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The Industry
Sometimes you need to get knocked down before you can really figure out what your fight is and how you need to fight it
Chadwick Boseman

“Sorry”, “no”, “not this time”.

Ahhhh, the familiar sting of rejection. We’ve all felt it. But rarely do people choose a profession where it’s built into the very foundations. Even with years spent on training and building a CV, the cutthroat auditioning process can make the most stoic lose their raison d’être.

With lockdown easing hopefully you’re starting to book juicy auditions. But if you’re feeling a little rusty or already had the ‘sting’, here are some inspirational quotes from A-listers who faced tons of rejection before making it big:

  1. “Your ability to adapt to failure, and navigate your way out of it, absolutely 100% makes you who you are.” – Viola Davis
  2. “Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.” – Julie Andrews
  3. “The formula of happiness and success is just being actually yourself, in the most vivid possible way you can.” – Meryl Streep
  4. “The only failure is to not try.” – George Clooney
  5. “I don’t put the pressure on myself to be a very successful movie star. I want to enjoy being an actor and I want to be challenged by the roles I take.” – Thandiwe Newton
  6. “The best way to guarantee a loss is to quit.” – Morgan Freeman
  7. “I don’t mind falling flat on my face so long as I feel I’m open to the possibility of something extraordinary happening.” – Sophie Okonedo
  8. “I’ve learned you can make a mistake and the whole world doesn’t end. I had to learn to allow myself to make a mistake without becoming defensive and unforgiving.” – Lisa Kudrow
  9. “I was armoured enough to come out to Hollywood, and I knew that i would get told “no” a million times.” – Taraji P. Henson
  10. “Don’t be afraid to fall. It’s not the end of the world, and in many ways, it’s the first step toward learning something and getting better at it.” – Jon Hamm

Many of us had knockbacks in 2020, and inevitably many of us will have them again, but that’s just part and parcel of what will make you great. As long as you persevere, believe in yourself and stay true to who you are, you’ll know you’re moving in the right direction. As the late, brilliant, Chadwick Boseman said…

“Sometimes you need to get knocked down before you can really figure out what your fight is and how you need to fight it”.

Good luck out there actors!

Leda Douglas is an actor and writer based in London. Her work credits include: ‘Shudder’ (Soho Theatre), ‘Home’ (Southwark Playhouse), ‘Nuclear Future’ (touring), ‘The Time Machine’ (immersive) and more recently Alice in Creation Theatre’s award-winning digital play, ‘Alice: A Virtual Theme Park’. She is now developing her first short film with Gatton Films.

Headshot by Ori Jones.

Main Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash