Am I Right… to tell this specific story?

If you came here hoping for a flow chart, checklist, or questionnaire that would help you decide exactly who’s stories you “can” or “cannot” tell, you’re going to have to look elsewhere. We’re not here to tell you what to do. We’re not here to judge. We’re not smarter than you. We don’t have any stamps of approval to hand out.

We don’t know who you are. You might not either. Maybe you’re still be figuring that out. Which is totally cool. So clearly we can’t tell you what’s ok and what’s not. Only you can figure out who’s stories you feel right telling. 

We know some of you have particularly weird and tough cases to decide. I’ve seen some doozies. We’re actually collecting your best and most ridiculous stories to build an archive where we can all laugh with each other about embarrassing moments from our past. You can see them in our Remorse Report. Feel free to share you own as well. 

As we’ve said, we think it’s best if we only make decisions for ourselves, but we made up a couple of hypothetical imaginary people and pretended to think through a scenario as each of them as an example of the sorts of questions we want actors to ask themselves. YAY imagination time! ;)

OK. So. Let’s say I’m a female triple threat who was raised in a first-generation, lower-class Filipino family in an urban center. Let’s say I get an email for an appointment for Anita. I would consider the fact that my own ethnic background is rooted in a group of people who were colonized and marginalized (actually by the same Spaniards in boats as native populations in Puerto Rico!). I would think about my upbringing in an urban and lower-class neighborhood. Considering those lived experiences, I think I would feel comfortable accepting the audition.

NOW. Let’s try again as someone else. This time I’m the same fierce female triple threat but this time let’s say I grew up in a suburban middle-class neighborhood raised by a 1st generation Greek father and a good-old-fashioned-blue-blooded American (let’s say of English and German ethnic background) mother. I have naturally dark hair and eyes. My skin has olive undertones and tans very dark in summer. I get the same appointment for Anita. I consider the fact that my ethnic background comes from the side of global colonial history that mostly did the colonizing. I acknowledge the fact that my lived experiences have mostly been of that of privilege. I struggle because I know I would kick the shit out of the part. I struggle because people have thought I was Latina before. I struggle because I even speak a little Spanish. But ultimately I decide that maybe I should let someone else have a chance who might bring a more similar lived experience to the story. EVEN if they might not kick as high as I do.

It’s ok to be sad to pass up the chance at a role you that know you would kill. It’s ok to feel guilty for a role you played. It’s even ok to disagree on who is right for what roles. Again. We’re not saying these are the only “right” decisions for these imaginary kick ass women. We’re just saying that if we were in their shoes, these are the questions we would ask ourselves and the decisions we might make. We want to make sure you take the time to make a thoughtful and aware decision for yourself, too because only you can decide what feels right for you. 

Lauren Villegas