Harmony France, a Chicago-based actress, was tired of the lack diversity she experienced in the theater industry, as well as the often offensive aesthetic standards placed on her by casting directors. That’s why she took to her blog, listing every offensive comment she’d ever received from people in the industry — ranging from “you would need to lose twenty pounds for the role,” to “You’re not believable as a love interest.”
In a “New Year’s declaration” that has since gone viral, she said that she would no longer be bending to the will of superficial casting directors, writing: “I’m taking my body back from this industry. It hasn’t been mine for 10 years. I will no longer lose weight for you. I will no longer try to mold myself into what I think you want me to look like. I will no longer starve myself for a quick weight loss to please you. I will no longer change myself in any way for YOU.”
She wanted to make it clear, however, that she was doing fine — this wasn’t about finding better roles for herself, but rather that she wanted the whole industry to do better, and pay more attention to inclusion and diversity in casting decisions: “We NEED to diversify. If you are involved in the producing process, ask yourself, ‘Does my show have specific plot points related to race?’ No? Then you should think about looking outside the caucasian race. ‘Does my show have specific references to body type?’ No? Then you should be open to other body types. ‘Are there some roles in my show that could possibly be re-allocated for women to play?’ Yes? Then think about switching the genders of those roles. And don’t forget the trans community, the disabled community, the community that brings you into a new perspective. Be Actively Inclusive.”
Read the full story at Mashable.