One of the many glorious convos going on at the Self-Management for Actors‘ Facebook group turned to the topic of attraction. More specifically, to the topic of those delicious breakdowns that lead off with descriptive words like “gorgeous,” “beautiful,” “sexy,” and maybe “pretty.”

Certainly, this goes back to knowing what you bullseye and, well, if you bullseye “gorgeous,” then, first of all, YAY YOU! But more importantly, this opens up dialogue that aligns very nicely with something that rockstar showrunner Tom Fontana said in the foreword of Acting Qs: Conversations with Working Actors (a book I co-authored with the amazing Blake Robbins).

Thirty years ago, I worked with the artistic director of a regional theatre who told me, “You have to want to fuck every actor you cast.” A daunting prospect even at a young age. Only later, after numerous fumbles, did I realize he meant that an actor has to elicit passion from you—and from the audience.

Tom is right. And most people who are putting out breakdowns using words like “gorgeous,” “beautiful,” “sexy,” and “pretty” are just trying to say, “please have charisma” without using THAT word. They’re doing their best by calling “charisma” some strain of ATTRACTIVE.

They want to see actors who are, sure, physically attractive (and as anyone who has ever seen anyone be crazy in love with someone they found to be unattractive knows, “attractive” is subjective) and who exude charisma. Charisma, of course, is that thing that is defined as — according to a guest judge on the first season of America’s Next Model — public self-acceptance.

Can you — attractive critter that you are (yes, keeping in mind that it’s a subjective term and that you could be the most gorgeous person on the planet by most people’s standards and still look like the producer’s ex and never get the role) — connect with the material, be relatable, find the vulnerability that makes you a brilliant storyteller, and bring that charisma to the room, every time?

Being attractive to everyone has less to do with your physical looks and more to do with your confidence, your level of self-love, and your ability to connect with the folks on the receiving end of your energy.

The next time you see a breakdown that makes you bristle, please just remember that the folks writing or casting the roles may just not have the right WORDS to explain the complexity of what they actually need. YOU know whether you’re attractive because you ATTRACT roles, opportunities, and amazing relationships in this industry, and THAT means you’ve got a green light to submit on those roles that describe less eloquently what we know they really want. 😉

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 Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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