Thursday, October 25, 2007

I! Quit!

Despite vague threats to quit watching America's Next Top Model, I was unable to do so, partly justifying my guilty-pleasure television watching by pointing out its hypocrisies in this public forum for all (all five of you) to read! Can we not all learn from the mistakes of Tyra?

Spoiler Alert
So, last night the big event was that, when told that she "was still in the running to be America's Next Top Model", Ebony said actually, she wasn't interested, and would rather go home. Tyra's eyes turned into ice and then she said "nothing is more unattractive to me than a quiter" and sent her on her merry way.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm a big fan of quiting. I've got no problem walking away from something that's not going to work out, or wearing down my soul. I'm not saying I'll quit over something small, but I'm no Sisyphus. According to Ebony, she didn't think she wanted to be a model after all, and she missed her family, and she made a choice to go home. Tyra said it was more likely that she didn't like taking criticism and pulled out the "quiter" accusation.

It's very likely that Ebony didn't like taking criticism - not many people do. Being told on national television week after week that your eyes are "dead" or you're "uninspiring" definitely fits in the "wearing down your soul" category.

I learned a rather late into my undergraduate theatre degree that I couldn't really handle rejection. To be an actor or a model or in any "auditioning" career - where you put your work out and have it judged by strangers who give the thumbs up or thumbs down in a matter of moments - requires an incredibly thick skin. I knew I didn't have it, and I didn't really want to change my personality to get it.

I applaud Ebony for recognizing that she wasn't where she wanted to be and walking away from it. I think it's a perfectly reasonable reaction to the stresses of the ANTM environment (or ANY reality show).

There's always a big reaction when someone leaves a reality show of their own free will (How could they give up the chance to win all that money/live in that house/be a model?), but she was clearly uncomfortable and knew what her limits were. I'm sorry for her that leaving the show was framed as shameful with that "quiter" rebuke chasing after her. (I'm sure I don't have to remind you that what she was "quiting" was one of the more insidious industries in the world, responsible for breaking down the self esteem of women everywhere, eating disorders, and the support of the idea that women are decorative objects, the sum of their appearances.)

I found a way to have theatre in my life on my terms - I go to plays, I write, I take an acting class when I want to, and I've never regretted my decision to quit auditioning, because I did what was right for me.


caitlin said...

to me, the more significant offense was that after tyra was a total a-hole to Ebony for "quitting," she turns to ambreal and acts like she (tyra) is doing her (ambreal) a HUGE favor by letting her stay.
after she has just told her that she has no potential.
what a dick.

mike said...

I prefer 'not trying in the first place' to quitting. :)

Kathy said...

Another vote of support here for the well-considered second thought and retreat. I actually have too many things to say about that to clog up your comments so maybe I'll post over on my blog on how my life has been enriched by well-timed "quits".

Carrie said...

"Second thought and retreat" what a nice way to say quit. I, too, don't see a thing wrong with it. Just because you have a talent doesn't mean you have to use it all the time if it doesn't make you happy. Good think you're still watching the show so we can have this discussion! You know, one of the kids on Kid Nation wanted to quit and go home this week, but the others cheered him into staying. I hope he doesn't regret it- or break a limb that won't be set until he gets home and can get medical attention.

I like to make stuff! said...

I totally agree with you (in this example). I don't condone quitting per se - but redirection and refocusing of one's efforts and talent - absolutely! Flogging a dead horse is totally soul-destroying.