essays by shé

Acting Happy

“How did you get into acting?” asked an aficionado of Howling V recently (I played the pink-sweatered sweetie in the movie). The smart-ass answer used to be, “I’ve been acting happy my whole life.” But I was also enthralled with the performers at the Agoura Renaissance Faire when I was a kid. The costumes! The humor! The physicality! The emotions, all on display!

Fast forward to my early twenties, San Francisco. One day I spy a sign in the window of The Other Café, go in, and sign up for the Miss Haight Ashbury Beauty? Pageant. The first year, donning a Roseanne Roseannadanna wig, I sing, “I’m ugly to look at, repulsive to hold,” a piece my mother performed at a talent show on the Jersey Shore one summer in the 1950s. Still onstage, I de-wigged, slapped on a fedora, and Bing Crosby’d, “I’m dreaming of a blonde actress.” Then, flinging the hat into the audience, I morphed into Marilyn singing “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.”

Had. A. Blast.

The second year, now platinum blonde, I put a humerus bone in my top-knot (thanks to my kinesiologist mother), wore a faux-leopard-fur bathing suit, and carried a club, à la Pebbles. And that was just the bathing suit competition.

I quit my job at the bank and took an acting class. Then I auditioned for a summer training program. Got in. Hunh. Lotsa fun, and a lot of hard work. And compatriots! We went to cattle calls together, and attended each other’s open mic nights and showcases. My tribe! I was hooked. And so it began.

Shé performing at the Miss Haight Ashbury Beauty? Pageant, early 1980s
Shé performing at the Miss Haight Ashbury Beauty? Pageant, early 1980s





2 responses to “Acting Happy”

  1. Kevin Avatar

    Great story–lots of energy. Sounds like the beginning of a memoir–

  2. Shé Avatar

    Gracias cousin. Glad you liked it.

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