Hello Bonnie,

I have written to you in the past and you have given great insight. My question this time is the following: When it comes to age range is there really a limit?

The reason for my questions is this: I am a 43-year-old Hispanic actress who has been cast in various roles including one or two mother roles. However, for some reason when I audition for a Hispanic mother role from the age range 30s to 40s per se, I somehow don’t seem to fit the profile. I am usually looked at being younger than my true age of course, and not considered to be really the overall age for the Hispanic character. When I see breakdowns for 20-something roles, I feel as though I should not submit for those roles because I’m actually older and 20-something is kind of still young per se. (I guess if I go into an audition and see younger girls, I don’t want them to think that I think I’m still in my 20s.)

I just auditioned for a PSA where the Hispanic mother role needed to be in the late 30s to mid-40s. I went in for the audition and somehow — I don’t know if it was my height or look (I seem to always though be an impression with my acting) — I, as always, got the look of disappointment. I really want to yell out and say, “I’m in my forties,” but I guess it really wouldn’t matter.

I was told a long time ago in an acting seminar that there is a need for Hispanic actresses within the age range of 45 to 55. At the time I thought to myself, “Hmm, I will definitely be looking to fill those roles.” However, at the rate that I am going, I don’t know if I’ll even fit. I am right now losing weight again, to get down to a Size 3. I tried gaining weight. I turned into a Size 10 to see if maybe I could look older (for realistically most Hispanic women have more of a curvy nature), but for some reason did not seem to work. Looks and being physically fit is definitely a must in this business.

I find myself stuck somewhere in the middle, almost like a midlife crisis.

I want to continue my career as an actress, so should I not limit myself to an age range, and just say to myself, “I believe I fit that profile,” submit even if it says 20-something? What would you advise I do? Please Help!

Antonia Roman

Hi Antonia. Thanks for writing! I actually just did a vid over at Facebook called “Fluffy ‘Round the Middle” which you might want to watch. In it, I talk specifically about the weight issue and female vs. male actors, character vs. leading types, etc. I think that might be of interest on several levels for you. I’ve also covered Your Hot Bod and the whole body image mindset here, before.

Facebook vid from March 31, 2009

Now, as for the age issue, well, that’s tough, of course. No one usually cares how old you really ARE. We care how old you realistically play. (Of course, some people actually do care what your real age is. I’m not one of those CDs. I could give a flyin’ fig leaf that you’re 25 but play 35. If I need you to be 35 and you look 35 to me, awesome. We’re done!)

So, if the role in the breakdown is a great fit for you, I say go ahead and submit. Assuming your headshot looks like you (this is vitally important, of course), we will be able to dismiss you or keep you in the mix based on our assessment of your fit to the role. If, however, you don’t look quite like your headshot, that could be what that “look of disappointment” is that you’re getting in the room. If you’re getting called in on a 30s to 40s role because your headshot is selling 30s to 40s, and then you walk in looking all 20s, you’re not making anyone happy. So, check to be sure that’s not the issue you’re actually having.

Absolutely, there are certain types for which being older and being heavier make you more castable. Absolutely. But what it really comes down to is being comfortable in your own skin. Do you want to plump up in order to fit the more matronly, older Hispanic female roles? If you’re not seeing breakdowns for Hispanic roles within the age range you actually play — especially at your current weight — have you considered submitting on “submit any ethnicity” roles, rather than just waiting for the few Hispanic-specific breakdowns that roll out?

And you know I’m going to advise this, right? If you’re not finding the roles that are a great fit for you in the breakdowns, or not getting cast when you do go in on those few that are a great fit, how about producing your own work? Show the industry how to cast you, if we’re not “getting it” through the standard “breakdown, submit, get called in, audition, book it” routine.

Yes, it may be a lot of work to produce your own material, but if you suddenly have us in a position to really understand you and know exactly how to cast you, won’t it have been worth it? I mean, if all of the “normal stuff” isn’t working, that is.

Good luck to you! Keep me posted on what you end up doing and how it all works out.

Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/001009.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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