Surviving the audition!

True, the audition can be a daunting experience for many, and has been described as being akin to angina – cheat pain, shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, etcetera – and the worst part is that there really is no universal cure for it, as it manifests differently in each individual.

And while dancing trance-like in the middle of a busy intersection, oblivious to the car zipping by in all directions at a neck-breaking pace may be an exhilarating alternative to getting drunk or chewing your fingernails to the knuckles, here is a list of seven, less dramatic, but more pragmatic, Zen-like practises that can help you to survive the pre- and post-audition angst.

  1. Relax and be you. You cannot play anyone better than you can play yourself, you are the only person who can play you, and you don’t even have to work at it! Isn’t that the greatest news ever?! So, relax, you got this!  Regardless of all the negative programming in your head, you are endowed with strength, beauty, and everything it takes to be what you want to be. So reach in and find it, and quit trying to be someone else; know thyself, and be thyself!
  2. Exude confidence. Modelling is not about looking pretty, sexy, or even looking confident, it is about being confident; confidence emanates from within, it is not something you put on like a pair of sunglasses or an overcoat, it must emanate from within. Very often models do not apply for a job because they feel they are not ‘pretty’ enough. The reality is that you can be made to look pretty, but no one can give you confidence you lack, and walking into an audition, everyone will know if you lack it.

It is important to remember that you will not be a match for every job, and while having the specific ”look” for a particular job will help you to book that one gig, being confident about who you are, will help  you lay the brickwork of future jobs.

  1. Don’t be cocky. Now I know I just said be confident, but there is a difference between confidence and cocky. Learn the difference; that knowledge will serve you well. Here is it theoretically: confidence is a quietness that comes from within, knowing what you can do without feeling a need to show it off; cocky is the veneer you wear when you are not confident about who or what you are. Cocky is therefore a cover, and confidence is your undercover.
  2. Know that not every job is right for you, and that you are not right for every job. So don’t quit when you didn’t get the job you thought was ”the one.” I will paraphrase Dustin Hoffman here by saying, just keep swinging, you may not hit the ball every day, but there are days that you will, and on the days that you don’t, well that is just practise; so keep swinging!
  3. Practise, practise, practise! Every job you didn’t get prepares you for, and brings you closer to the ones you are suited for. Every audition is practise, you get better at what to do and what is expected of you, most importantly, you learn about yourself and about the types of job you don’t want. Auditioning is simply keeping your skills sharp and keeping your face and name in the game. It is not always about the goal, it’s the process.
  4. Suppress the urge to gossip (tough, I understand)! From the time you leave your home to the time you return, you never know who you will encounter on the train, in the elevator, in the hallway, or anywhere in public (to include Facebook or any online forum), so don’t trash-talk or speak ill of anyone.  As a general rule try not to even focus on idle chatter, and non-productive minutiae, that serves only to clog the creative channels, and retard the production line.
  5. Don’t lose your cool over one audition! So, you weren’t selected, it happens to the best of us, the world will still revolve. Brad Pitt was rejected many times and was told that he had no acting skills; Clint Eastwood was rejected because he was ”too ugly,” and even Cindy Crawford was rejected because for her ‘imperfection’ – the mole on her face, which actually later became her signature look, and catapulted her into stardom.

The point is that there is a litany of famous models, who are far from fitting the conventional definition of beautiful and perfect; models, who succeed because of their gumption and determination. So if you ever need a kick in the derriere after a humble tumble off the throne of grandiloquence, watch this video to remind yourself of the benefits of quiet, simple perseverance. Then get up, lift your chin up, get right back on that bucking horse, and remember that Rome was not built in a day…….even several millennia later, they are still working on it!