By: Sarah duRivage-Jacobs
Sarah is a New York based actress who hails from a small hippie town right outside of DC. She received her undergraduate training at Towson University and continued her training at T. Schreiber Studio in New York City. She also studied improv at the People’s Improv Theatre. Favorite roles include Marcy in “Dog Sees God,” April in “Hot L Baltimore,” and Sunny in “Attempted Harmonies,” which is currently vying for the top spot at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre’s Winter One Act Festival.
If you’re at all like me, you’ve been in a long and abusive relationship with your “type.” Instead of welcoming your type with open arms, you fight with it and make it feel unwanted. Boy, you’re mean! My whole life – with both acting and with regular ol’ personal issues – I’ve had a hard time being comfortable in my own skin. I always valued qualities which others possessed, and failed to embrace my innate, natural talents: This, as you might imagine, is in direct conflict with being a successful actor. If you’re constantly putting yourself down and not embracing your true self, you’re doing both yourself — and the role — a disservice.
I’m someone who is naturally comedic. No matter what role I play, I end up adding a bizarre spin to it that oftentimes reads as funny. Why? Because that’s what I’m naturally good at. Instead of embracing this, I spent a lot of time diminishing it. I had always wanted to be a super-dramatic ingenue who cried a lot. The funny thing was, however, that I had friends who hated that they never were seen as funny. The grass is always greener!
So how did I change things? I changed my attitude and started acknowledging and appreciating who I am. Knowing what you’re good at means you will submit to the right roles and be more confident in your performances. This kind of thinking has allowed me to realize that I needed to capitalize on what makes me special, instead of obsessing over some silly little ideal that I deemed valuable.
We are great whether we are the romantic lead or the sassy best friend: If we know who we are and what makes us unique, we will be more interesting and fun to watch as performers, as well as easier to cast. This is something that all actors must learn, but why not get a leg up on the competition and learn it early? So, use your type to your advantage and get the damn job!
And, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, remember to LOVE YOURSELF first!