Kerry Washington has talked about using silence as an actor:
When I was substitute teaching in New York City public school…I kept getting offered full-time teaching jobs, and I kept going, wow, I could leave this acting thing and have benefits and a regular income, and (laugh) make a difference in the world, and feel good about my work.
And not have to worry about what’s out there, available, as an actor. But I think that job taught me a lot about the power of communication, the power of silences. I learned in my substitute teaching how you get attention through silence. And how to really own your power in a room.
I think so often as actors or just as people, we wanna talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. And two things. Really, communication is about listening. I think so often when someone else is talking, we’re just thinking about the next thing we’re gonna say, whether it’s actors thinking about our line, or even when we’re in a conversation with our significant others.
And I think real communication happens when we’re able to listen, which requires a level of silence and receiving. I think also when we allow ourselves to be still in a room, people are drawn to that. Because there is a lack of need. There’s a security in stillness and in silence that’s really important.
Kerry Washington on “The Tavis Smiley Show” on KCET tv, Jan 11 2007.