Thursday, August 26, 2010

Aging Gracefully?

Our society favors youthful appearances. If we didn't care how young we looked, there wouldn't be a proliferation of medispas featuring Botox/other non-surgical proceduresor or such a rapid rise in plastic surgeries. The vast majority of fashion models wouldn't be in their teens. We wouldn’t buy trendy garments much less makeup, creams, lotions or potions. There wouldn’t be so many articles about cougars or men who prefer much younger women.

As an actress, I have to consider how age affects my bookings. Certainly there are roles for everyone from infants to septuagenarians. But since I look and sound much younger than I actually am, sometimes age is just a number— meaning clients go by what they see and hear. Sometimes they go by actual age. Since many opportunities seem to be for younger or older women, I can find myself in a gray (pun intended) area---too chronologically old to be the typical mom with kids, too young to be a senior.

--At a national commercial audition for women 20-70, seeking a young, medium and older nun, I was placed in the middle, or medium, chair. I booked it as the oldest nun...which could have been for age-related or any number of other reasons. Maybe the clients just liked my look or how I did the bite and smile. But when age is so much a factor in the initial specs, it’s hard not to wonder. Check it out, here.
--Chicago improv is a very young community, with many players half my age. So I was to be a grandmother for a live project in Las Vegas. When they decided to book me, they changed the character to an aunt.
--I just did a billboard shoot as a mom. My “kids” were 9 and 13.

So do I try to keep looking like I’m in my thirties and skew younger as long as I can…and if so, to what extent? Via anti-aging/wrinkle creams; coloring my hair, keeping my longer, curly hair vs. going with a shorter cut; wearing no-line bifocals and bifocal contacts so I don’t need reading glasses? Do I embark upon more costly measures that yield more obvious results, such as laser treatments or eye surgery, and if so, when?

Or do I embrace each wrinkle, crow's foot, line around my mouth, gray hair...the realities of getting older?

Time will tell.

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