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.

Is Any Publicity Good Publicity?

September 15, 2013

miley-cyrus-tongue-twerk.jpgMiley Cyrus is no stranger to controversy, but as of late, the former Disney darling is front and center in terms of media consciousness with her twerk seen round the world on the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. For those of you living on Pluto, Miley did a red-light district special on crooner Robin Thicke during the performance of her latest hit single, We Can’t Stop. Can’t stop, indeed; Billy Ray’s achy breaky heart is officially broken! To put Miley’s lap dance in perspective, it instantly became the most tweeted event in history–yes, in history–with Twitter users generating 360,000 tweets about the event per minute. The Hollywood Reporter described the performance as “reminiscent of a bad acid trip, “ whereas Jay-Z called Miley “a GOD” for twerking to beat the band. And coming down like a sledgehammer, this past week, Cyrus released her music video Wrecking Ball, which set a Vevo record for 19.3 million views in the first twenty-four hours of its release. But the media frenzy over Miley is nothing unique in America; in fact, these events represent just a few more publicity spasms among a vast array of media magnets including Alec Baldwin, Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes, and Charlie Sheen. For some talents, it seems, there is no amount of attention that is ever quite enough for the public or for their own tremendous egos; they were in the news last week, are in it this week, and stories are being written about them at this moment for next week. But is public controversy really worth it? Does it succeed in not merely getting you noticed, but, in actually helping to build a career?

Considering Miley’s growing fame and following, it appears her recent artistic choices are, at least temporarily, working on her behalf. Similarly, Alec Baldwin, the media magnet at the center of assorted scandals including, but not limited to, airing his marriage beefs publicly, getting kicked off a plane on the runway for refusing to put away his Words With Friends game, leaving a ferocious voicemail to his daughter calling her a “rude, thoughtless little pig,” as well as his recent wrestling match with a paparazzo–all of which inspired Baldwin’s 17-year-old daughter, Ireland, to pen a letter to her new baby sister stating, “You have been born into one crazy family. You are both lucky and cursed at the same time.” Where does Baldwin’s career stand today? Ubiquitous Capital One commercials, record-breaking Saturday Night Live hosting performances, a long-running successful 30 Rock TV series, and he recently announced he will be hosting his own TV talk show on MSNBC, Up Late With Alec Baldwin starting in October.

On the other hand, things have not gone so well for stars Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Bynes; it’s no secret both of their careers have faltered quite noticeably. They may be able to overcome their negative publicity over the long hall in the vein of Robert Downey Jr. or the notorious drug aficionado, Dennis Hopper, but only time will tell. In regards to controversy, the point of diminishing returns seems to be when these actors and performers land in front of the judge one too many times, and begin missing work. Saying controversial things and imbibing in controlled substances is one thing; losing the suits money is quite another. It’s important to understand the publicity game is a tough racket; everyone takes a few punches. But it’s all about getting back up when you’ve been knocked down. For a stark and harrowing example, Baldwin admits he considered suicide after the audio tape rampage directed at his daughter. Clearly, he is a fighter.

One need not be a celebrity to cause varying degrees of scandal on set. A newbie can turn heads with a political stance or with salacious, libertine adventures. The trick seems to be to stay out of jail and promote healthy controversy; as opposed to destructive shenanigans. But there is no doubt, getting noticed can make a difference at any level of the game.

What do you think? Did Miley’s twerk paroxysm help or hinder her career? Does Alec’s public rage fuel his performances or mitigate his greatness? And possibly of greater importance is the ever-looming question: Will Tom Cruise ever jump the couch again?! Please let us know!

What’s This Hollywood Gluten-Free Trend?

April 13, 2012

Free at last! Free at last! Miley Cyrus is gluten-free at last! In fact, the former Hannah Montana star believes everyone should be gluten free. She’s been quoted as saying, “Gluten is crap! Everyone should try to go without it for a week. You won’t go back!” But she’s not the only one touting the benefits of gluten abstinence. A gluten-free diet and lifestyle is the new rage across the nation, and it’s particularly evident in the fitness and youth obsessed capital of the world: Hollywood, CA. Zooey Deschanel, Ryan Phillipe, Gwenyth Paltrow, Jessica Alba, Al Roker, Scar Jo, and even the chain-smoking, hard-partying Billy Bob Thornton have sworn off the enigmatic protein. So what is this mysterious, potentially hazardous substance? A substance, by the way, most of us have been eating our entire lives. Gluten is a protein composite found in wheat, rye, and barley; but from a practical point of view, gluten is the substance that gives all the delicious foods we love to eat (breads, cakes, pasta, muffins) their yummy, chewy texture. So, be forewarned, if you decide to give up gluten you’ll be eschewing club sandwiches, pasta, spaghetti and meatballs (yes, including the meatballs which are made with breadcrumbs) beer, pretzels, cookies, dumplings, pancakes, pizza…oh, this is getting brutal! Your hamburger will go bunless and sit on a salad; your dessert options will be severely diminished to options like dark chocolate, marshmallows, and rice-crispy treats. But don’t be too crestfallen; Miley goes on to rave about her newfound mystical fountain of youth, “The change in your skin, your physical and mental health, it’s amazing!”

Now, keep in mind, these celebrities have been diagnosed a severe food allergy to gluten called Celiac disease or suffer from a sensitivity to gluten. But some experts believe, from an evolutionary perspective, none of our stomachs are ready for gluten foods. After all, science tells us Homo sapiens have been in existence for over 100,000 years, but we’ve only been consuming gluten for the past 10,000 at most. This is a mere blip on the epochal radar of human experience. But critics of the new health kick caution if you are not gluten sensitive, it may not be a good idea to cut out the gluten because you could put yourself at risk of not getting enough fiber, iron, calcium, and B vitamins. And for those who are inspired by Miley’s recent weigh loss, keep in mind there’s no hard evidence that going gluten free is an effective weight loss strategy–especially with all the new high-calorie gluten-free products in markets including waffles, cupcakes, biscuits, and brownies.

So, what’s the bottom line on to-be or not-to-be gluten free? Well, if you’re happy and fit with lots of energy and enthusiasm, and you have the initiative and fortitude to chase your dreams and desires…well, first of all, God bless you! If that’s the case, you’re probably not gluten intolerant. But, if you are sluggish, daunted by everyday tasks, have achy joints; if you feel weak and in need of naps throughout the day, it might be wise to check with your doctor or registered nutritionist to see if a gluten-free adventure is in your future. And, if you happen to be on the fence about the issue, take Miley’s advice and try it for a week. Who knows, maybe your “skin, physical and mental health” will be “amazing!”