My Response To A Hollywood Agent Who Told Me I Would Never Work Until I Lost Weight

By Katia Dragotis

“Stand up” he said. “I can guesstimate your weight.” After I honestly proclaimed not knowing an exact number, he replied, “Hmmm…160 lbs, maybe little more. If you have any hope of booking you can’t even slightly be over 130 lbs”. It was a first meeting with a potential Hollywood agent who had expressed interest in my hosting career, and aspirations to send me out for commercial auditions. As he continued to critique, proclaiming it wasn’t a personal preference, it was simply “the biz,” he reassured me that he wasn’t being a creep.

Never a supermodel type, I sat in compliance, at one point apologizing for the faults I had handed him and acknowledging the fitness tasks that were in my very near future.

This wasn’t a back alley meeting. I had heard of this particular agent from a reputable agent book within the industry, confirmed his clients, and looked through his castings on IMDB pro. As I pushed our conversation towards my talents and potential career growth, the issue of my weight literally could not be dropped. This agent proclaimed he couldn’t even imagine my potential because, as he put it, I was “carrying roughly 1/3 of a person” in the 30 plus pounds I should be dropping.

Out the window was the “intrigue” he saw in my reel prior to our meeting. Out the window was my ability to ask inquisitive questions of my subjects and deliver an engaging performance.  The girl who sat in front of him, beyond my “youthful skin and pretty face,” was not the girl in the reel. “In good conscious” he said he simply couldn’t work with me until I was that magic 130, even going to far as to say I would burn bridges in the industry if I showed up to a job in my current state, while also pointing out the “increase of energy” I’d have at my new goal.

Walking to my car, reality HARD in check, not a single tear was shed; knowing this is the industry I chose, the reality I chose, the LOOK I chose. “No’s” and a scrutinous microscope of the female body are what I signed up for when I dreamed of stepping in front of the camera. As I drove the harsh streets of Hollywood, paved by many of broken dreams before mine, I dialed up a male actor friend who had inquired how my meeting had gone. “Good and bad” I stated, still in shock over what had just occurred.

“He said I have great talent,” I continued… while sheepishly admitting the body check that was thrown my way. “It’s ok though, I know I’m not at my fittest, so I need to deal with that,” I explained as he proceeded to cut me off, insisting that initial meetings should never take the direction this one did. Chalking his reaction up to him being a good and caring friend, I continued to make excuses for the agent, while my friend continued to get increasingly heated over the encounter I had.

We live in a media-saturated world that — according to the never-ending exposes and headlines — seems to be changing. Women are finding the strength to crawl out from under the men whose power suffocates them, and we are finally calling out the “boys will be boys” mentality, while finally saying ENOUGH to “locker room talk”. But what I can’t seem to figure out is if it’s actually changing, or just a perception that things are changing.

I myself am constantly disgusted, but not shocked, with the truths that seep from the papers when it comes to the scandals of those in power, yet I’m not convinced that anything will actually change. Continuing to shatter glass ceilings and expect respect from our superiors is great, but what will the new landscape look like?

Maybe we are just so used to settling for insufficient behavior and inappropriate criticism, it feels as though the entertainment and broadcasting industries simply get a pass from all this, because we chose to place ourselves in front of others for a living. What will this new landscape truly look like as we continue to put our foot down? 

So is this agent right? What does the American public want to see from their hosts, their broadcasters, their actors and in their commercials? Do we simply want to believe we have grown past this mentality while still seriously desiring to watch a palatable 130?

[This article was originally published on PassportswithKatia.com and republished here with permission]

 

 

 

 

Having escaped the tundra of her hometown of Minneapolis, Katia Dragotis is a Los Angeles-based sports writer, reporter and host. She launched her website pasSports as an outlet to share stories and experiences fueled by her passion for travel and the belief that sports can influence change. Share in the experiences at www.pasSportswithkatia.com and following her on Twitter @Katia_demetra

One Comment

  1. John D Robison says:

    Great article. In any industry where one is frequently in front of a camera or participants, appearance is probably always going to be a factor in hiring decisions.. Its not fair, its not logical and its not limited to women (Though much, much more harshly) Weight, age, “energy”, hair, teeth, accents and the overall look have impacted my ability to both get work and lose it.

    You are fabulous at what you do and incredibly talented. It’s long overdo for society to select less on appearance and more on a hollistic decision process. I wont see it in my lifetime but perhaps you will.

    I admire your moxey and your passion for what you do. I’d hire you in a heartbeat!

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