THE HOLLYWOOD SHUFFLE - Charlie Sheen
The Business, Fame & Charlie Sheen...Looking back
It still amazes me looking back many years ago when I was shuffling to one audition after the next and trying to make my way to a career as an actress. I have many entertaining memories as well as some that are not so funny. Like a few "Casting couch" experiences with some really horrible people pretending to be someone they weren't. Then there was that time I knew that I lost a commercial when I saw my competition go in the office with the casting director. You would ask me "what is the big deal?" And I will tell you that when she came out her skirt was inside out and unzipped and she was fixing her buttons. Her hair was also a mess and when she looked at me with a smirk on her face, I just picked up my bag and left.
I started out in the business at a fairly young age by performing in dance recitals on stage and also on television and then I moved onto commercial auditions and became a model for Vidal Sassoon and a few other promotional businesess. My modeling career was short lived based on my own decisions like when I decided not to go abroad with Cindy Crawford and Christi Turlington because my father was elderly and I could not leave him. I was also in a serious relationship at the time. I eventually performed in dancing shows on television, in music videos, in commercials (A&W Root Beer & Lifesavers), films (mostly independent & foreign) and eventually on a few network television shows. So I guess I can say I was pretty successful by the time I was in my early to mid 20's. I was the lead girl in a well known music video of a hit band at the time. I remember they paid me about $2,000 and this was in the 80's for a one day shoot! I was eventually on a hit television show (I was a co-star and only appeared on it for two seasons but the show was HUGE) in the 80's and after a few years of going back and forth to a different country and watching my first marriage fall apart, I just decided to throw in the towel. I don't know why I felt like that but I do know when "the click" happened. I was getting an award and it was presented to me by Bob Hope on television and after I thanked everyone I got on a plane and decided to never audition again. I did go on a few commercial auditions to please my agent a few years later, but for the most part I was "done."
I guess this whole Charlie Sheen episode sort of brought things back for me. I met him many years ago and knew the "Malibu crew" well since I grew up nearby and we were around the same age. I also dated Sean Penn's younger brother Chris in college who died a while ago (some say it was drug related). I guess you would sort of say that I was in the same sort of "shuffle" as them. Growing up in the business or around it, a parent who was successful in the music industry and lots of Hollywood parties in one of the wealthiest parts of Los Angeles. This in itself is a mix for disaster and I was lucky that I always kept my head on straight. I think the first time I met Charlie Sheen, he was a teenager and already had a kid or two. This was way before the one's you see in the press.
When I see him acting out in the media I totally understand "why." Sure he has had a major drug problem. Sure he likes lots of hookers, but the main point is that he just "exploded" and the pressure got to him. I know why he exploded cause I felt it even at the level I was at which is not even close to his success now. I was "playing a role" for everyone else. Trying to be something I was not and all I ever wanted was to be loved. I saw Johnny Depp go through the same sort of chaos at one time and I also saw how he dealt with it. He is fortunate to get roles now that fit who he really is..."a free spirit." Somehow he was able to make the transition and this has let him live the life that he needs to live. He can disappear when he wants too and live a sort of normal existence. I believe that this is no longer possible for Charlie Sheen. He needs to retreat and get away from the business right now before it is too late.
My main point is this. I knew so many actors and actresses that just wanted to be famous for the attention and the money. At one point I had the same agent as Julia Roberts (I was up for her role in Mystic Pizza) and also another agent who represented Mariska Hargitay. We were all up for the same roles, but some were luckier then others and from what I finally realize now....."really wanted it more then life itself." I never did. All I wanted was to make a living and be loved and one day I woke up and said "who needs all this FAKE everything?" They had something that I did not have....THEY REALLY WANTED IT AND THEY WOULD DO ANYTHING TO GET IT.
So, here I sit creating my own sort of career where I can still have a normal life and tap into parts of the entertainment industry when I feel like it. I saw what fame does and I'm not willing to EVER give up the private life that I have with my family. I saw this firsthand when I was once married to a famous celebrity's son. This industry is like a chess game and you have to know when to make your move. I'm not sure anyone can achieve fame and have a totally peaceful life because I have seen otherwise. I do think that there are a few that have been able to do it and they have succeeded but if you look at the stats and how many people lose it along the way...it seems less and less possible.
My goal is to achieve success, perform once in a while, support good causes that actually make a difference and do projects that change peoples lives. Maybe that is actually what Charlie Sheen wanted to do "way back when?" He was willing to take the gamble for the money instead of happiness and got greedy. Maybe it just got to be "too much."
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