Sunday, November 7, 2010

Performance Is Key. Or is it?

Whether you're an athlete, an actress, a student, or a poet, performance is key. Your performance depends on your success, your triumph, and your fame. While watching SlamNation this week in poetry class, I realized how vital performance is. The slightest mishap and the smallest mistake can cost you everything you've worked so hard to achieve. In SlamNation, the poets needed to be flawless. Their poems had to be wonderful and the delivery had to be remarkable. If they weren't, victory was out of sight. But what exactly is performance?

A remarkable, flawless, extraordinary performance in anything is key, right? For me, when I think of someone who always achieves this is no one other than Meryl Streep, the most nominated actress in both the Oscars and the Golden Globes. Considered by many movie reviewers to be the "greatest living film actress," she constantly dazzles people everywhere, including colleagues. Known for being "a perfectionist in her craft and meticulous and painstaking in her preparation for her roles," Meryl always gives her best performance possible; she will not settle for anything less. It is through her dedication to her work and success as an actress that highly-credited actresses such as Kate Winslet, Claire Danes, and Penelope Cruz, view her as a role model and inspiration, and that she has won 2 Academy Awards, 7 Golden Globes, and countless other awards.

But is it really her numerous "remarkable, flawless, and extraordinary performances" that have made her wildly successful and respected? Of course, her acting performances have something to do with it, but it also has to deal with her sincerity, personability, modesty, and charisma. She is never in the tabloids or constantly in the spotlight, and her family always comes first. In an interview for Good Housekeeping, she mentions that "Lecturing is what [she] do[es] with [her] children, not listening. Lecturing, and ordering out." She always wants the best for her children as well as discipline them so they grow up to be respectable adults. As well as being the "watchdog" for her children, she is a "watchdog" for young actresses, and this is where her sincerity really shines. She tries to encourage them that "You have to embrace getting older. Life is precious," and that making drastic changes to your body, like getting plastic surgery, is harmful, wasteful, and unnecessary. Also she urges them to "Just relax and enjoy it all." Life, work, family, etc.

When asked if "Being called iconic and one of the greatest actress of our generation must have some type of affect on you, doesn't it?," her modesty shone.

“I don't work for praise, that's the truth, I work to make sure my contributions to a film are the best they can be. Now, I can’t deny that I’m not honored by the fact that so many people like me and the work I do, but, I don’t feel like any sort of icon. I just don’t feel it in me. It kind of bounces off me. It doesn’t have any residual effects at home, and it really has nothing to do with my every day life. The only time it becomes an issue is when I work with other actors who think more of me than I deserve.”

Remarkable, flawless, extraordinary performances, sincerity, loyalty to her family, modesty, and extremely hard work are all words or phrases that characterize the legendary Meryl Streep. She's an icon, a role model, and a star because of everything she brings to the table- not just her ground-breaking performances.

Yes, performance is key. But it's not just performance in your job that matters; it's also your actions, words, and personality that carries you to stardom. How genuine are you? Are you sincere when you speak, or just saying it to please someone? Do you truly believe in what you're doing? Be genuine and true to yourself, be sincere, and believe. Those things are golden. Just think of Meryl Streep.

Until we meet again, xoxo Brunette