What Kind of Role Model Do You Want to Be?

September 19, 2013

thYou may just be laying down your roots in the entertainment industry, but it’s possible (if not probable) you’re only a few roles or months away from landing the choice TV, film, or commercial role of your dreams. And then what? The glory of doing quality work, an upgraded agent, the possible need to relocate, and hopefully big fat paychecks could be some of the changes you’ll be adjusting to seemingly all at once. Then comes the moment people begin to call you by your character’s name when you’re waiting in the supermarket line, or maybe the cop that pulls you over for speeding recognizes you from that show. Your public reputation is suddenly something with which you need to concern yourself. Are you prepared to be the kind of role model you aspire to be?

Chances are, you’re probably already are a role model to several people in your life. Maybe it’s a sibling, a coworker, a neighbor or a fellow actor. Having a good idea of who looks up to you and why can help you to tap into your best qualities. Life is certain to present you with many challenges and, with those challenges, you’ll need to make choices which affect both you as well as others. Would you want those you care about to imitate your habits and lifestyle?

Now may be the time to seriously consider how you want to be perceived in the industry and what kind of impact you wish to have on humanity at large. Actors and celebrities are tremendously influential people, even on a local level. Let’s face it, everyone wants to be in the movies and on TV. It’s just the way it is. So, giving some thought to those you might inspire is a tangible concern.

Many people consider award-winning actress, Angelina Jolie to be a positive role model with her ongoing commitment to humanitarian causes, her work as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, as well as for making a strong impression on women around the globe by sharing the story of her double mastectomy. But for years, Jolie was vilified in the press as being a marriage wrecker, and a drinker of Billy-Bob blood. The public often credits you when you move on from your “mistakes” and try to set things right by demonstrating a measure of humility and taking responsibility for your actions. On the other hand, Miley Cyrus has been widely praised for her charity work, she’s been in Youth Service America among other philanthropic organizations for years. But it’s not too hard to imagine that many may no longer regard her as a positive role model after her recent controversies. The ball really is in her court–and the same is true for all of us. You earn your reputation every day; every time you audition, every time you step foot on the set, and every time you find yourself in front of a hot mic, you might want to consider the lasting impression you may be making on the folks who look up to you.

So, do you think actors and performers should concern themselves with being good role models? Or do you believe, as does Charles Barkley, that entertainers are not role models and should not be considered as such? And finally, who are your role models and why? Particularly as it concerns the glorious field of acting for the stage and screen.