“In The Beginning…”
(Let’s take it by the decades)
0-10 years old: One thing I knew coming right out of the womb was– I was born to entertain! Mama Peace told me that ever since I was a baby I was jonesing to talk– even though I didn’t know any words; I was always LOUD no matter what emotion I was feeling. I was fearless and would often climb up trees to perform, then sometimes I’d start taking my clothes off until someone would come to get me down (toddler’s version of a stripping pole?). When visitors came over I jumped at the chance to sing and dance for them. Nothing made me happier than knowing I was going to become an actress!
10-20 years old: When I was in the 5th grade I found out that all those people on television who were doing what I wanted to do– actually got paid to be there. Wait… What?! You get PAID to ACT?! I couldn’t believe that out of all the things I had naturally migrated towards was an actual real profession (whereby I could get paid to do what I loved!!). Suddenly, my world was FULL of endless possibilities! I danced, sang and acted all through school knowing my future was a sure thing– I was going to be an actress– and maybe even be famous!!
20-30 years old: I followed all the industry rules, freshly trained from a prestigious conservatory, and I became a well-oiled machine– ready for my career to soar! Right off the bat I landed a couple of really great theatre gigs, but– SLAM!– quickly discovered that theatre gigs don’t come directly one after another… I also found out– SLAM!– that if you are an unknown joining a union, you are now going up against name talent (and that– SLAM!– they will be the ones getting the jobs almost 100% of the time). A constant slap in the face was that I was told time and time again that I needed to lose 30 pounds ASAP… or gain 50… and straighten my hair… and color it (etc, etc, etc).
30-39: A lot has changed these last ten years on my “yellow brick road” to officially get into the “Emerald City.” I have had to shift my entire way of thinking– quite drastically– on how I was going to break into the industry; from too far, few and unsatisfactory gigs being in front of the camera, to working in all areas behind it. I used to look at directors, producers and writers as mere bit players in MY story… but now (finally), I realize that they are the ones who actually hold the key to how stories are told, and that if I wanted to have more control over my career, that I need to become one of them, too. More importantly, I learned how our society is shaped– and just how influential IMAGES can be on how all of us are represented. By transitioning from “just an actress” INTO a creator/writer/director, I have added much more responsibility on my shoulders– but, I’ve also given myself much more CONTROL(!). Instead of me worrying about my “close up” that has yet to come, I am now much more concerned with telling positive, feminist-focused stories– and making sure EVERY SINGLE FEMALE in the industry coming up behind me doesn’t have to endure what so many of my filmmaker-sisters and I have gone through.
40-49: ??? Perhaps this entails flying cars! These are the blank pages of my next chapter. My life has so much more clarity knowing I am no longer waiting for someone else’s vision to control how my story gets told– but that I am in control of my future with all my ideas and upcoming projects. I now see that in the past all of the hundreds to thousands of actress submissions/auditions I had been frustrated by (MUST BE “hot/sexy/prostitute/nudity/no lines/fat/ugly/airhead/no lines/drop dead gorgeous/plain jane/topless required/waitress/stay at home Mom/full frontal nudity) is “mainly” because we didn’t (and “still don’t”) have enough female writers in the “writing rooms” of Hollywood, not enough female producers making stories happen, and not enough female directors presenting their vision. My main mission statement going forward is that I will be one of the visionaries that dedicates my life to changing this archaic system into something much more fair, diverse and amazing.
So… as I approach the big four-oh, this calls for a new introduction: Hi there! I am Dellany Peace, aka 40-year-old late bloomer! Yes, I’m crash-coursing my way with all things behind the camera, and Yes, I know that I have so much more to learn and evolve. But someone recently told me “Honey, you still haven’t even put your big girl panties on yet till AFTER 40!” My response? I am SO looking forward to that new pair of undies– and as much “Big Girl” responsibilities and adventure that I can cram in for the next decade. #BringIt
*photo courtesy of Dollar Photo Club