In an interview, Melanie Lynskey responded to the questions about being creative and an actor:
[‘What did Peter Jackson teach you on Heavenly Creatures that you still use today?’]
“To really, really be able to go to a dark, honest part of yourself. It’s easy to be angry, it’s easy to show lots of emotion.
“But to get to a part of yourself that you don’t want to show people is a very vulnerable place to be.
“Everybody has defences. I was so lucky that my first ever professional job was with somebody who knew how to look for that hidden part and bring it out. Now that’s something I can’t not do. I know when I’m faking it.”
[‘What’s the best advice you have on creativity?’]
“I saw the speech that Sam Smith gave at the Grammys. He said that he was trying to look like a pop star, he was trying to lose weight and he was trying to write songs from a different perspective.
“He was ashamed of being gay; he was ashamed of being chubby. The moment that he accepted that he had this voice and all he could do was be himself the songs started pouring out of him. I thought: “Wow!”
“So don’t be ashamed of anything that’s happened to you.
“Don’t be ashamed of your struggles, or your challenges, or the things about you that you think make it hard for you to fit in because those are the places where you’re gonna find your voice and those are going to be the stories that are going to be yours, that nobody else is going to be able to tell. And that’s what the world needs.”
From Melanie Lynskey on Togetherness, realism and ‘radical’ nudity by Alexander Bisley, The Guardian, 10 March 2015 – “From Heavenly Creatures to HBO’s Togetherness, the New Zealand actor reflects on what 20 years – and Charlie Sheen – have taught her about showbusiness.”
Related post: Musician Sam Smith: Success From Being Authentic
He won four prizes at the 2015 Grammy Awards, but has commented that before his success he had struggled with fame and being authentic.
“It was very hard, I struggled every day to try and be myself. I had warped ideas about what I had to do to be heard and to be successful. I started losing weight, wearing crazy clothes.” He blossomed as an artist, though, “when I started being myself…”
Many well-known creative people have experienced challenges such as bullying, sexual abuse and other forms of trauma, including Sarah Polley, Halle Berry, Lady Gaga, will.i.am, Jennifer Lawrence, Jonathan Safran Foer and many others. A number of them have commented about making use of traumatic experiences in their creative work – see my article Creative People, Trauma and Mental Health.
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Although being in a career that involves more attention than most, actor Lynskey has said she doesn’t like it, and has always been shy.
“I hate when people look at me! I hate having my picture taken. I don’t like being the center of attention. It makes me anxious. I think a lot of actors are like that…
“From when I was very little, I was so shy and I always had to go to new schools and I’d have no friends and I’d go to the staff rooms because the teachers were nice to me.
“When I discovered acting when I was 5 years old, it was a way to become someone else and not have to be self-conscious and not feel like I was making a fool of myself.”
[Los Angeles Times Feb 11, 2007]
Melanie Lynskey made her debut in 1994 in Peter Jackson’s “Heavenly Creatures” with Kate Winslet. She has played Rose on “Two and a Half Men” since 2003; the photo at top is from the HBO series “Togetherness.”
There are many other talented actors who are shy and uncomfortable with attention – see the related post Highly sensitive, and in the spotlight