When I think about all of the auditions I've been to in the past, there's one that will always remain at the top of my memory. I was a junior in college, and I had finally managed to sneak away from campus on a Saturday morning to head to Dance 411 in Atlanta. One of the most popular agencies in the south had been looking for fresh new talent to sign. All I kept telling myself in my head was "If I get signed, I'm going to be set for good! This is a chance at my big break!" - And so did just about all of Atlanta that could fit in that one studio. (Yeah, you could only imagine how packed it was in that room.) But I was focused; and no matter what happened that day, I was going to give it my all and leave a lasting impression.... so I thought.
I'll never forget the abrupt silence in the room after one of our choreographers turned off the music. "I need everyone to stop right now! Stop, and look around the room" he said. "Why do all of you look the same?!? The natural curly haired girl is REPLACEABLE. I need you all to come in looking like you actually want the job. If you look the same as the girl next to you, you are already forgotten." - That moment is when I realized that I had to take a hard look at myself, to determine who I wanted to be in this industry. I panicked... The "natural curly hair" IS my look! If you know me, I have a lot of hair, and I love to rock it wild and free whenever I can. I was crushed to hear one of my favorite choreographers indirectly call me forgettable and replaceable. I felt like I had no chance of getting my big break, despite my talents. So, when I headed back to school, it was back to the drawing board.
From that point on, I began playing with different hair colors and styles so that I could find THE look. I've never dyed my actual hair, and I honestly don't plan to for a very long time. So, around this time, I fell in love with wigs! I would go and buy cheap wigs at the local beauty supply store to see if I liked certain colors and lengths, and if it didn't work, I could simply just take it off and try another (when my college bank account would allow it lol). Let's not even talk about how I managed to install these wigs... Weaves and wig installs are NOT my forte, so we'll revisit this topic in part 2,
As I tried to embrace these new dos, there were a number of impromptu calls for auditions in Atlanta that I wanted to attend. Now that I had changed my look, I quickly realized that I needed new headshots. Going
to an audition with your headshots looking one way while you physically look a different way is a complete no no. If so, you might as well turn right back around and head home. But come on; I'm stuck in a college dorm with barely enough money to pay for food. How in the world was I going to be able to pay for brand new last minute headshots? Ding Ding Ding! (I didn't lol). A close friend of mine (who was also my roommate at the time) introduced me to the notorious "Bootleg Headshots''. Whenever I needed quick new headshots to attach to my resume, she would post me against our white wall in the apartment and take photos of me with our phones. Yes I said it, our phones! The quality of the photos were horrible compared to real headshots, but we tried our best to touch up these photos with countless filters, and once we edited one or two to our liking, I went straight to Office Depot to print them out on glossy card stock.
Genius, I know! So even though I didn't have quality headshots at the time, my bootleg headshots got me in the door to a few auditions while I tried a couple of new styles. It wasn't until after I graduated from college that I started to develop a persona, which finally gained the attention of a few others in the industry.
Thank you for reading! Be on the look out for Finding Your Look: The Ultimate Struggle Part 2, coming soon!