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Posts Tagged ‘acting’

It’s funny how as a society we have no real idea what the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra looked like, but still collectively revere her as an iconic beauty primarily because of her power (she was the last to rule Egypt as an Egyptian Pharaoh) and her ties to both Julius Caesar and Marc Antony and of course we can’t forget her suicide by snake bite. In general though the term “Queen” elicits imagery of someone who is above all others in terms of grace, beauty and intelligence just like the word “princess” might as well be synonymous with either the late Princess Diana or any one of the Disney princesses. Of course we know that, in reality, those qualities are simply stereotypes – just take a look at the Queen of England.

Nonetheless, Hollywood has a knack for extracting the fairytale out of any story and thus, Cleopatra is on our list of the most beautiful women ever. Elizabeth Taylor’s 1963 role in the epic film certainly helped in the image department but failed to acknowledge the Queen’s very probable ethnic background. Historians say that while she was Greek, she did learn Egyptian and requested her portraits to be in Egyptian style. As a Black woman it was comforting to think that one of the most beautiful women in the world looked more like me than Elizabeth Taylor but no one can really say for sure what she looked like. Who’s to say that people of Grecian descent weren’t brown-skinned forty something years before Christ?

Well now we can fret not. The beautiful Thandie Newton appears as Cleopatra in a series of photos that have been released to coincide with the Virgin Media Shorts film competition. And she looks gorgeous.

No, she won’t be appearing in a film about the Pharaoh anytime soon-Kim Cattrall is the next in line for that role. She’ll be starring in a play Cleopatra and Anthony at Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre.

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My mom turned 60 this year and we were talking about how fast time moves. She remembers being 33 looking at me as a newborn wondering what my life would be like in the future. We’ve all done it right? I remember being 16 in Mr. Guilfoyle’s Biology 3 class wondering where my life was going to be in ten years, knowing that it wouldn’t have anything to do with mitochondria. I was so haughty. I wanted to be an actress and couldn’t wait to escape the small thinking of Charlotte, North Carolina where I grew up.

As it turns out ten years later, while acting is still cool, I have zero tolerance for the broke artist lifestyle nor the last minute auditions with people who think they’re more important than they are. I’ve developed a distaste for self-importance whether it’s in the semi-corporate lifestyle I’ve chosen for the moment or in everyday life. and I wonder if my own failed dreams of my 16 year old self has come back to haunt me as anger towards anyone who is actually living theirs.

In reality, ten years later, I’m kind of in the same space I was then. Yes, a few things have changed- I have two degrees, I’m living in l.a., I’m employed in my field (no easy feat especially being a black female in this recession) but there’s still something missing. It’s like being in dress rehearsal mode wondering when the real show is going to start. Professionally, I’m doing well- writing gives me autonomy, something acting couldn’t do primarily because I knew I didn’t want to act out someone else’s vision. I didn’t want to be a piece of someone else’s puzzle. But I find myself still stuck in the same position, due to the demands of creditors, rent and well, my affinity for fine wine, food, conversation, vacations and… life in general. I guess we all are in some capacity.

The key is figuring out how to lead the life you want despite it. I figure that’s the only way out of the insanity of my twenties.

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