Clearly, Prince was the MASTER of originality.
He made wearing white frilly shirts super sexy and cool. He was both feminine and masculine. He made eyeliner sexy and intriguing. He was petite, with a massive presence. He was on fire, and he was shy. He was vulnerable in his music, and provocative and aggressive onstage.
No one can put Prince in a box.
Uh-oh. Did you put yourself in a box?
Have you put yourself in a box by watering down your presence so that you can be cast?
Are you trying to be marketable and losing your sense of individual expression because you want so badly to fit in?
Does your headshot look like everyone else’s? Does your website feel professional, but maybe devoid of your vibrant personality? Are your auditions safe and what you “think they are looking for”?
Maybe trying to fit in is limiting your expression, your expansion.
In everything he did, Prince seemed to be expressing ‘this is who I am, I am me, I ain’t nobody else.”
Don’t apologize for what makes you so different.
In fact, embrace it.
Prince would want you to do that. Prince would say ‘heck yeah, be yourself’.
What do you think Prince would tell you about how to be original?
Just be who you are. And trust that will draw your audience to you.
Trust your instincts of self-expression. (They could be very profitable!)
Now, for some of you, wearing frilly white shirts or dying your hair purple are not the ways towards expressing your originality. That might actually be someone else’s originality that you are borrowing.
The true challenge is to not fall into the trapping of co-opting someone else’s style as your own.
You are not Prince. You are you.
For so many years I’ve been addressing Marketability for Actors within my classes as a natural by-product of trying to find your true self on camera.
Marketability. Marketability. Such a conversation topic among actors! I know you are trying to figure out where you fit in, who will want to hire you, who will like you…
But maybe you’re going about it backwards?
What would happen if you flipped it around and said “I am here, this is who I am, I am different than anyone else” and let others figure out what to do with you?
Prince’s legacy is our lesson to learn.
I can’t stop thinking about Prince’s example of boldness. I can’t stop thinking about how darn original and outside of the box he was in his music and his presence. He simply went for the boldest expression of himself in all of his work.
Prince didn’t care that someone else might make fun of his black lace gloves and love for purple. He didn’t care if someone judged his writhing on stage and his vanity projects. Prince just LOVED singing, he LOVED bold fashion, he LOVED performing, he LOVED making music.
He lived for what he loved.
His uniqueness just oozed out of him because he brought himself so fully to everything he did. Totally all in, totally unabashed about who he was.
Being true to you will pay off.
Purple Rain, the film revealing his life and his struggles, grossed more than US$68 million at the box office in the United States and over 80 million worldwide. So he was quite profitable too…
Yes, it was undoubtedly Prince’s music that truly blew our minds.
But, as much it was his dynamic music, it was also undoubtedly Prince’s brazen personality and commitment to uniqueness that completely mesmerized us.
You, my friend, are mesmerizing too. Mesmerize us with your original self. There is no one else like you.
Let’s “Prince it”, friends. Let’s “Prince it”.
To get to your own originality, here’s a fun exercise that is worth 5 emails of your time.
Email 5 friends this question: “what are my good qualities that make me unique?”
(Notice, I suggest only asking for your good qualities. No one needs to be told about all their bad qualities that make them unique! Let’s be in the business of positive reinforcement, yeah?)
In honor of Prince, tell me, below, an artist that you admire for being so original… let’s grow that list of inspirations! Or, just tell me how much you loved Prince too…