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Advice

How Have Your Supposed Imperfections Helped Your Acting Career?

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"I carry 80 extra pounds on my 5-foot-4-inch frame, and I'm a 'saleable' actor because I embrace all of me. It's a good thing auditioning for a studio pilot with A-listers. So I don't get offended when the sides call for 'a tank of a woman.' That's me! If this is what the producers want, I got it! Negative self-talk like 'I'm too old,' 'I'm too fat,' 'Who could possibly want me?' serves only to keep me out of the game I love. Let the producers decide. I love to play this game. So I embrace all of me."

Juana Samayoa, North Hollywood, Calif.



"My supposed imperfections have led to a great career as an adult actor who plays children. Because of my teeny-tiny build—only 4 feet 11 inches, very petite, and only 80 pounds—I have established a steady career standing in for young kids, photo-doubling, and doing bit and featured work playing teenagers. Having a 'flaw' is the best thing I could have asked for. Now I use this to my advantage, and it has allowed me the chance to do amazing things. I never say 'imperfections.' I prefer to call them 'flawless flaws.' "

Dana Morgan, Staten Island, N.Y.



 "I was a standup comedian for years. My buddy kept insisting I was great for commercials. He'd say, 'See that guy in the McDonald's ad? He's a weird-lookin' dude. That could be you.' At first I was kind of offended, but I went to NTA Talent Agency on his suggestion. They accepted me because of my look. When I was about to cut my hair, my agent at NTA said, 'If you cut your hair, you'll get waaaayyyy less work.' The stranger you appear, the more edge you have. Embrace your look!"

Jon Huck, Los Angeles



"If it weren't for my crippling low self-esteem or the fact that I (on some level) fundamentally hate myself, I probably wouldn't even be an actor, so I'd say my 'imperfections' have not only contributed to my acting career; they're responsible for it. Without a poor sense of self-worth and a borderline-childish need to be accepted, all actors would actually be contributing members of society instead of drains on our precious unemployment programs."

Patrick McCullough, Los Angeles



"When I was growing up, I was always the guy who got picked on in school, because I looked about three years younger than everyone else. Being in my 20s now, sure it gets weird when an agent or casting director asks if I have a ride home. Sure it can get a little unnerving when my scene partner is wearing a Hannah Montana T-shirt. But hey, at least I can order off the kids menu still and get student discounts until I'm about 30. Oh, and riding the wave of 18-to-play-younger roles for a while helps too!"

Mason Glenn, Los Angeles

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