Sexual harassment has been in the industry for decades! The only thing that changed in recent years are women starting to come out with this information, with their personal stories. Women share the horrible experiences that happened with them, not just in the acting industry. #MeToo movement started after a famous actress, Rose McGowan, came out with the information that one of the Holywood's biggest film producers, Harvey Weinstein, raped and sexually assaulted her. It was a big scandal, you wouldn't go anywhere without hearing about it. Rose McGowan along with 87 other women came out sharing similar experiences, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Beckinsale.
People in Hollywood and Bollywood sleep with famous directors all the time. Let’s not forget when a young actress named Jennifer Lawrence won an Oscar. No one had heard of her until “The Hunger Games” came out, and she was associated with Weinstein. But how does it make those women feel? To spread their legs just for the part? Is that fair to actors who have been struggling financially for 5, 10 and 15 years?
It's tough for us out there in the Mad Men world. Women get paid less than men and they are more prone to a sexual harassment. Therefore, when a woman wants a promotion at a job, she would sleep with a guy who's a higher up in the industry. She's not valued for her ambition or talent, she's valued what's between her legs. Hopefully it's becoming a thing of the past.
Thing with me was this- I actually really liked the guy. Let's call him Alex, and he was an actor. Come on, don’t look at me like that. I’m sure you’ve done it too, slept with someone in your industry. We all do that, because who else would understand what we are going through, if not people in the film industry?
Anyways, Alex booked guest stars, recurring roles throughout his career, and even worked with A-list stars, but Alex wasn’t famous. Nor was he quite my type. Alex wasn’t gorgeous or young, but something about him just stuck to me. Perhaps it was the hustle, the charm and his intelligence that made my broken heart want to feel again. The first time I saw him was at a friend's house and I didn't believe in love at first sight until I laid eyes on him.
Alex was a friendly and nice guy, who wanted other actors to succeed. After texting and sexting for a few weeks we started having a fling. He helped me with my auditions and answered all my questions about the industry, while I helped him with his sexual, animalistic urges. Slowly, I began to fall in love with him. Was it love or a perfect illusion? His mere existence inspired me to do something I haven’t done in years- create. I wrote poems about him, songs that I practiced over and over until they were perfect, I started painting again… I even wrote a screenplay and based my lead character on him. I even started living like Alex. Every morning I got up and listened to self-motivating podcasts, exercised in the afternoon, and in the evenings I read books about self-made millionaires. I even dressed like him just for one day- black t-shirt, boots and grey jeans. Such a simple guy and yet, he was the most interesting man in the world for me.
Few years into the fling and he was casting for his film. My agent got me an audition for a co-star. After giving Alex so much of my time, energy and my best version of self I DIDN'T end up booking the role. ANY ROLE whatsoever.
I asked myself multiple times- was it really my intention in the beginning? ABSOLUTELY NOT! But would it have helped my acting career? Fuck yeah! Like I said earlier, Alex wasn’t famous, but he had a really great team for this movie and co-star would have looked great on my resume. And I understood that there is particular line between professional and personal life. Plus I would have been such a distraction for him on that set.
I felt used like a used, dirty bar rag. I get it- there are better actors out there, but a shot, a one-liner for someone who was going to be homeless at that time...it would have helped. Alex perfectly knew my situation back then, because I shared everything with him. He was the first person I put my trust in after having so many issues with guys prior to him. I had trust issues ever since my first boyfriend, so you know what I mean. I shared with Alex that my roommate bullied and even assaulted me in my own home, that I was barely making ends meet and he didn't offer any help at all. Alex had a very big home that he let his family and friends stay at, but when it came to me- nothing. Was I not his friend?
Whenever mine and Alex’s schedules aligned I always traveled to him. And I always brought little gifts for him- poems and stuffed animals. I was a broke, aspiring actor who worked her ass off on three jobs, and never once I felt fully appreciated. I was always a giver, not a taker. We were friends, but he didn’t want to take photos with me, because he stated“Oh God, what would people think?” Alex didn’t want anyone to know what was going on in his personal life with me, which he tried to separate from professional life as an actor and director. But there he was posting photos online with many other beautiful women, and I wasn’t in one of them. Was I NOT GOOD enough? Was I NOT GORGEOUS enough? Was I NOT TALL enough? Was I enough in general? Did I embarrass him in any way? I was already an anxious person with low self-esteem, so things like that didn’t make sense to me. Alex and I weren’t in a relationship, we were merely friends. He took me to a couple of film events and it was nice to be SEEN by his colleagues and friends. I wanted more though. I wanted to take care of him, be a part of his life. I was perhaps a little desperate with finding someone special in my life back then. I guess that's what happens when two of your engagements fail. I was a lonely, starving artist who just wanted to be taken seriously, who wanted to be ACCEPTED.
A painful thing was- he went out with lots of girls for dinner dates and possibly hookups. I wasn't special to him, but he was special to me, he was someone I admired. I was just one of the few women.
When I asked him about a referral to agencies- he stated “Why do you need it? No one gives a shit about those.” Even other serious questions like how do I sell the script or how do I deal with a bully- he was no help at all, and one time he told me I should deal with bullies like an adult. Who the hell was he to talk to me like that? It's those little things that kept building up inside of me. Not to mention he talked shit about people he worked with, actors he knew, people in general... Who knew? Maybe he talked smack about me behind my back.
I suffered internally and emotionally asking questions like "Did I do something wrong?" "Should I have not bought him that gift?" I was always giving, giving, GIVING and NEVER getting anything in return! This relationship or whatever the fuck it was called reminded me a lot of Kate Winslet's character's relationship with Jasper from the 2004 movie"The Holiday". SOOOO much similarity, so much! It was all one-sided.
When there were crew strikes in late 2021 about people working more than 12 hours a day, not getting lunch breaks, going home and almost falling asleep at the wheel...guess what Alex said about that? And I quote: "Those millennials are fucking lazy and very privileged. I work for more than 12 hours on the set and I never complain." If that was the case, the whole country wouldn't be on strike in the first place.
I remember waking up at 4 am, so I can be on time for a 6 am calltime. It was back in early 2020 and I was working as a 2nd AD, where I didn't get paid, and worked 14 hours a day. Never once had I complained and felt privileged. I felt good about working with like-minded people who had as much fun as me on the set.
But the fact that someone like Alex would say that broke my heart. That was coming from an actor, director and producer who was well-known in his market, and who was waiting in his trailer all day whenever he got booked. He didn't get to lift heavy, expensive camera equipment or cater to a lousy celebrity every 5 minutes. Alex wasn't a part of that story, nor he did a proper research on it. That’s when I started to almost hate him, but I was a good person who one day had enough, and my hate turned into apathy.
I actually felt bad for Alex. Both of his parents died, he never got married or engaged, he was a loner with major health problems. Alex was just a speckle among thousands of other, way better actors. It hurt because I had feelings for him.
However, all that sneaking around, spending my time on him- that was a learning experience. Experience that changed me, that made me feel better about myself. I would NOT do it again with anyone what I went through with him. By the time I broke things off and cut ties with him, I never had so much respect and love for myself.
I've learned that looks and amazing sex skills don’t get you through the door, talent and experience does. I still needed to nail the art of self-taping and get more life experience. I was 25 at the time and felt like I missed out on so many things due to my shy, introverted nature. One day I said “fuck this” and made a bucket list. Things and wishes I needed to complete, agencies I needed to submit to, roles I wanted to audition for, people I wanted to network with, etc. I started working on myself by studying psychology and reading self-help books, along with exercising to motivational videos. I got better in no time. So much better that I was hard to get. I deserved so much better than Alex, who only wanted me for sex. Who called me "hot" instead of "beautiful", who never took me out to fancy places, who never made me feel special, never said that he was lucky to be spending time with me, who never sent a text with "how was your day"...
I deserved a man who gave his time for me, who cared for me, who gave me as much as I gave him, who pursued me and who made me feel special. I deserved a younger man, a true gentleman. When I have realised my true value- that's when I became extremely picky with guys. Maybe I didn't need a man at this point. I needed to focus on myself, spend time investing and learning about law, pursuing other sports, learning a new language…
Have you ever noticed that the world's most gorgeous and successful women are always single? Rihanna is the first one that comes to mind, along with Angelina Jolie. Rihanna is an actor, singer, her lingerie brand came out during CoVid and she is sassy and absolutely gorgeous! Angelina Jolie- where do I even start? Intelligent, caring about the world's problems, a mother to six children, extremely talented actress, stands for human and women's rights, member of Council of Foreign Relations... This woman achieved quite a lot!
Conclusion is- keep pursuing your goals, hustle like 1%, learn your craft, network with people, market yourself. Don't fall in love unless it's two-way deal. Love and relationships should never be one-sided, and everyone should respect each other.
If your intuition is telling you that something is off- LISTEN to it. Stay single until you find the right person, YOUR person. Because you know what they say- you have to kiss many frogs before you find your prince :)