Before I ever picked up a mic or learned about “the game”, “callbacks” or “the rule of three” (just used it there, didn’t I) I was taught how to make my waist smaller. Saran wrap, starvation, and laxatives. All glamour, baby. I specifically remember my runway coach telling me to look sexier when I walked, to which I replied, “I’m still teething.” I was eleven and already making fun of this.
I made a whole career out of being photoshopped and hungry. I mastered the “bitch” face and walked in heels so high they made my nose bleed. Don’t misunderstand, I’m extremely grateful for the opportunities that modeling provided. I got to travel the world, learn another language, and meet crazy talented people, but I can honestly say that I was really excited about putting all that to the side and working on my jokes.
One of my first assignments in an improv class was to pick a family member and walk around like them. This was a lot of fun. I picked my Aunt Ginger and went wild with her hand gestures and facial expressions. She has this really intense look when she’s worried, so I milked that the whole exercise. Within seconds, I made her look and sound like a complete lunatic. It was pretty funny and specific (if I do say so myself) but afterward, I felt dirty. She’s my favorite relative and here I am making fun of her. How gross was I?
The richest comedy comes from truth, so of course it’s natural to draw from your life. But anytime I was tempted to pull from people I knew and loved, I was resistant from guilt. Until one random, glorious day…
An improv assignment suggested making a list of all the crazy, interesting people we knew. After looking at my list I couldn’t help but wonder, “How would they feel about this?” Then, I had an even more frightening thought: “How do they see me (cue cartoon light bulb)?”
I jumped up and performed a sketch character of myself, and boy, did I pull out the crazy. I made fun of my little quirks, over exaggerated my big eyes, and quoted every self-help book I’ve ever read (I’m a closet self-helper). I was an ADD, needy, loser, with crazy eyes who was terrified of being late. While I felt extremely exposed it was a massive relief to see the humor in my insecurities and flaws. Alas, I was free! Today, I’m not only able to dish it (privately) but I can totally take it! It’s like roasting yourself. The best person to roast us, is, well… us.
I recently launched a web series called “Recovering Model” which digs at certain aspects of my life. As an actress/model, I’m quickly sliding out of the “hot chick” category into that “mom that sells dish washers” bracket. And while I’ll take any paycheck, it’s not only a bump to the ego, but can be a total identity crisis! Certain thoughts might have entered my brain: “Who am I? Time to have babies? Should I lie back and crochet my pretend husband another scarf?!”
Everything was a lot simpler when I shopped in the children’s department and thought NPR was a cool new restaurant. I tried to ignore this stage of life, then found that incredibly boring. So here’s a little unconventional self-help advice from someone with no credentials: Make fun of yourself! We are hilarious.