How to Smile Naturally

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Research shows that we are naturally drawn to people who smile, so a good grin can be the difference between getting a part or going home without one. If your smile is inviting, you can look approachable, kind, and happy. But if it’s not, you might end up looking like a bad yearbook photo or way worse—think the mischievous “Alice in Wonderland” Cheshire Cat. Casting director and acting coach Michele Juskowitz offers some quick and easy ways to get your grin looking great.

Be authentic.

“A smile is not a performance. It is not a pose. It should not be practiced,” says Juskowitz. “It is simply you, naturally and authentically. Be yourself, show it to the world, and remember who you are. Good acting comes from an authentic place, and your smile will accentuate anything you do. It is the first thing people see, and it can make a lasting impact.”

Get comfortable.

“Release, be at ease, and release any tension. Put yourself in a place and a position where you feel comfortable, which will [be reflected in] your smile.”

Think of a good memory.

“Pull up a memory of a happy time or anything positive that made you smile and made you feel good. Lock in on that memory. Think about what it meant to you. Focus on the feelings. Remember how good it made you feel. And relive that moment through your smile.”

Don’t forget to breathe.

“You are not hearing the words ‘smile and say cheese.’ This is not a portrait. Nor is it forced. This is you, reflecting on something good, something fun, and something wonderful.”

Be natural.

“You are not looking for that ‘perfect smile.’ This is not a beauty pageant. You are not competing. Be genuine, not forced—and show us your confidence just by being you.”

Have fun.

“Of course, enjoy the moment. That should be the goal in every facet of your life. Think about something funny. Make a new memory. Be goofy. Be silly. Show us who you are. And your smile will be reflective of all of this.”

Marc Berman
Veteran journalist Marc Berman is the editor of the Programming Insider. He’s written for the Hollywood Reporter, Variety, the New York Post, the New York Daily News, NBC.com, and Emmy magazine, among other publications.
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