"The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength." - Evan A. Baker

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Professional Jealousy

"Hey Lira,

An actor friend recently pointed me in your direction, and I'm glad he did! Your blog is helpful and encouraging, and I got a lot out of your posts regarding how to use Actors Access more effectively.  I shake my fist at those pages of tiny thumbnails!! 

Anyway, would you be interested in writing a post about how you deal with professional jealousy? I'd love to read your take on it.

Btw, I'm jumping back into acting after a 2 year hiatus, so I recently started a blog as well to chronicle my thoughts and experiences. You can see it at if you're interested!


HeyVanessa! Thanks for reading! I too shake my fist at those pages and pages and pages of tiny thumbnails!

Okay, professional jealousy is a really tough subject to talk about without making me sound like an enlightened asshole. I think a lot of being okay with where you are in your career is due to understanding the business, rationalizing, and maturity.

Also, being a middle child helps. We look at both sides of everything. :)

Anyways, when a friend of mine had a huge audition for a big role in a film, (and this happened just this last week) I am not jealous. I'm just not. I'm rooting for her. I've seen this poor girl struggle just as much as I have, if not more, and I want her to book this. I want her to get this part. I want the CDs to bring her in for everything.

I've had a friend shoot a pilot. I wanted it to be picked up. It wasn't, and I think I was more sad about it than she was.

I have a friend who is producing a ton of stuff, made a few films with star names in them, is making a few more - and pioneering the next wave of the future (seriously. she's a genius.) and I'm so proud of her.

First, you have to understand the business. When CD's have a lead for a pilot they need to cast, who's a young 20something, any ethnicity actress, they are going to call in those with a major resume. Someone who has a resume with series regular, huge guest star, and recurring credits. Someone who they know well. Someone who is probably already a name.

They are going to bring in actors who have been acting since they were babies. Actors whose parents started them down this path with the understanding that if they got their child an agent, their baby could be doing Huggies and Gerber commercials and making all their college tuition money themselves. And hey, if the kid hates it by the time they're aware of what's happening, they'll stop. Simple, easy, and a ton of money to be made.

I aint gonna lie. If I have a baby, I'm doing the same.

So already, if you were born and raised in LA, your chances are already a million times better than even the hot girl's who just graduated from Yale Drama School.

They're going to call in people with a ton of experience already under the belt. Millions of dollars are resting on the lead, and she needs to be able to deliver the goods. If you understand the business, it helps you understand that you are at the bottom. And it's okay. Everyone has their own climb.

Rationalizing is a wonderful tool. What does your friend have, that you do not? Have they been constantly hustling for the last ten straight years? Do they do stand up? Did they intern at an agency? Did they assist a casting director? Are they constantly making their own projects and promoting them? Did you do any of that? Maybe your friend has earned everything they're now getting.

And finally, maturity, which is really going deep inside yourself and trying to pick out what being jealous means.

Jealousy is an emotion that is rooted in fear. Are you scared you won't ever get the things your friends have? Are you scared you won't ever find success here? Are you scared this will never pan out?

Get rid of all that - fully commit to being in this town and working hard for 10 years before seeing any of it pay off. Understand that being scared is okay: We're ALL EFFING TERRIFIED! This could seriously never work out for any of us.

And if you're scared of that, look deep within yourself again and see what else you love and are drawn to that would involve you being creative and helping people.

Not being a working actress isn't the be all end all. You're far too amazing and talented to just be one thing.

Be a hyphenate. Be an actress-artist. Be an actress-blogger. (I enjoy it!) Be an actress-creator.


Create, create, create.

It's hard to be jealous of other people when you fully enjoy and love everything you do.



  1. I have benefited SO MUCH from jealousy over the years! When I feel jealous I always take the opportunity to assess what it is that is causing me to feel that way. I use it to springboard myself into being more productive and always know that it has nothing to do with the friend who is having good fortune. Jealously is a great little radar to see what's going on inside myself. I take note and then cheer on my friends. If they win, I win. I always feel like one of my team members got a break so I did too! P.S. - I also have this same attitude with my husband who is also an actor. We are a team, we cheer each other on and if he has success, so do I. We've been married, professional actors for 10 years and now we have 2 kids. Jealously is normal and useful if you USE it to take stock instead of REACTING to it. :) :) SJ www.sarahjanenelson.com

    1. That's an excellent point, Sarah. Assess and see what else you could be doing and let the jealousy and fear be a positive motivator for you.

      Although, Sarah, I would go ahead and reckon that nowadays you don't even feel the jealousy anymore - you go straight into positivity for your friends and yourself. ;)

      Thanks for the great comment!

    2. "Jealousy is an emotion that is rooted in fear. Are you scared you won't ever get the things your friends have? Are you scared you won't ever find success here? Are you scared this will never pan out?"

      AMEN to that.

      Jealousy is something that I hid for a long time, and finally dealt with in the past year. Honestly, it is a waste of time for me. When you have close friends who are also in the business, it doesn't make sense RISKING those friendships by constantly comparing yourself to them.

    3. whoops, meant to post that not as a reply...

  2. Love this! Thanks for responding to my request, Lira :) Being back in the game after so long, it's hard to not feel like I'm playing catch up to people who never took a break. We all have our own timelines, paths, and routes to success (however we define that term for ourselves).

  3. I just found you and am a new follower. I pursued acting and I'm a musician and have struggled with this issue through it all. I'm so impressed and inspired by your thoughts on the subject and how well you put it. Good luck to you in your career and thank you for sharing your thoughts. Makes a lot of sense.

  4. This blog entry gave me quite the insight into my current predicament about how jealousy stems from fear. Fear that we might not ever achieve so&so. It's absolutely true. Jealousy has reared its ugly head in my life, I'm afraid. Hopefully I can turn it around and put all that energy to bettering my career instead! Yikes. Wish me luck. And thank you for always offering such great advice. I've linked your blog into my post about jealousy. Hope that's all right with you! :)

    The Aspiring Actress.



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