only eligible for less than 1/4 of them.
  • I am not thin. Nor am I extremely overweight. 

That last point is what really gets me. I've always struggled with my weight and appearance, and that's fine, that's my life. But I'm caught in a grey middle ground that doesn't make sense. Because I'm not thin, I won't be considered for roles like the Girl Next Door, the Love Interest, or even the Cute Art Student. But I also can't seem to get gigs requesting Large and in Charge Girls, Heavy Beautiful Women, or even Girl with a Weight Problem. So where does that leave me? 

One would think that in a day and age where women like Melissa McCarthyQueen Latifah and Rebel Wilson are making it in the business, it wouldn't be so bad for the rest of us. But the truth is, the entire business is completely polarized. Either women are sizes 6-0 or they are very large women, who hold a lot of girth. There is no middle ground. With one exception. 

Mindy Kaling came out of The Office and has since created her own show on Fox called The Mindy Project, and it is a great show! It is witty, and charming, and real. Real, because for the first time in all the time that I have been captivated by screens big and small, the story centers itself around a real woman. Not to mention a real woman of color. 

You see, I really have my cards stacked against me. I have a trifecta of walls to climb over in order to be successful: I am a woman, of Mexican decent, and I happen to be slightly overweight. As proud as I am, at this point, I don't care if I get the role of The Maid, or The Junkie, or The Gang Banger, I'm just looking for my way in. But at least women like Mindy Kaling give me hope, that someday, not only will there be color blind casting, there will also be weight blind casting. 

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