Age Is Really Just A Number

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This month, I turned 33. I have no fear of revealing my age (it’s on my IMDb page and all over my personal blog) so I’m excited to be 33! I think it’s going to be a great year for me and I’m excited what posts I may be able to write on here in the coming year.

But I know that not all actors and actresses feel the same way about being open about their real age. Maybe it’s because I don’t look 33 (I almost look younger now than I did in college), but even though I understand not wanting to share your age I don’t get all the effort people do to lie about their age. I’ve seen interviews with other actresses who try to hide their age or create elaborate stories about why people think they are older than they claim and all that seems like a lot of effort for something that doesn’t have to matter if you don’t let it bother you.

In some ways, being older is a benefit as some things do require you to be a certain age as an actor. Obviously the big one is being 18 so you are an adult (and can work a full day). But there is also a cut-off where you need to be 25 for commercials for certain products. I remember being 24 and not being able to submit for those projects so turning 25 was a big deal to me.

But I’m aware of the issues with age as well. I can’t be 18 to play younger to be a high schooler on a tv show (I looked too old even when I was in high school to play a high schooler). While I do still sometimes go out for college student roles, I’m getting fewer and fewer of those. The next major age category is going out for mom roles, but I’m still a bit too young looking for those. So my age can be an issue as I’m in the middle of some major age categories that a lot of parts have.

I also know that there is age discrimination with women quite often. There is a chart online showing the age of leading men can go up and up but their love interests are almost always in their 20’s no matter how old the man is. That’s not cool, but even though I know that is a major issue still I feel like things are starting to get better. There are more roles for women that don’t require them to be the hot young thing. It’s not an equal balance yet, but that will take time and hopefully we will get there.

But as more and more of us create our own work, the age of leading women fits where we are in our lives. I just helped to produce a short film that I starred in (a friend of mine wrote it for us). In it, I played a single mom in her early 30’s. That fit me perfectly and I had an amazing time on set working on it. I’m excited to see the footage when it’s edited and being able to add it to my current demo reel. While I might not get the single mom auditions when other people are in control of my work, when I’m in control I get to make sure I have a part that fits me and showcases me as a 30 something.

I know that even though when I’m creating my own work I can create perfect roles for me that it’s not the reality for all the work I can do. I have to still deal with the age discrimination in Hollywood and with others. But maybe in my (not-so) old age, I’m just done worrying about it and am happy to celebrate my age and the accomplishments I’ve had in my life so far!

 

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About Jen Levin

Actress/Blogger - I’m originally from the Bay Area, but I’ve been in LA for over a decade now, so I consider myself a native. I’m working as both a blogger and actress (with a couple of day jobs to pay the bills on the side). I love being in the entertainment industry where every day is an adventure! When I’m not working on my career, I’m either reading (I’m a total book nerd) or enjoying my newfound love for spin class (which is helping towards my goal of losing 100 pounds for the last time). I like to joke that I’m a girl with Southern charm and Jersey moxie, which I think has worked well for me so far!