These days, Broadway is inundated with reality television “stars”. Some of these people are famous for a specific talent, but many are famous just for being famous. As a serious actress artist and performer, this new trend offends me to my Linklater-engaged core. It’s disgusting that people are allowed to step over thousands of hard workers and walk onto a Broadway stage as a way to continue their 15 minutes of fame.
Until I had the chance to become one of them…
One fine day, I came upon a casting notice for a show called “Pursuit of Perfection”. The premise was girls who were tall enough and pretty enough to be models, but needed to lose some poundage to be catwalk ready. I have enough self-esteem to say I could fit comfortably in all of these categories. I rarely submit for reality shows, but I figured this one could be worth a shot. A year from now “Petulant Panda from ‘Pursuit of Perfection’ starring as someone in Mama Mia” could be up in lights! I was on my way.
A few days after submitting, I got a call from the producers of “P. of P.” They wanted to meet with me at a studio in midtown. They asked me to dress nicely, bring photos and fill out a simple questionnaire that they would email over. Great. Easy.
The questionnaire was about 25 pages long. I tried to fill it out with reality TV appropriate responses. Naomi Campbell is my favorite super model because she’s not afraid to go after what she wants, etc. The interview went fairly well, I could tell they liked my mixture of sass and insecurity, and it is no secret the camera loves me.
Despite this instant success, I had a few qualms. I had talked a lot about my own body issues and issues with my mother and lots of other things that I don’t particularly care to share with the world at large. But like any good reality star in the making, I squashed my integrity into a tiny ball and shoved it into the darkest corners of my mind.
The following week, another producer from “Pursuit of Perfection” called and wanted me to send full body shots of me in a bathing suit. Having seen Celebrity Fit Club and The Biggest Loser, I understood the power of before and after. I popped on my most unflattering tankini and got to work, shooting myself from a low angle, sticking out my gut and cramming my jaw into my neck to create a Jabba the Hut-esque portfolio of unflattering swimwear. Then I uploaded those photos onto my computer and emailed them immediately.
“Pursuit of Perfection” never got made. The network received too much negative backlash for making people feel fat or something. Hopefully, my photos were deleted or buried to make room for all the current pro-plus sized programming the network currently features. Public eyes should be shielded from such atrocities.
*Editor’s note: The reality show I was in the running for was produced by a reputable channel and was way above board. Never send pictures of yourself or any other personal information unless you know a lot about the project and feel comfortable and safe.