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The Audition: Public Relations

The Golden Era of Sexism in the Film Industry All Wrapped up in an Audition

Photo Credits: Markus Spiske

Receiving an email from my agent at 7 PM explaining I had been submitted to an audition for an American TV show, felt like my prayers had been answered. After searching for a sign that I shouldn’t give up on my dreams to become an actress, I was beginning to wonder if I had what it took. To give you an idea, last year in meeting with a director about taking on a lead role in a short film, she had said, “As a woman, it is already tough being in the film industry. But I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a minority on top of that.” This isn’t a sob story, this is a truth concerning my uphill battle of seeking more diverse roles in my category.

As I scrutinised every detail possible about the audition, I also reviewed the sides, understanding this role would be for a strong, confident PR specialist whose goal is to promote a young and upcoming client. Now I wouldn’t consider myself a PR genius, but having worked in the marketing industry for over 5+ years made this role feel very close to home.

Arriving at the audition, I saw a handful of cheery and wonderful women sitting in the waiting room. I remembered we were all in this together, even if this was oddly a competition. Somehow, the cloud of self-doubt disappeared as I remembered that no matter what the outcome would be, we would still have a female role involved in a male-dominating world of filmmaking; which is still a step in the right direction.

Their names were being called for the next half hour, until it was finally my turn. A young man came up the stairs to pop out his head into the waiting room to see if I was there. I walked down the steps, and entered a dark lit room with three men. Asked to state my name and height straight at a camera, my anxiety had kicked in, feeling as if I was being questioned by the police. I was introduced to the reader—one of the men in the room of course—who would speak on behalf of a female character. I can only imagine that having a woman read these lines would have been too absurd.

Directed to deliver the most simplest of lines, I was asked to do it over again thrice. The third time however, was how I managed to seal the deal. “Great. Could you now do it more… flirtatiously?” I nervously laughed at this stating, “Alright. Well, I used to be flirty I guess before I got married.” He threw his fist up in the air to show some form of solidarity.

As I stood in front of the camera, I have no doubt I did a shit job. It occurred to me at that moment, that I entered the audition to portray a successful businesswoman; but I was to be selected on how sexy I could make this role. As I walked out of the audition, the casting director yelled, “Gracias señorita!”—because I’m sure he probably got brownie points for assuming my nationality.

In light of Time’s Up, #MeToo, and as we know, Kavanaugh’s trial—my voice will only get louder, as will more men and women who are ready to battle sexism. This isn’t a sob story, as none of them truly are. This is a moment in history where we can aim to change the course of how we treat women—how we honour women—and how we will remember women.

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The Audition: Public Relations
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