I know a lot of actors who like to keep their real life and their actor life as separate as they can. They don’t want people to know they are married or have kids because they don’t want to be seen as someone who can’t play a crazy single character. Or they hide financial troubles from other people because they want to be seen as successful no matter what. And of course there are plenty of celebrities who keep their personal lives as private as possible and out of tabloids.
I used to be someone who had an actor persona that was different than my real life persona. I didn’t want anybody to know my struggles and only wanted to be seen as someone who has their act together. But when I started my personal blog, that separation of lives ended.
At first, my personal blog didn’t cover a ton of super personal things that most people didn’t know about. But I realized that if I was going to blog, I had to get personal. I revealed my issues with credit card debt and my life-long struggle with my eating disorder. I expected that I’d get a little support from my blog readers, but I had no idea that sharing would benefit me as an actor as well.
Because I put all my personal issues out there, certain blocks that I didn’t realize I had in my life were gone. I had a newfound freedom to be true and out there. My auditions got better and more grounded. I had no idea that keeping things a secret affected my acting, but it turns out that it did.
Since I write about being an actor on my blog, I’ve had casting directors find my posts and share them with their followers. Through those new followers I’ve been able to help others find peace with whatever issues that they might be dealing with as well. I never planned on inspiring others, but I guess I did and having more happy people in the industry benefits us all.
But the biggest result I’ve gotten from putting my real life out there was through my agent. I write a lot about my eating disorder battle (I have binge-eating disorder and have probably had it since I was a toddler/child). At first, I was scared that sharing this information might cause casting directors to not want to bring me in or to make me a risk to cast. But I’ve found that I’ve actually gotten auditions because of my honesty. There was an audition that needed someone who really had binge-eating disorder. Because my agent reads my blog she knew that I do have it and that I’m currently in treatment for it. She was able to submit me for this job and I made it through several rounds of auditions. Sadly, I didn’t get that job. But that job would not have been a possibility for me if I kept my eating disorder a secret.
Yes, I’m worried that if somehow one day I become very famous and all my blog posts go viral. But I have nothing to be ashamed about in my writing or in what I share. They are the honest things that I feel while going through the battle I’m in. I’m sure if I become famous that they will be turned into tabloid headlines (I can see it now: “Jen Levin Is A Binge Eater” or “Jen Levin Battles Demons and Spends Too Much”), but I have my honest story and the truth out there for people who read it.
I hope that if any of you are battling something secretly that you have the courage to go public. You don’t have to go as public as I have, but even sharing things with your friends and family can be such a relief. Everybody has something that they are ashamed about, but when you start talking about it you’ll likely realize that you know people with the same issue. Then hopefully you can either get help or feel like you can move on from the shame. If you are currently battling an eating disorder and want to talk to me about it, you can contact me through Ms. In The Biz or on twitter. I’m happy to share with you the resources I know of and to be there as a good listener.
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