May 19, 2015

I Very Nearly Lied About My Age

Here's a little anecdote for you:

Back in my mid twenties, after my brief stint as a child star actor, I decided I wanted to give acting another go. This 'decision' lasted for all of six months, but during that time I harboured ambitions of getting into NIDA. I did a pre-NIDA audition course, and was told I'd have a decent chance of getting in.

But there was a problem, my teachers (ex-NIDA students) said. Whilst older men occasionally got into the course, women of my age were considered to be too old.

"So I should give up?" I asked.

"No!" they told me. "Just lie about your age on the paperwork. People do it all the time."

Acting is a hell of a profession. Though it should be about talent - and it largely is, for men - for women it is equally about looks and age.

We know all this. I'm not going to bore you with examples of fifty year old actors playing romantic leads in movies opposite twenty-five year old actresss. I'm not going to bore you with examples of fifty year old actresses playing the mothers of forty year old actors. You've heard the stories. You know them to be true.

You also know that it is absolutely understandable that Rebel Wilson might have wanted to push her age down so as to keep scoring the 'young' parts in Hollywood for as long as possible. Apparently she is actually thirty-five, and not twenty-nine, as she has supposedly claimed. Chances are she would never have got one of the lead roles in Pitch Perfect if she acknowledged her true age. So fantastic. She told a little fib. No-one was hurt. And we all benefited from seeing her brilliant performance.

Would we shame an older women for slicing a few years off her age to get a job in the corporate world? No. We would shake our heads and lament the use-by date placed on women in our culture once they hit forty or fifty (depending on the industry).

Rebel Wilson is a Hollywood actress. Hollywood actresses have been lying about their ages/names/surgical intervention forever. Forever.

And if we're feminists, and we actually care about women, we should be trying to change society and the system instead of shaming individuals who are just trying to work within it.

And who knows - maybe, if I'd done my NIDA audition and been accepted, I'd now be thirty-nine.


  1. It's so sad that the website that dare not speak its name has become such a bitter and negative voice...

    That's all I have to say...

  2. I'm GLAD she nipped a few years off her age. Pitch Perfect would not be the same!

    In all seriousness though, I could not agree more Kerri. She didn't hurt anyone and she just did what she knew she had to do.

  3. I am a very idealistically honest person, so my first reaction was disappointment because I felt she'd deceived me as a fan, but when I look at the culture of ageism in Hollywood, I do feel empathy and I am grateful she found a way to showcase all she is capable of. What if she'd used her true age and we'd never been able to enjoy her talents? I hope this has made people realise what she's capable of and that it will help change something.

  4. Exactly. Thank god she was in the film!!!!

  5. Agree. She MADE those Pitch Perfect movies. So glad she was in them!

  6. I am not disappointed in her at all. I am disappointed that we still live in a society where a woman becomes less valuable if she's above a certain age.

  7. I'd argue it's always been that way. Mia F is Queen Bee Mean Girl and her followers fall in line and go after whoever Mia's target of the week happens to be. If you happen to do something Mia doesn't like, she's all over you like a rash.


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