While scrolling through the glorious world of Facebook, I stumbled upon a new comedy short film which is produced by BBC Three and Rebel Park Productions. This short film featured Catherine Tate, Gemma Arterton, Anthony Welsh, Felicity Jones, Gemma Chan, Emelia Clark , Wunmi Mosaku, Stacy Martin, Katie Leung, Lena Headly, Tom Hiddleston, Florence Pugh and directed/written by Jessica Swale.
This film features actresses auditioning for a new role, and being coxed by the audition panel to be more sexy, more smiley, more white, wear make-up and basically radiate sex appeal for a part which doesn't need that.
To me, it is excellent that the BBC are being this raw with their comedy, and also raising awareness to the fact that it shouldn't be this way. Rather than sex appeal, they should be looking for raw talent. The industry has become that driven by sex appeal that colleges are even starting to tell students, if you can't be sexy or look appealing, you're going to fail. Which in a sense is absolutely true due to the condition the acting industry is currently in. However, lecturers should be encouraging their students to rise above this, work on their talent, and go for the roles they want. Especially woman, I feel they should be able to now take a stand against unreasonable demands during an audition, thanks to the #metoo campaign.
Sex appeal shouldn't be the main aspect of what sells you as an actor. Friends of mine have told me horror story requests during auditions, asking them to wear specific very revealing clothing that they supplied for a recall. But they specified they just wanted to see her in the clothing, no acting would be required, to which my friend simply said “No, this is not about my body, this is about my acting, if you don't want to see me act at the recall then, I'm just going to decline your request. I'm an actor, not a model.” She did not attend the recall and was told upon rejecting their request, she would not get the part, as they said it was mandatory for them to get a real look for the character, even though the clothing was not used in the short film, nor anything remotely related for this specific character.
This is not only specific for women, men are also expected to have sex appeal, look at the biggest actors in the world, slim, handsome and most likely have a six pack. It’s not the most accurate representation of the world is it?
For me, I want the short film, Leading Lady Parts, to go far and wide, make people aware even though this is a comedy, its reality for actors in the industry. And it needs to change. That's why casting directors, production companies, writers and directors need to start thinking on hiring people with talent. Not looks. The link is below, share the video, make people aware.