I recently saw a short video of Kate Winslet speech while accepting a BAFTA award. She explains that she was told at just 14-years-old she would “do okay” if she was willing to settle for “fat girl parts”.
Kate Winslet! An accomplished, multi-award winning actor, STAR of one of the biggest movies EVER MADE, told she was only going to get fat girls roles?!
So you might wonder, how did she react?
That’s how she went from an insecure teenager to being the leading lady opposite Leonardo DiCaprio on a James Cameron film just SEVEN YEARS LATER.
She didn’t let the opinion of one drama teacher hold her back. She didn’t let that one teacher, with their own limited mindset lay her future out for her. Kate heard it, then let that drive her toward her goal.
No, this isn’t a sales pitch for working out, and it certainly doesn’t mean you should starve yourself to get a leading role. It means that you need to show up everyday and be the best version of yourself, no matter what that is, and just go for it.
That teacher likely wasn’t just trying to be mean. They probably said those words with the best of intentions. Acting is a brutal industry, and you will be judged by your appearance most of the time. Perhaps they too had a dream of becoming a performer and was turned down multiple times due to their own weight issues.
What you need to remember is that those issues AREN’T YOUR OWN. People have their own path to follow and own lessons to learn. Maybe you’ll end up as they predicted or maybe you won’t. You aren’t going to know unless you try.
See, I grew up in an immigrant family, where everyday was a struggle for my parents. The amount of money and hard work my parents had to put in just to get to Canada was a pipe dream for many, but they did it. My parents were seen as “lucky”. And by default–I was even luckier.
Lucky to be born in a country that was known for it’s friendly people, free healthcare, and free education. All my parents wanted was for me to keep my head down, get good grades and graduate to have a steady job somewhere. The last thing they wanted was for me to have some pipe dream of my own.
But, here I was, trying to become an actor.
My mom said all the things that parents do to try to protect you. And eventually I started saying those things to protect myself. From failure, from heartache, from being taken advantage of. All the things that I have experienced on my way to becoming a professional, full-time actor. And I will continue to experience these things as I challenge myself to grow.
But I will keep on going. I will not stop. Because the yearning I have deep within me keeps me on this path. I know now that there will be roadblocks to learn from and detours that need to be taken–but as long as I know where I’m headed, I know I’ll get there.