Actors and self esteem

“Mustering up enough self-esteem to say, ‘I want to be an actor,’ was a big turning point.”
Julia Roberts  [Parade mag. Nov 9 2008]

Many creative people report feeling incompetent, inadequate and having low self esteem or self-regard at times. But there are ways to shift those feelings.

Kate WinsletA number of film actors report they don’t even watch their own movies.

When you can be seen in close-ups on twenty foot high theater screens, it may be especially hard not to criticize your appearance and performance.

That sort of criticism may be based on perfectionism, but also can be related to poor self-concept or fraud feelings.

Kate Winslet has admitted that before going off to a movie shoot, she sometimes thinks, “I’m a fraud, and they’re going to fire me… I’m fat; I’m ugly; I look like a whore! [laughs] [Interview mag., Nov, 2000]

[From my article Being Creative and Self-critical.]


Reese WitherspoonReese Witherspoon once said, “I have absolute amnesia about every movie I have ever made.

“I won’t watch them because if I did I would spiral into a state of self-hate…” [ 21 Dec 2010]

In an interview on the CBS program “60 Minutes” she talked about how the entertainment business can impact self-esteem.

Charlie Rose: There’s a story that you read New Yorker magazine.

Reese Witherspoon: Yeah. Oh, lord.

Charlie Rose: And there was a list of people who were no longer box-office magic.

Reese Witherspoon: Yeah. I was one of ’em. I thought I was reading, like, a profile on another actor. Then somewhere down– at the end, it said, you know, ‘The people who are washed-up,’ and I think it included me, Tom Hanks, Mel Gibson.

And I remember just being like, “OK.” I — that just — I mean, it really hurt my feelings. Really hurt my feelings.

Charlie Rose: And your self-esteem.

Reese Witherspoon: And my self-esteem. And made me feel like I contributed nothing. And that you’re only as good as your last movie.

Which is a pretty crummy feeling for an actor. But it’s also a great motivator.

From Reese Witherspoon: Ready for a change, CBS Dec 21, 2014.

Photo from her Facebook page.


Bill NighyBill Nighy has commented:

“You come to realize there is this huge disparity between what you think about yourself and your work and what other people think about you and your work, at first you either think they’re insane or that it’s a conspiracy to make you look stupid.

“Or maybe, just maybe, they’re right, and you’re sometimes quite good at what you do.”

[imdb profile]


Even someone as accomplished as Meryl Streep admits she has “varying degrees of confidence and self-loathing….

“You can have a perfectly horrible day where you doubt your talent. It could be about not feeling able to achieve a certain scene or about an emotion you feel you weren’t able to get to…

“Or that you’re boring and they’re going to find out that you don’t know what you’re doing… any one of those things.”

From my article Gifted and Talented but Insecure.


What can you do about low or unhealthy self-esteem or self-confidence?

Developing yourself as a person as well as an actor, taking classes on subjects outside of acting, getting into commercials or community theater or any performance work can help feelings of low self-esteem.

There are specific products and programs that can help.

First, here is an article:

Overcome Impostor Syndrome Feelings

Overcome Impostor Syndrome Feelings

Many talented and creative people experience impostor or fraud feelings and beliefs about themselves, despite their accomplishments.

How can we change those feelings to be more confident and creative? This article has multiple quotes, books, links to other articles, and programs.


Also see page about the Self-Esteem Program by Caroline Myss – with an audio excerpt.


Also see post: Impostor phenomenon: Gerard Butler – “Have I ever thought I was a fraud? Maybe 18 hours a day.”

Also see post: Building self-confidence: changing limiting beliefs and helping others.


Article publié pour la première fois le 20/12/2010