Series Soprano

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What is with the overweight women on TV commercials?

I have noticed that there are a lot of overweight women on TV commercials lately. I saw one last night that they were in their underwear with big bellys hanging out.

Is someone trying to make it seem like it is ok to be fat?

I work in the Film and TV industry in NEW YORK (Not LA). So what I can tell you is from the NYC point of view, not Los Angeles. In NY, the shows like the Law & Order series, Sopranos, etc... You will notice that we use "real" looking people. Rarely, do you see a younger actor playing the defense atty on Law & Order in the 18 years the show has been on. (Yes, yes, I know we've had youngER, attractive women playing Jack McCoy's Assistant, I'm talking about besides her) Sam Waterston, S.Epatha Merckerson, Judith Light, Mariska Hagerty, are not spring chickens. But if we had younger actors in their 20's-30's playing those roles - it just wouldn't look authentic. That's the difference between NY vs. LA. Movies and TV shows shot here in NY - you can tell the difference - we are trying to make the shows look realistic - LA is trying to show you a fantasy. For Example: Watch "NYPD Blue" (filmed in LA) then immediately after that watch "Law & Order: SVU or Criminal Intent" (Filmed 100% in NYC). Notice how clean the squadroom is on "NYPD Blue" and all the background actors are mostly young and gorgeous? And on the L&O shows the squadroom is more gritty and the background actors are mostly very older and heavier men with only a few women (women who are mostly older)? I rest my case.

After a few young models literally dropped dead on the run way from eating disorders, the whole world is clamping down on skinnyness. In Milan they banned anorexic looking models, in the UK they were offering help for models who were bulemic and anorexic. So - it's becoming global now.

I believe (I could be slightly off here) that 65% of the American population is considered at least over-weight, or obese. And these people do NOT want to have skinny people trying to sell them products anymore. It used to work - but now people are starting to be rebellious about weight and age. In order to sell something: a product, a show, anything - we have to appeal to what the people want. And, they just don't want to see young, anorexic women on TV anymore. Or, I should say, "The Majority" of people don't want to see that anymore. There are still people like you who do, but, that's quickly changing.

There is basically a "War on young and skinny", starting with banning anorexic models on runways, to the "Dove" campaign adds, and then People magazine started promoting "40 is the new 30" by showing people like Brad Pitt, the cast of "Desperate Housewives" and "Sex and the City" as being "cool to be over 40" etc...

It sux for me too because I go to auditions for commercials, print ads and TV shows like Law & Order (I'm also an actor, but I also work on the crew to pay the bills) and Casting Directors are telling me I'm "Too Young" for the roles I really want. I end up accepting a few lines in one scene instead of a much "meatier" role with many scenes through out the show. I used to do really well as an actor in NYC, but now, I'm just not getting the work anymore and I have to work on the crew instead. (Other actors reading this - please don't blast me and tell me that's a "conflict on interest". I know! I know! But I have bills to pay and at least I'm not breaking "Global Rule #1" by taking non-union jobs like a lot of other actors that I know are.)

NOW, in addition to being called "too young" - I'm starting to be called "too thin"!!! I'm 5'8 and a size 6 for crying out loud! I'm "normal" not thin or underweight!!!! When I get emails for the breakdowns for roles they are casting in NYC, they want someone my height, and age but are asking for a size 8-10!!!!! I will lie and submit myself for those roles in the off-chance that they won't notice the 1 size off difference, but most of the time it doesn't work. And the casting directors are pracitcally insulting me. Jennifer McNamara was really nasty and said to me: "Thanks for wasting our time, we specifically said "Average weight". I said that I was "average" and she said "No! Average weight is between a size 10 and 12, what are you - size 6? Yup, it says right here on your resume your a size 6! Are you blind? Didn't you notice the other actors waiting outside were heavier than you?" WHAT?!?! When did that happen??!?!! When did "Average size" in the acting world become 10-12? No one told me.

My other friends who are about the same height and weight as me are in the same boat - we are losing jobs to heavier and older actors.

They just want older and heavier actors and models now, because that's what the majority of America wants. Just like reality shows - this is a fad that's not going to go away anytime soon. It's only going to get more popular. More problems to take away jobs from real, trained actors - first reality shows which uses "wanna be" famous people with no dignity or talent, who aren't afraid to look like idiots on camera in front of the whole country. Now this!

Guess if I want to start getting more acting work - I should pack on a few pounds or I'll be stuck working on the crew for the rest of my life. I understand they don't want to promote super-thin images for health reasons - but to go to the opposite extreme is too much. I'll get off my soapbox now.

P.S. The Camera does NOT add 10 pounds! Maybe that was true in the 60's and 70's but not today. I remember when I saw myself on "Criminal Intent" a few years ago, thought "Wow - I hope that 10 pound theory isn't true, because if I look 10 pounds thinner in real life than I do on TV, I must look really sickly". But everyone else I know looks the same weight on TV that they do in person, so, I know that the camera does not make you look heavier. If you stand around in "Video Village" and watch the scene as it's being filmed - you see how the actors look in real life - and on the monitor you can see what it's going to look like on film.

Also, I haven't heard anyone mention that "Camera adds weight" in at least 10 years. Everything is going digital these days and the details are pretty true to life.

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