by Jennifer Jonassen
I want to defy the odds.
I am a plus size actress who is trying to change the way larger women
are thought of and portrayed on film and onstage as well as in the
world that they live in.
Growing up in Brooklyn, NYC I had many opportunities to grow and train
as an actress. I have recently moved to the west coast where I am
pursuing a career in film and T.V. as well as stage work. The course of
my career has not always been easy. Anyone pursuing a dream as an actor
faces discrimination and challenges but I believe the challenges are
that much harder when you literally do not 'fit the norm'.
Throughout my career I have faced a lot of discrimination and
rejection. Too often I am told by the director or casting
representative that I gave the strongest audition but I am not the
right physical type they are looking for. A recent example is an
audition I went on for A Streetcar Named Desire
the fact that the director and casting people said I read the best for
Blanche Du Bois, I was offered the smaller part of Eunice
instead. Blanche was given to an actress who was young, thin and
very beautiful but as of yet had not grown into herself, her talent and
more importantly her depth as an actress. Despite my strong audition,
many years of both experience and training I was only offered the role
of Eunice. I was further told that the director wanted to have me not
only be 'ugly', but part of his directorial 'stage business' included my eating chocolate.
Despite my profound love for Tennessee Williams and the desire to have Streetcar
as a credit on my resume, I had to turn down the role. I decided instead
to honor myself and my talent by waiting for a role worthy to come
That is when I found PLUS Model Magazine online! I was so excited and
happy to see all of the images of beautiful plus size models out there.
I was so inspired by what I saw that I wrote Valery Amador and asked
her if I could contribute to PLUS to give my prospective as a plus size
actress and writer. My column will cover everything from casting calls
to auditions, finding an agent and booking the gig, to more personal
stories and experiences as well.
I believe the tide is turning! I believe that talented artists such as
Camryn Manheim, Kathy Bates, Conchata Ferrell, Mo'Nique and Queen
Latifah (to name just a few) are pioneering a new path for actresses
of all shapes, sizes, colors and types. I plan to join them and
take you along for the journey! I hope you will enjoy our Adventures in