The Indonesian industry is both a hopeless case and a hopeless cause. I don’t expect to prompt change by writing this post (not deluded enough to think so, either—thank goodness). I’m drafting this just to get it out of my system and just the idea that this is out there and the odd stranger will read it is enough to relieve me. Because at this point, it feels as if I’m about to explode. It’s an act of brain defragmentation, if you will… Or wont. Whatever, it’s my website. I can do what I want.

Which is partly why this is in English. Because the purpose is to vent, and the wider the audience the better. The natural target audience don’t listen, I can’t reason with, and I’ve given up on trying to talk sense to them.

I am adjusting. I’m even beginning to cope with all the waiting on set and in casting offices—which I hate, not because I’m a diva, but just that it makes me feel like a car parked with its engine running (you burn fuel that way too, you know—not to mention harmful to the environment… What a waste of energy). It’s very unpleasant having to wait for your turn and you’re ‘on’, but not really on, the whole time. I don’t know how to turn it off. And on again.

There will be annoyances always, such as the “we will only hire you if you have long hair…” But then, stated on some confidentiality agreements, “we also have the right to chop it off when we see fit” because some productions are too cheap to invest in or rent wigs. And I can’t stand having my hair this long it gets split ends and it’s so high-maintenance, I’m just dying to wear my hair at the length I had in November 2013, the perfect length before it starts making one’s shoulders itch. But I’m keep my hair long just in case.

This is edited and this will be long. I tried to keep everything as concise as possible—and failed miserably. So without further ado… 

1. OMG, nobody bloody caaares…

About the acting. Duh. Obviously the preoccupation with looks isn’t just an Indonesian thing, and I’m not sure you can ever outdo Hollywood’s lookism. However, as lookist as some other countries are, they still do care about the acting. Somewhat. Here, they just… don’t.

It’s appalling. And it’s so ingrained in the industry culture that I just give in and play along. Because I want work.

There’s just so much emphasis on looks that the actual acting aspect gets neglected. Sometimes completely. In the beginning, my auditions felt more like model cattle calls than casting processes. I’ve literally never had an audition where I’ve had my sides for 24 hours. And if I’m audition for a non-original play, I have to go look the script up myself. Most of the time you’re asked to improvise—and you have to think on your feet, like a litigator. One time, I was given a dense two-page script between two characters with paragraph-length chunks for each and the casting team gave me exactly five minutes—timed, with stopwatch and all—to memorise the whole thing. Because they don’t really want people who can act, they want people who meet a money-making target.

I had to literally ask for my script when offered my first role over the phone and have them email me—which kind of made me feel like a demanding little diva, though I still firmly believe it was the responsible thing to do—and people seemed genuinely surprised that I had it printed out and all highlighted when I arrived on set. They called me on a Tuesday, IIRC, for a Saturday shoot. Had I not asked for the script in advance, I would have shown up on set completely unprepared, they would have given the script to me on the spot, on the day of the shot.

I get that I’m still in that level of my ‘career’ (if you can even call my pursuing acting that) where I can walk into an audition not knowing what I’m getting myself into. Like this one time I auditioned for what turned out to be a propaganda film funded by a certain political party. It’s like fighting for a client that’s been lying to you all along. It can get pretty scary sometimes.

There is this kind of guild/union thing in existence, and by the looks of their online presence, they’re aim to be something of a SAG-Academy hybrid. But last time I checked before deciding to unfollow their Twitter account last year, all they do is organise self-congratulatory events which look to me like forums that facilitate peer back-patting, and come off like SAG-wannabes sans the willingness to take the responsibilities that come with it. You know, being all ‘sok iyeh’ and posing for photos without the work. I’m not a fan of them at all. Because do I see them setting any standards to ensure workers’ rights, which would hopefully translate into better quality products? Nope.

There are no existing regulations that stipulate how the casting process is done and there are no set standards for actors’ rights (like the right to have your sides for a reasonable amount of time before your scheduled self-humiliation session).

So, there: Even established actors don’t care. They seem to care about keeping themselves relevant, but I don’t sense any concern for the industry as a whole.

Then there’s the thing with casting directors:

Indonesian CDs are sometimes more concerned about the way you look than whether you can act. I don’t understand how they seem to think all of us are okay with being made to look like incompetent fools and like we’re content with our five minutes of fame so long as we get screen time. Not all of us are just attention whores.

I think the more money-oriented productions, especially the really cheap/stingy ones, that are more likely to sacrifice quality and/or put the burden on a performer. Like that time I got tired of them telling me to “brush my hair” only for casting to realise, “oh, so that was just your natural hair texture?”. Obviously, I’m thick-skinned enough to not be offended by being asked to brush my hair, but it’s just annoying because it was combed all along. Right, because messy hair has everything to do with acting.

So I gave in and got a smoothening hair perm which cost me a lot of money, because it felt like the professional thing to do, but I can’t help but feel resentful. See, when it comes to investing for work, I am not cheap. But that was money that I think could have been more wisely spent on acting classes. Acting classes are my responsibility. The way you want my hair to look on screen is yours. So how messed up this is?

Sometimes I’m actually glad I didn’t start earlier because this profession can do serious damage to your self-esteem. It hurts when people criticise your physical appearance for something you can’t really control or change, although TBH the most hurtful thing casting has ever said to me was that when I’m not in character, I “behave like an idiot” (in the literal mentally-challenged sense).

Craft? What craft?

Look, the British tendency to take the craft so seriously that people forget to have fun scares (not ‘intimidate’, but ‘scares’) me. I mean have you seen “My Week With Marilyn”? The Wallander dude who behaves like Bumblebee in “Transformers” is scary as f-word in that film! While the American culture of overemphasis on fame and ‘stardom’ (with the awards obsession, red carpets, and whatnot) scares me even more. But this. I do mind looking like an incompetent charlatan. That’s definitely not something I’m cool with. I don’t mind looking physically unattractive on screen, but please give me a chance to not make a fool of myself, as untalented as I am?

I don’t have grandiose delusions of being talented, so while I can accept looking bad due to lack of talent, preparedness is actually something you can control. Not taking charge of something you can control is just, how shall one put it? “Stupid.”

2. Because a lady always tells ageist people off

Ageism. My age the number one question I get anywhere I go. It baffles me. I have literally been nagged senseless, grilled by people who insist I tell them my age.

All I want to say is, “Nggak ada pertanyaan yang lebih bermutu, apa?”

Sit back for a bit and let that question sink in.

Whereas forcing workers to disclose their biological age—as opposed to the range you play—is against labours laws in some countries, in Indonesia this is the norm.

The casting process entails disclosing your biological age. Which makes very little sense to me because:

  1. Some people just don’t look their age;
  2. A 33-year-old may look 33 but may not necessarily act their age; and
  3. It skewers the casting director’s view of an actor’s potential. For instance, if an actor looks like they could play 15 when they’re biologically 21, wouldn’t the knowledge that they’re in fact 21 just ruin your image of what that actor can do for you? Contrary to popular belief, I’ve learned that some people have very little control of what and how they think. Why can’t you just let your imagination do the work for you like proper creative people?

And the thing is, the question of age rarely has to do with legal concerns of an actor being a minor/child rights. Shouldn’t it be that you search for a hire, we have a deal, I deliver a service. Why dip your fingers into irrelevant personal details?

I don’t understand why I need to keep stressing that people have very little control over how they basically look and how their bodies develop.

So why am I being repeatedly punished for it, and likewise, why do we reward people for it? Let’s not delude ourselves: Acting awards are very much about looks, but I digress and that’s worthy of like three instalments of blog posts in itself. So let’s not go there today.

I got into a heated argument on Twitter with what’s supposed to be the casting directors’ association, and CSA they are not. They couldn’t argue against my reasoning and ended up saying, “well then just lie about your age!” Which is exactly what my first agent did in 2010. He lied about my age every time, made me three years younger (and in 2010 I was four years younger than I am now. Duh). Because we’re working in an industry that encourages lying. And why would we want to build an industry that encourages lying? It makes no logical sense?

The mind boggles.

Limiting acting as a profession only to people who look their age, would just mess the entire workforce and the industry would miss out on so much wasted talent. Like, I’m not implying that I’m talented and you’re missing out on me, specifically. But I’m just sayin’ you’re probably missing out on a lot of fun because you’re nosy.

One of the reasons why it’s always been hard for me to get star-struck is because I attended schools with actresses/models (not that I normally recognise people/necessarily know who they are at all until a friend points it out to me at the mall/a concert). Like, literally, the professor would do a roll call and a student would tell the teacher that so-and-so isn’t present because they’re filming something. For some girls I went to school with, acting/modelling is just a phase everyone goes through (some start early in high school, but most start in university where you have more control over your credits/schedule). It’s almost like a coming-of-age or rite-of-passage thing.

But when my friends were 15–23, I was busy doing other things and I wasn’t physically ready to do that. So why is that, now that I am, and I’m just doing what everyone else was doing all along anyway—albeit late, all of the sudden everyone’s bitter and angry at me?

The irony being that it’s exactly the classmates who used to be television and magazine spreads—and are now, seemingly resentfully, settling down—who are most upset about my late-blooming acting ‘career’. Again, it’s not my fault that when they were all out acting/modelling, I still hadn’t shed my baby fat. They’ve done it, now it’s my turn.

I wouldn’t necessarily label my pursuing acting “ticking a life experience off” some sort of bucket list, but sometimes I wish people would see it that way because then they’d probably be less judgemental about me (even if that places me a level below ‘dilettante’).  Sometimes I do question my own motivations, IDK. All I know is that I really want to play mean girls. Why isn’t anyone hiring me to play mean girls?! *Flips table*

I only plan on doing this until 2024, and my goal is to have five roles by then (I’ve already got two down). And then I’d return to doing development/aid work full-time. IDK, maybe run for office? LMAO.

And as I’ve recently discovered, my baby fat was still very much there during my UN internship, and that was well after grad school:

So, I do have a very valid excuse for being late to the party.

3. Colonial-hangover: Height, hair, shadism, and classism

Indonesian beauty standards are racist. The ideal is: fair skin, pointy nose, typical Caucasian-standard height. In addition to being racist, it can be incredibly classist as well (and I’m not only talking about how the origins of the term ‘blue blood’— which is visible veins on one’s wrists).

3.1. Racism

I feel like a villain capitalising on a postcolonial society’s internally-racist collective mindset, like an internalised neo-colonialist oppressing my own people. As much as I do enjoy the work and I don’t want to stop, pure guilt (the kind with few justifications) is an awful feeling.

I know cashing in on a racist culture I was not responsible in shaping is not as absurdly backward as glorifying colonialism through celebrations like the Commonwealth Games, or honouring/knighting racists (though I’ve always liked the idea of people being knighted for having big enough balls to issue public apologies for racist acts, whether intentional or simply a result of ignorance—because that’s actually the chivalrous thing to do, but I guess I’m just an unrealistic silly little dreamer living in a fantasy world—I guess I expect too much of modern-day Europe). But, still… Irks me how some—not all—European royals so shamelessly celebrate colonialism. I’m not impressed. At all. I’m disappointed.

The kind of racism I will to discuss here is mostly of the postcolonial variety (European-centric beauty standards, a result of centuries of colonialism—which included an entire three-tier apartheid system—with a touch of East Asian occupation nearing the end of WWII). And then of course there’s this:

But I don’t want to turn this into a dissertation. I have so much to vent about and I could truly write entire blog posts on each of these points, but I’m not sure I have that kind of time or energy. I might elaborate on some points later on, if I feel the need. But for now, I just need to get this over with.

3.1.1. Shadism (Skin Colour)

For those of you who’ve never heard of ‘shadism’, feel free to Google it. The Wikipedia page is helpful enough. This article is also insightful. As are these videos:

Here’s another video from AJ Stream.

Indonesia, like many former colonies, suffer from this thing called “colonial-hangover”: An inferiority complex that former-colony citizens tend to suffer from.

And the industry has this tendency to manufacture “idols” in the image of our former Caucasian/East Asian colonisers. When I came in full makeup for my second set of headshots, the studio people literally thought I was auditioning for a K-pop girlband. Why would they think that? I don’t even know how to sing—oh, wait… Nobody cares if you can sing, everyone trades on looks in the Indonesian entertainment industry.

I don’t know how to change it, I’m not even sure change will occur in my lifetime. Because even ethical brands like The Body Shop, now owned by L’Oréal, have skin-whitening lines (Anita Roddick must be rolling in her grave right now).

The West (America, Europe) is mostly where Asian actors are actually allowed to look Asian. Do you think those so-called “dusky” Desi actors you see in Hollywood/Europe would have gotten hired back in Bollywood? No. Bollywood will hire the light-skinned actors, so if the West starts cultivating this habit of whitewashing characters of colour in the name of “bankability”, it will be the end of us!

That said, I’m not tempted to move to L.A. because I worry I’ll be stuck playing half-blood princesses in utopias, dystopias, and everything in between forever. LOL.

This. This is what’s happening outside your wittle Hollywood bubble. This is why it’s not okay to cast a character named Khan Noonien Singh in the image of the former colonisers of the geopolitical region that character represents (the subcontinent). Because the cause of helping people feel comfortable in their own skin should be more important, and far outweighs, your personal cause of acquiring that fourth McMansion, or becoming a Hollywood A-lister.

Why? Why do Hollywood decision-makers have to hire someone just because they’re bankable (i.e. have a fanbase they can easily exploit) instead of doing the right thing? Why do the actors accept? Why would you keep it a secret from everybody until the last minute if you knew what you were doing wouldn’t prompt protest until it was too late? Why would you something like that? Are people just mindless, or are they really that heartless?

I get so frustrated with life when I see “fangirls” not only condone that casting behaviour, they celebrate it. You’ll argue that it’s just one film, it’s no big deal. Because your favourite is a rainbow-farting unicorn prince. No, it’s not “just a film”, this is systematic racism at play. It will lead to a domino effect, because it’s so high-profile, and it sets an example (a bad one at it too). Once one film does it, others follow suit. And then protective Asian parents won’t see acting as a viable career for their children because they keep seeing white people snatch Asian roles. Acting is not even ‘competitive’ for some actors of colour because you can’t even get pass the door to compete in the first place, and then you have less Asian actors in the business. Which then, in turn, justifies racists saying things like, “there aren’t enough Asian talent in the roster.” It’s a vicious cycle and you’re keeping it ongoing. Could you possibly be any more myopic?

Maybe I’m stupid, but I really can’t see any way to argue for it without sounding like a white supremacist.

One argument for the whitewashing I keep coming across is that, “if someone is an excellent actor, why care about his skin colour—despite how it destroys the narrative, and reduces a work into meaninglessness?” That implies that you don’t believe there are any available English-speaking actors of colour who are talented enough for the role (as in they believe only white people can ever be capable of that skilful in acting). Which is absolute, utter bollocks. Just because I’m the only English-speaking actress you personally know (and I happen to be mediocre and less-talented) doesn’t mean all of the others are like that. Stunt casting I can understand, but how these seasoned professionals can ruin an entire narrative like it’s the least important element of a film is beyond me. You’ve reduced it into meaninglessness. You people should know better.

And I know it’s easy to argue that the name of this very-fictional-character doesn’t even make sense, and neither does “Hikaru Sulu”. But that’s the point. It’s like having a Scandinavian first-name and a Sanskrit surname, it makes no sense but it makes sense if you’re a Third Culture Kid. I think these ‘chaotic names’ were meant to not make sense (so they can represent entire geopolitical regions without explicitly referring to one state). They were trying to make a point, there’s a beauty to that nonsensical chaos… But what I’m seeing here is extremely ugly picture of racism and greed in Hollywood. At this point, Hollywood seems so racist to me, I find myself literally wondering how hard was is for people to roll the n-word off their tongues for certain roles (easy, I imagine). In what’s supposed to a haven where Asian actors are actually allowed to look Asian. Because Indonesian actors sure as hell aren’t allowed to look Indonesian in Indonesia!

Seeing people apologising for lens flare when they should be apologising for racist casting decisions, or not apologising at all for accepting roles they should know better not to when it’s not like they’re struggling actors scraping for work… It makes me feel like “what a horrible world to bring a child into”, that we live in a world where people think nothing of doing such damaging acts toward society. Just watching these people function makes me want to get my tubes tied. You’re alive and well, you have the opportunity to apologise, and yet you’re wasting your life away chasing things that don’t really matter when you should be tending to your legacy. Because 100 years from now, everyone’s just going to laugh at how backward you all are. And don’t make me say I told you so. People are allowed to be ‘flawed’, but there is a reasonable limit, and this is out of line, in my books. I want nothing to do with this.

And if the British government or monarchy want to honour and reward people involved in this mess, then this isn’t a world I want to bring any children into. Because any biological child of mine will be a person of colour.

3.1.2. Height

…and that colonial-hangover is why, although people tend to care less about an actor’s height in the West, they care a great deal about it down here. Which is why leads can’t be the “average” (realistic) Asian height. Instead, actresses have to be over 165 cm—although I’m PRET-TY sure there are Western actresses who’ve played leads who are 5’0” like me. People like the Eurasian look (European features but not too much so as to avoid alienating the general public).

It’s not even my fault that most men from one side of my family are all tall and lanky but the women are short. And so what if I’m short? Why would you want everyone on your show to be so tall anyway? And again, you’re fostering a work culture that encourages lying, because nobody at the attendance list at the casting offices list their height as anything under 165 cm, and yet some of them are shorter than me! I don’t think it’ll hurt anyone’s eyes to see two leads with significant height difference.

You’d rather have bad acting from a tall person, than average acting from a person of average height? Right, because I’m sure height has everything to do with quality of acting:

That’s why nobody ever makes BBC “Sherlock” GIFs on Tumblr. Ever. That’s why there aren’t anywhere near 66,000 pieces of fanfiction on AO3 and another gajillion on (not that I’ve ever wasted any precious minutes of my life to write any fanfic! Me? NEVEEERRR…). That’s why it’s not rated 9.3 on IMDb. That’s why nobody bothers speculating about minor characters like Victor Trevor on message boards. That’s why I didn’t dress up as Mr. Holmes for Halloween. And that’s why according to BBC’s stats nobody watches it with the exception of like 10 bored people (not including the other three on iPlayer, two of which were nodding through into their sleep). On top of that, while I don’t know what good acting is like, the acting on that show sucks. Big time. The production design stinks. The writing is mediocre at best. The choice of music is awful. I hate Sherlock’s stupid mop. The wardrobe department have terrible fashion sense. BBC’s “Sherlock” is the very definition of ‘crap telly’.

My goodness! Aren’t there enough dead people rolling in their graves because of this post? Poor SACD. But most of all, that show sucks because their two leads’ s are too far apart in the height department:

Crap Telly
Crap Telly

And for the gajillionth time: I’m not “short”, I’m a chibi supermodel.

3.1.3. Nose

Our former colonisers had big pointy noses. I’ll admit I find it cute on some people (just like the way I prefer taller men because that’s what I’ve been accustomed to growing up—nothing to do with internalised-racism and, frankly, a personal preference is none of anyone’s business). But fetishising it to the point of depriving people of jobs because they have what a normal Austronesian’s nose should look like is wrong. Why are you depriving people of jobs for being normal? I don’t understand. I see people always taking photos from a certain angle to show-off their pointy noses. I’ve experimented and parodied it (please excuse the weirdness of that photo, it’s me making records of which lip gloss colours make my teeth look whiter). It’s wrong.

3.2. Hair

I’m not sure where this fits?

Racism? Classism? Snow White?

I’m betting if you’re a Westerner, you’re very confused now? Let me explain: To the untrained eye—and especially Westerners who are used to more blatant contrasts in the colour of people’s hair (which I understand range from platinum blond to jet black), my hair is just black. But to Indonesians—who are accustomed to more subtle ranges of hair colour, my hair is black… Just not black enough. It looks ‘sun-kissed’ and Indonesians find it distasteful for the same reason the terms “alay” (anak layangan) and “blue blood” came to be. Except my hair isn’t ‘sun-kissed’. This is my natural hair colour. My maternal grandmother and my own mother both have copper undertones, I even occasionally find dark blonde/ginger strands (which is horror-film-scary sometimes, because it feels like someone else’s hair grew on my scalp—very creepy indeed).

Then when I was in middle school, I remember this hair-dye fad where women would dye their hair chestnut brown/hazel like it’s a good thing. I specifically remember that was in middle school because I got called into the headmaster’s office because someone in the faculty suspected I had dyed my hair, which was against the rules—I’ve never dyed my hair my entire life. And I had to explain it was my natural hair colour. They were even going to call my parents.

So far, I haven’t gotten into any trouble for my hair colour. Eurasian actresses tend to have even lighter hair colours and I guess that makes my hair look darker in comparison. So I’m fine.

This one’s confusing because I keep getting mixed messages about this standard. On one hand, it’s considered ugly because it’s associated with being sun-kissed and therefore lower class, then there’s the fact that jet black hair makes one’s skin look lighter in comparison—which makes is desirable, a second later a shampoo ad will say it’s a sign of unhealthy hair, then it’s pretty again because it’s associated with looking European. I don’t know, I’m really just confused.

3.3. Classism

The beauty standards are classist as hell. You not only have a “type” like actors in the West, but it’s like you’re also assigned an entire socioeconomic class of roles. I see Hollywood actors get to play everything from working class to upper-class, and that just doesn’t happen here. A person’s look as whole determines the class they play.

And people are not shy about being explicitly classist. In fact when I just started, one of the ways people explained which category of an actress/model I was, was by using this really classist department store test/analogy. I was absolutely horrified. I won’t elaborate because it’s so embarrassingly classist I can’t bear to repeat what I was told, but let’s just say I was left feeling like a version of Sheila Birling with no redeeming qualities.

I get that this a classist culture: Can you even imagine what a British upstairs/downstairs drama would look like in Javanese? Oh, the level of ndoro-ism. LOL. And note that politesse in Javanese isn’t mere conjugation like it is in French, they’re three distinct levels of languages with equivalents that barely sound alike. At least you don’t see the downstairs folks crawling on the floor serving the upstairs peeps in British shows, you know?

Don’t even get me started with the portrayal of professions like domestic work. Domestic workers, nannies, and house staff get such appallingly unfair treatment. The only thing I can think of that’s worse is the attitudes I encountered as a research assistant for that child domestic workers report I helped with. People are messed up.

4. The Disorganisation

Casting offices are terribly managed. Nanny-ish agents need to stop hustling and cutting lines. It’s annoying. I really like what the last casting office I auditioned at, they gave you numbers. My agent told me to arrive early (11:00 and I arrived 11 minutes late after getting lost—so I got number 24, but that’s my own fault and that’s how it should be). Like I said, I’ve never really met a stereotypical truly catty actress before, but the agents can be cruel.

One nanny-ish agent asked me for a hair-band for their actor and then completely forgot about it the next day and cut lines again. I don’t expect him to owe me for life or anything! LOL. Over a freaking headband, but the man didn’t even have the decency to say thank you, he’s only nice when he needs a hair-band. I get that this is how you earn a living, but be a human being, man. Sheesh. One also negged me (insulting my skater dress uniform to put me down).

One time I had to wait from 13:30 and only got in after19:00 because that ‘oknum’ kept on cutting lines. And since Indonesian casting directors mostly ask for you to improvise—and they can change their minds about what role they want you to audition for last minute after having actually seen you in person in the casting room, you barely have the brain power to improvise anymore by the time you manage to get in.

5. Paying for roles

You heard me: Paying. For. Roles.

Like a true classic Russian reversal joke.

In Indonesia actors don’t get paid by production companies, actors pay you. This is why I don’t even have the energy to be bitter or jealous about nepotism. Because I’ve got bigger problems to deal with, namely: The fact that there are more wealthy people than there are well-connected people and I have to compete with people willing to pay for roles. I’ve heard these irritating anecdotes of people going through the works (audition, callbacks, screen test) only to never hear from the employers again and later discover the role had been bought off. People talk about it online so nonchalantly like it’s nothing, like it’s the most normal thing in the world—for me, it’s never normalised. It’s still weird and will always be. It’s so prevalent that even my mother is aware of about it. And she doesn’t care for the industry.

For those of you who don’t know me personally, my parents disapprove of my acting. In fact, that’s going to be like my designated tragic Hollywood backstory (you know, the sob story you milk during awards season, constantly ramble about to voters to gain sympathy votes, and maybe even find a way to incorporate into your acceptance speech where appropriate). Of course part of me is grateful I don’t have a scary “Black Swan”-type momager, but it’s hard doing something when you don’t have your parents’ blessings.

In fact one of the reasons, apart from the reason already stated above, I started late is because I had to wait until I reached an age where it would be inappropriate for my parents to control my life choices to such an extent. Now I have a certain amount of autonomy and I don’t ask for permission. They still micromanage a little, but at least because I’m the first in my family to do this, they wouldn’t even know what to micromanage because they don’t understand how the industry works (not that I do myself, anyway, ha). Now I’m old enough for my parents to not tell me what to do, although I still get the scowls. But it’s worth it because I like having something to call my own even if it gets lonely and scary.

Anyway, my mother especially hates that I do this. I think her biggest fear is that I end up marrying an actor (and now I can see why).

Then again she is scared of everything. She always seems to hold me back for the slightest appointment that’s acting-related. I think mostly because she doesn’t want me to live the lifestyle and she doesn’t want me fraternising with actors, that much—I think it’s because she keeps seeing all these high-profile celebrity divorces, flaunting their dirty laundry to the press, and actors (the famous ones at least—and I don’t think Mother quite understands that you can still be an actress without having to become famous, which is what I aim to do) are like a symbol of unhappy marriage, relationships not taken seriously, and abandonment to her. So she would really prefer I stay out the scene.

So now that we’ve established just how unsupportive my dear mother is and how clueless my parents are about the industry: Despite her disapproval, if there’s one thing she is willing to meddle in, it’s this issue.

As much as she’s unsupportive of the grand scheme, she does ask about this. It’s like she does an ‘integrity-check’. She always checks that I’m getting paid, and not paying, for roles. She emphasises that she doesn’t care how much I get paid, so long as I get paid. Even if it’s just a symbolic US$1.00 (and this is coming from a woman who thinks my unpaid internship was a good investment to get my foot in the door—it certainly was). I think she thinks that my paying for roles would bring shame to the family. I agree. I’m not above working on student films and buying my own lunch during filming, but I would never pay for a role.

This isn’t me ranting, “oh, I wish my parents would pay for a role!” Because it truly isn’t. I want a clean record of actually earning things from scratch because it’s more satisfying that way. So, ja. Absurd as it is, ‘beli peran’ is a thing.

The one thing…

Hahah. If they’re good at one thing.

I’d normally gravitate towards picking about the “guarding actors’ fragile egos” thing that I mentioned in my first “Fascinating Firsts” post on hand acting, but that doesn’t apply to me (because I don’t really care if I get cast in supporting roles anyway). Though it is the first thing that comes to mind.

But since I stress out over Inspira for the UN YPP every year, so I’ll stick with… *Drum roll* Non-Inspira! LOL.

I guess I’ll just show some appreciation over the fact that people actually hire me after seeing me in person. And I’m not being assessed by an evil HR software or something. Don’t get me wrong: I am very grateful for the Internet. The truth is, I’ve never gotten an non-acting job through a conventional job interview before (I’m a very unimpressive interviewee, apparently). When it comes to office jobs, either I get offered online, find work online, or offered on-the-spot at networking/alumni events and such. But acting is the one place where I ever walked into a job recruitment process, people see me in person, and for the first time in my life… Hired me for something that way. That’s just about the most normal thing about this whole experience, the one thing that is normal.

Normality. We don’t get much of that in this line of work, do we now?

Last updated: December 29, 2014

Sorry. I know this is badly-written. I’m proofreading and adding to my December drafts in a hurry because I still need to help my friend edit her NaNoWriMo thing before it’s sent to the publishers in January!