I am one of those women senselessly addicted to trashy celebrity magazines and websites like Wonderwall.com. These publications simultaneously glorify and demean stars of film, TV, and music in such a way that makes us feel somewhat better about our own simple, anonymous lives. Either that or they make us hyperaware of the apparent insignificance of our day-to-day doldrums. In a world caught somewhere between those two absolutes, I find it an interesting topic of contemplation.
I should start by explaining that I am an actor of the regional stage. I work nine months out of the year with Tony-award winning directors and shake hands with men like Aaron Sorkin every so often. I operate in a highly respected artistic realm. I make next to nothing and have to claim unemployment at least once a year. My picture is in the local paper in one of the biggest cities in the United States a few times a year—and I have no health insurance. I survive my stretches without steady work by doing local commercials, new play workshops, English voice-over dubbing for Japanese anime, and the like. I suppose I am what one would call an independent contractor.
I read these magazines, watch movies in the theatre, and I get angry. Here I am, toiling away in poverty, doing fantastic, meaningful work with artists for whom I have much respect, while idiots like Megan Fox get paid millions of dollars to be pretty, talking heads in movies about crap. I have been told by relatives and all kinds who think they know what is best for me that I should move out to L.A. and become rich and famous. I even broke down and auditioned for one of those talent shows, made it to Hollywood, only to find that everything my soul has been telling me for a while was right: Hollywood ruins everything and is built on a bunch of crap. Call me bitter, but I want the art of acting to mean something. I read these trashy magazines that quote Megan Fox saying that being a sex symbol is “wonderful. I mean, I didn’t decide to be an actress so people would say I’m really good at chess,” and am infuriated that anyone with such little respect for what she does gets paid so much money. Then again, no one is recognizing her for her mediocre (at best) acting, so she’s got to be thankful for something. I had plans to move out to L.A. after all, swallow my pride, and try to secure a comfortable life for myself doing what I love, until I realized that I’ll be auditioning against idiots with names like Megan Fox to break into a business where almost everyone is a giant ego ball with no real concern for artistry. So I say Megan Fox can have the fleeting fame and pressure of the spotlight. I’ll keep my Playbill credits and good city paper reviews. I have love, good work, and anonymity—and those are things our misguided, materialistic society downplays in pursuit of millions; but richness of soul will never be surpassed by fame and glory.