What It’s Like to Work in Hollywood If You’re Not a Straight White Male

There’s been lots of chatter about the diversity as well as the gender pay gap in Hollywood. Since the nominations were announced for the Academy Awards this year, there’s been an onslaught of debate about the exclusion in Hollywood. The New York Times recently published an article comprised of anecdotes from 27 actors, actresses, directors, screenwriters and such on their experiences of working in a predominantly White and male industry.

It’s great to see that more and more of the industry players are speaking up about the inequality of working in Tinseltown. Hence, creating more buzz and awareness about the reality of working in an industry that seem so glamorous to many. Even as an audience, I find it fascinating to learn more about the behind the scenes of working in Hollywood and it definitely made me more conscious about the way movies are marketed, the choices made on the actors/actresses for a role/movie, etc. So, kudos for all who sparked off this topic, and those who continue to voice out about it.

Here’s some of my favourite quotes from the NYT article:

Credit: Brinson+Banks for The New York Times

“A U.C.L.A. acting professor gave me good marks in my performance and [said]: “You’re a good actor, which is why I’m telling you, stay the hell out of L.A. There’s not much of a future for you. Go to Asia.” I got an A. He was saying that out of respect.” -Ken Jeong, actor.

Credit: Brinson+Banks for The New York Times

“It was just as hard being working class. I had a roommate — parents write a $20,000 check, and boom, he [makes] his movie. There were people [whose] relatives were [in] Hollywood, and they get all the free equipment. You see, very quickly, that’s the world you’re about to enter.” – Justin Lin, director.

Credit: Brinson+Banks for The New York Times

“I was 18 and putting myself on tape for a movie I really wanted. I got that phone call: They cast a Latino male in another role in the film; they’re not looking to cast [a Latina]. So I defiantly bleached my hair blond, painted my face white and made the audition tape. I never heard back. I just remember feeling so powerless. What do you do when someone says, “Your color skin is not what we’re looking for”? Let me tell you: Blond does not suit me. I try not to prove my point on audition tapes anymore.” – America Ferrera, actress.

Credit: Brinson+Banks for The New York Times

[Coming to Hollywood as an out person], “it scared me. I thought if they don’t like this, I’m going to push their buttons and not mean to. I thought the gayness was what was going to freak people out, and in a lot of ways, it’s the femaleness that causes more problems in a straight, male world. That, I didn’t expect.” – Kimberly Peirce, director.

Read the rest of the New York Times article HERE.



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