This is not a pity party.
This is not me blatantly complaining about the industry.
This is me, trying to answer the question:
Does this role come in my size?
From the experience I've had so far navigating the world as a (proud!) size 12, I've noticed a few things. First off, the theatre industry is (slightly) kinder to people my size than film and television.
However, I have had some...interesting...events occur the past few months that have made me notice my size in a negative light. It's fascinating to talk about, or rather write about; whenever I try to explain the difficulties to someone of getting cast at my size, that someone (usually a thin person) will say: "Are you suuuuure it's because of your size?"
Yes, I am sure. I am positive that the exact moment a director stopped replying to my emails about shooting dates after I sent him my measurements as per request was because of my size.
I am sure that when people tell me I look too old for a teenage role, it is because of my size (like come on, I've had these boobs since eighth grade).
One of my roommates, out of the kindness of her heart, asked why I don't just try out for roles meant for bigger women. Well, university-level films (or industry films in general, I guess) don't really write big, juicy (pardon the pun....or not) roles for heavy young women. Also, I totally have tried out many a time for bigger roles, and guess what? I'm too skinny! I've totally had to pile on the sweaters just to get through the door at casting calls for larger women.
The industry does not create film and television for size 12 (yet). They create for size 20 or size 2. The only role I've seen thus far, with an actress around my size, where her weight didn't have anything to do with her character development (newsflash: there are people who are actually happy with their weight/look/shape/size) was Rachel Bloom in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CW Network). However, even in that show, they mentioned in a scene that she was a size 6 (!! highly doubtful to this eye).
In addition, a person's physical appearance is no indication of their health or well-being. I am an incredibly active person--I am constantly at the gym (shout out to my trainer Laynie), I eat a fairly healthy diet, I'm in dance classes, etc. I also consider myself a very physically-driven actor. I love my body (most of the time, we all have our ups and downs with self-image). My body looks how it looks because: GENETICS. YAY! However, I can't just waltz into a room with that as my slate. My size shouldn't be used as an excuse or a detriment; it should be used as an asset.
As I said to my friend Katie the other day, the glass ceiling doesn't need to be broken upwards; it also needs to be shattered side-to-side. I want to see people of all shapes and sizes fall in love onscreen, and not necessarily with other same-sized people if they so choose. I want to see fat people succeed, not be the victims of hallway bullies. I want to see fat people. Period. Because I don't really see them in television and film, I see the storyline of their weight instead.