“She always responds with empathy. She meets anger with empathy. She meets hate with empathy. She’ll take the time to imagine what happened to a person when they were 5 or 6 years old. And she’s made me a more empathetic person. I had a very fractured relationship with my father. Before he died, she made me remember things I didn’t want to remember. She made me remember the good times.”
Being silly is so important. Silly is the opposite of grief. It’s throwing yourself into a moment without care. You can’t always maintain your status as a dignified person– it gives you blinders. When you always expect the world to fulfill your expectations, it wears you down. It closes you off.
It’s a mind fuck. You go to audition after audition, and there are one thousand more ‘no’s’ than ‘yes’s.’ And you try to find that one little thing that you can change that will make all the difference. ‘Maybe if I lose 5 more lbs.’ Or ‘Maybe if I had gone to that school.’ Or ‘Maybe if I had worked on the lines for 30 more minutes.’ And it’s hard to step back and realize that it’s not even personal. It wasn’t about your talent. It’s not that you’re bad or you’re good. Most likely, the casting director already had a person in their head they were looking for—and you weren’t it. Or even worse, the role had already been filled, and they were just holding auditions to follow protocol. Even when you get chosen for a role, success is so fickle and fleeting. A gig today doesn’t mean a gig tomorrow. Unless you’re Brad Pitt or Will Smith, and you can make your own demands, you’re always going to be waiting for the approval of someone else. In order to stay sane, you’ve got to find other things or people in your life that bring you value. You can’t just be that weird actor person.
I was taking a law school admissions test in a big classroom at Harvard. My friend and I were some of the only women in the room. I was feeling nervous. I was a senior in college. I wasn’t sure how well I’d do. And while we’re waiting for the exam to start, a group of men began to yell things like: ‘You don’t need to be here.’ And ‘There’s plenty else you can do.’ It turned into a real ‘pile on.’ One of them even said: ‘If you take my spot, I’ll get drafted, and I’ll go to Vietnam, and I’ll die.’ And they weren’t kidding around. It was intense. It got very personal. But I couldn’t respond. I couldn’t afford to get distracted because I didn’t want to mess up the test. So I just kept looking down, hoping that the proctor would walk in the room. I know that I can be perceived as aloof or cold or unemotional. But I had to learn as a young woman to control my emotions. And that’s a hard path to walk. Because you need to protect yourself, you need to keep steady, but at the same time you don’t want to seem ‘walled off.’ And sometimes I think I come across more in the ‘walled off’ arena. And if I create that perception, then I take responsibility. I don’t view myself as cold or unemotional. And neither do my friends. And neither does my family. But if that sometimes is the perception I create, then I can’t blame people for thinking that.
“My parents disappeared during the last dictatorship. They were political activists. My father was taken first in 1977. My mother was taken a year later during the World Cup. We were standing in a public square, and two cars stopped, and they grabbed me and my mother. They let me go. But my mother was never heard from again. I learned all of this later because I was only three at the time. My grandparents raised me. When I was a child they would tell me that my parents were working. I used to imagine them building a skyscraper, wearing helmets, and getting closer and closer to the top. It wasn’t until the age of ten that I learned what really happened. But even then, my parents were only ideas to me. They were two-dimensional. But when I turned seventeen, I visited the town where they first met. I found their old friends and they told me stories. I learned that my father loved the Beatles. He also loved to dance. A man gave me a costume that my father would wear when he danced. And suddenly my parents weren’t ideas anymore. They were people. They were Daniel and Viviana. And for the first time, I cried for them.”
“I, uh… I can carry bags too. Bring me bag- I mean back - and I’ll uh… give bags to the rich. Too long have the wealthy been over-taxed for their bags. Let’s give back to them in the form of tote, hand, and messengers.”