Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Long and Short Hair of it All

Christopher Pitta at the Salon 3 is a genius. After years of attentively cutting my hair to match whatever magazine photo or celebrity headshot I brought him, I finally said to him one day, “Do something.”

His eyes lit up. “I’m going to give you the haircut you should have had all along,” he said as he expertly snipped, explaining the unique weight of my hair and describing its tendencies as if it were an independent being.

An hour later, I walked out with the best haircut I’ve ever gotten in my life. It framed my face perfectly, was relatively low maintenance, and looked amazing. I loved it! And I’ve gotten the same hair cut for the past two years.

Until now.

At a recent MAPID event, guest speaker Ron Taylor, VP of Diversity Development at FOX, spoke to the fact that most television networks still feel diversity casting can be too edgy for traditional audiences, so they tend to cast diverse actors in more conventional roles – Asian doctor, Indian IT guy, Mexican mechanic.

His words resonated with me at the deepest level. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve auditioned to play a reporter, nurse, or doctor. I’ve never minded - work is work. But on this particular night, Ron’s words took me in a totally different direction.

I booked nine television roles in 2007. Since then, I’ve only booked two. One in 2009 and one so far this year. The number of my auditions has significantly decreased too. What happened between then and now?

I walked out of the Salon 3 with my perfect haircut.

It’s hard not to draw parallels. Now before you protest that I should be free to be whoever I want and that talent is talent no matter what I look like, let’s remember that this isn’t reality we’re talking about here. This is showbiz. There’s not a lot I can control when it comes to my acting career, but I can control my hairstyle.

So I’m letting my perfect haircut go and growing my hair to a more conventional length. New headshots will follow. Don’t cry for me Argentina, because ultimately the goal of any actor is to work. To book jobs, gain experience, and move forward. I’m simply doing what I need to do to create the most opportunity for myself.

As for Christopher Pitta, he’s still a genius. You should all go see him. To me, he’ll always be the guy who gave me a new goal in my career – be successful enough to get my hair cut any way I want. Then I shall return.

2 comments:

  1. I feel your pain! Great piece!

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  2. You look great! Well written!

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