I wanted to be an actress when I was young.
Something troubling put a stop to this dream;
I wanted to be a hugely popular star, known mainly for my talent and genuine personality. Then I started looking around and realised it wouldn’t happen, I wasn’t super tall, or super thin, I wasn’t super anything. I have a big chin and a silly Australian accent that I can hardly take seriously, so why would anyone else?
I don’t keep the fact that I like acting a secret, but I also don’t pretend to be something i’m not.
One of the drawbacks to our course is that unlike some of the more well known institutions, we’re just us, making it work.
We don’t have access to students with talents greater than our own in various disciplines. We can’t ask the singers and musicians to help us compose our scores, we do it ourself. We don’t have people studying fashion, costume, props or make-up down the hallway, we improvise. We don’t have Melbournes most elite newcomers in acting doing workshops in the summer, or any other day for that matter in the theatre; we don’t have a theatre. we have ourselves. When Tarek asked me to be his ‘model’ I was shocked, flattered, and also skeptical. The shoot would involve me in various vulnerable poses, it was not a sexual shoot but in order to capture the desired shots I would be as undressed as anyone had ever seen me.
I said yes, and why? because if Tarek believed in his vision and it involved me, it would be rude not to. Trust is trust until trust is broken, or so it goes.
I thought to myself, do I ask someone to do something because I believe in them, or want to embarrass them?
Do I ask people for help because I know they have what it takes, or because I like to see people fail, stressed and miserable.
So; I was going to be Tareks model.
Here is a little more about me, I used to be a dancer; I quit because I get stage fright. Not because of the dancing, but because of the costumes. I am not comfortable at all with people watch me galavant about in next to nothing. I wear baggy clothes, I don’t show my midriff, you’ll be lucky to see me in a bikini at the beach…
But Tarek, my friend and collaborator, needed me; I needed a wine.
Low self esteem aside I was on a ride, buckled up without any chance of escape, and it was moving.
Working with Tarek was so much fun, we understood each others vision.
I could never have done what I did had it not been with someone like Tarek.
He knows what he wants to capture, he is calm, patient and motivating.
He made me feel comfortable in a very awkward environment, I believe it helped me come out of my skin and be who he needed me to be whilst shooting.
I am really perplexed by the project; it’s not very me, but the results are really good, and I can’t help but feel proud to have been a part of that.
Tareks goal was to capture natural, carefree, female beauty, which is something I like to capture; it’s very difficult seeing the good in everyone all the time and then trying to do it to yourself. It forces you to wake up to your own irrational standards and for a moment (for me at least), let go of them.
There was no story line, it was about the look. (Tarek wants to follow a path of either music or fashion in film so this was perfect). I do believe some story line is necessary, but we’re all still learning so much everyday that if he wanted to concentrate on achieving particular shots and moods, that should be applauded and not looked upon as lacking in substance or being lazy.
I don’t know how I will react to the finished product, I always imagined I would be a little like Johnny Depp and avoid watching myself.
This was not only a good learning curve for my work as a film maker, being on set, seeing others work; it was also a really interesting moment for me as a woman. I felt for a brief moment, very proud and unapologetic for being who I am. Regardless of the flaws, the imperfections. Nobody is perfect; and doing something so open and raw really helped me come to terms with that; and celebrate it. It was also the most directed i’ve ever been in front of a camera and I really enjoyed that aspect; the worst thing you can have happen is a vision not being realised because an actor has no direction. I’m not sure I want to get as undressed as I was for this shoot again any time soon, but it re-introduced me to an actor I had forgotten about, and a confidence I never knew I had.
To all girls on film,
I applaud you!