America Ferrera received an Emmy for her quirky depiction of fashion-inept Betty Suarez in Ugly Betty; also, America was once proclaimed one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, and you can recognize her voice in the How to Train Your Dragon movies. But she was not always such a hot Hollywood commodity. Her parents had immigrated to the United States from Honduras, and her mom was hesitant to support her young daughter in her decision to pursue acting. After all, as a child America noticed, “It was so rare for me to turn on the TV and see normal-sized Latina girls.” But when she was 15, she dove into acting classes and paid for them by waiting tables and babysitting. “There was a point I was getting to in the audition process where I auditioned for a year and never got a single callback. I started to question, ‘What is wrong with me? Why don’t they want me?’ Either it breaks you completely or it makes you stronger.” Fortunately, her breakthrough performance in the multi-award winning indie Real Women Have Curves was just around the corner. “What’s so kind of beautiful about the whole thing was that everything that made me not right for all of those hundreds of commercial auditions that I went on and no one ever wanted me for is what made me perfectly right for ‘Real Women Have Curves,'” America reflected.

During that year or two of America’s fruitless auditions, she very well could have given up on her acting ambitions. And she wouldn’t be alone. So, what kind of mental attitude keeps you in the game even during extended rejection streaks?

Here are some quotes from actors that reveal how they frame their thoughts in regards to the vulnerable process of auditioning. Their self-talk keeps them ready to be rejected or accepted–and always keeps them moving forward.

“Don’t be afraid to fail. You’re going to go on a million auditions, and most of them you won’t get. It’s very easy to think, ‘This is not going to work for me,’ but keep at it. It’s very generic advice, but you have to be willing to keep yourself in the game.” –Ike Barinholtz

“I had to stop going to auditions thinking, ‘Oh, I hope they like me.’ I had to go in thinking I was the answer to their problem.” –George Clooney

“I think the best way for me to go into auditions psychologically was to say, ‘You’re not going to get it. This is the only acting experience you’re going to have with this material.'” –Janel Moloney

“Auditions are very strange–you’re there to win, to seek approval. They never get easier, but I did realize that you’re there voluntarily, after all.” –Darren Boyd

“When you go to auditions, pretend you already have the job and you’re just presenting–almost like you’re at the table read. Don’t go in with an air of, ‘Please hire me.’ You’re like, ‘Here’s my take on it. Take it or leave it. I’ve got a lot of other things to do today.'” –Mary Lynn Rajskub

“I don’t really get nervous for auditions because I just see them as mini acting classes. There’s no need to have an attachment to the outcome because it’s out of your hands after that.” –Isabel Lucas

“I would have gone to law school, or gotten a psychology degree. I wasn’t interested in sleeping on a futon forever. And what happened is I walked into auditions, and I had nothing to lose because I had a backup plan.” –Julianna Margulies

“You start at a young age, going on auditions, and you think you did a good job and expect to get that role, and it’s a letdown, a disappointment. So you tell yourself to just do the work and disconnect because you have no control over the outcome.” –Michael B. Jordan

“I don’t try and be competitive with auditions. When I go on one, I kind of just forget about it.”–Charlie Tahan

“Plow through the weeds. Go to the auditions and go to the meetings and be on time. Stop looking to the left or the right. Keep your head down and keep moving.” –Tika Sumpter

“People think that I can just walk into a room and get a job, but of the 200 interviews and auditions I go through a year, I may get three yeses. I just have to use my sense of humor to get me through.” –Oona Chaplin

“You need to develop, somehow, a huge amount of faith and confidence in yourself because there’s a lot of rejection throughout an actor’s life, and you have to believe in yourself more than anyone else.” –Stephen Collins

“In auditions, you’re not up against anyone else; you’re both going in for the role, and it’s like whoever’s right for it will get it. It’s simple. It’s not like, ‘Oh I won!’ There’s never that element. It is very supportive.” –Matthew James Thomas

“I’m a very competitive person, but competitive with myself. I want to be the best that I can be, and if that means that I’m eventually better than everyone else, then so be it. But I don’t go around comparing and contrasting myself with other actors if I can help it. It’s also, I think, the key to my success.” –Wentworth Miller

What words sustain you over the long run in your acting aspirations? Please share!

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