HuffPost: "Yes, And": What Making an Independent Film Taught Me About Identity, Fear and Self-Worth as a Woman

Our own Sarah Wharton shares her experience of making ‪#‎ThatsNotUs‬ with HuffPost Women:

In acting, the first rule of improvisation is to say, "Yes, AND", the idea behind it being that a scene can only move forward if you first accept the circumstances around you, and then add to them. "Yes, AND" allows for collaboration. "Yes, AND" fosters imagination. "Yes, AND" instigates progress.

For a long time, my life felt like one "No" after another. I wanted to be an actor but couldn't even get an audition, never mind an actual role. I was working four jobs and just barely getting by. I was definitely more "starving" than "artist".

I was losing the "game" that is getting work as an actor. The truth is that I wasn't trying very hard to play it. I didn't like the rules. As a woman, I felt like I was expected to live up to an imaginary ideal perpetuated by the oversimplified narrative most female characters are placed into. I remember one particularly painful audition that required all the actresses to bring bikinis with them. Usually I would have fled from kind of request, but it was for a reputable graduate film program so, (against my better judgement) I went. I made it to the "please put your bathing suit on" phase and was then given a scene that required me to violently assault my scene partner. I asked if we could practice once or twice, just to make sure no one got hurt. Or perhaps I could just show my half-naked rage through my words? I was dismissed and received an email a few days later saying that I was "too aristocratic" for the part. I was tempted to reply "Are you sure you didn't mean 'too smart'?"

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