A number of actors say they feel insecure at times about their talents, their careers and other parts of their lives – even people who are acclaimed and rewarded for their creative work.
Kate Bosworth thinks “all actors are insecure..
“I certainly am… I think almost all artists are insecure.
“I don’t ever watch myself and think, ‘That was great, I hit it out of the park!’ Never…
“One of the things I love most about this job is that I don’t feel like you can ever master it.
“I think you’re always learning and you’re always growing, and even when you think you’re at the top of your game, there’s always something else that you can do and learn.
“If I wanted to fall into a niche where I knew I was really good at something, I could do that and I could feel secure there.
“But I don’t want to do that, I want to do things that challenge me, that I will be scared doing, because I’m not the best at it.”
[Fashion Wire Daily, Jun 22 2006]
[Photo from Kate Bosworth / Facebook page – her caption: “I can’t believe this is a thing but here it is … Happy Heterochromia Day.”]
Psychotherapist Mihaela Ivan Holtz helps creative people in TV/Film, performing and fine arts.
In one of her articles, she writes about artists feeling insecure and out of touch with their authentic selves.
This can lead to a “persistent sense of feeling unhappy, discontented, or unfulfilled with how you manifest your creative or performing energy…
“Perhaps you even feel depressed, lonely, and flooded with anxieties.
“This sense of disconnection, although it becomes most apparent in your creative life, is actually much deeper than your relationship to your art itself.”
But, she adds, “You know you’ve found your voice when you feel real, connected, and strong.”
Read more in my article The Power of Finding Your Creative Voice.
In an article on her site, Dr. Holtz comments about one source of insecurity, and how to deal with it:
“Being creative is your life.
“You are fascinated by the arts and you couldn’t imagine a life without creating.
“At the same time, you are scared and terrified by this career.
“It’s a fine balance between keeping yourself grounded and slipping into the territory of insecurity.
When you do fall into that insecure territory, you start comparing yourself with others.
Their accomplishments and successes make you feel sad and scared.
You forget about your passion for your art, and you get trapped in worthlessness, self pity, and concerns about future.”
She adds that a “trained professional can really help you look within and see yourself…
“You have great potential inside of you – just like everyone you compare yourself with.
“You will never be anyone else, so focus on being you. Step into all that you are as an artist to find you.”
Read more in her article Create Your Unique Artist Journey: Step Out of the “Comparison Trap”
[See bottom of page for more resources.]
Thora Birch has commented on how transitory perspectives and feelings can be:
“If I wake up on the wrong side of the bed, I look in the mirror and see the most vile creature.
“But if I’m feeling comfortable about myself, then I’m more accepting.
“I’m not like, “Oh my God! look at that gorgeous person.”
“It’s just like, “Yeah, okay. That’s doable.” (imdb)
“It takes years to acquire confidence.”
In a conversation among a group of actors about their work, Kate Winslet commented about acting in “Wonder Wheel” (2017):
“Well, I mean Woody Allen is an extraordinary writer. And he’s obviously known for having created extraordinary roles, very powerful complicated roles for women for many years.
“And to join that lineage of incredible actresses made me feel terrified.”
Winslet also said: “It takes years to acquire confidence — whatever your chosen vocation is. To have the confidence to be who you are.”
Annette Bening notes:
“When you’re a creative person, whatever your field — writing or painting or singing, acting — there’s always a certain amount of insecurity or uncertainty or there’s a search going on and, in a way, that never really stops.
“What you were describing when you were working with Woody, that’s always there.”
But, she adds, “You want to be in a place of uncertainty, a place that maybe something surprising could happen.”
Alison Lohman has commented on the value of not feeling secure:
“With any film and even theater, you never get over being scared and overwhelmed, because it’s a new character and that brings on a whole new set of circumstances.
“That’s the exciting part of it – it’s those nerves that bring you to a higher level and makes you more hyper-aware.
“It makes your performance better.” [Hollywood Reporter, Mar 5 2003]
Mira Sorvino graduated from Harvard magna cum laude with a degree in East Asian Studies. In addition to acting, she supports the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST), and is a UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) Goodwill Ambassador to Combat Human Trafficking.
In a magazine interview, she commented about the kind of complexity many creative people experience:
“There’s a side of my personality that goes completely against the East Coast, educated person and wants to be a pinup girl in garages across America.
“I don’t know where that comes from, but there’s a side that wants to wear the pink angora bikini; a part that wants to be crazy.
“I’ve never been one of those actors who goes out and lives the dangerous life, and I think there’s a part of me that really wants to do that.
“I don’t want to be self-destructive, but I’d like to be wild. But the sensible part won’t allow it.”
[From my article Creative Personality – Complexity, Contradiction, Satisfaction.]
Mira Sorvino has also talked about her own struggles with insecurity and self-condemning inner messages:
In an interview a while after winning an Academy Award (1996) for Mighty Aphrodite, she commented:
“As a youth, I hated myself for not being good enough.
“All my inadequacies and failures, not being kind enough, generous or understanding enough, would assail me at night.
“It became a habit to be guilty and self-castigating, not liking myself because I was unworthy. There was no exit.”
From my article Gifted and Talented but Insecure.
Like many artists and creative people, Pierce Brosnan has experienced self-critical feelings and thoughts. He has commented:
“I know what it’s like to loathe oneself. To feel that deep self-loathing.
“It’s painful and ugly and f**ing unwanted.
“And it got in the way. I can dip in there, into the old black-Irish melancholy.
“You think ‘Am I smart enough? Am I equipped enough to deal with it all?’
“You don’t want it to happen, but it’s part of life.”
From article The Power of Finding Your Creative Voice.
Meryl Streep has said,
“I have varying degrees of confidence and self-loathing…
“You can have a perfectly horrible day where you doubt your talent…
“Or that you’re boring and they’re going to find out that you don’t know what you’re doing.”
Amy Adams says, “Being an actress hasn’t made me insecure. I was insecure long before I declared I was an actress.”
She talks about having an “existential crisis” at the Oscars, sitting next to Sean Penn and Meryl Streep and thinking, “What am I doing here? I don’t belong here. I felt like it could all be taken away.”
Acting was not deep calling for her as a child, as it is for many actors.
She says, “I graduated high school and I didn’t have a skill set and I didn’t want to go to college.
“I needed a job. This is what I could do. And I like it, but it can be very painful. You feel so vulnerable all the time on set, so exposed.
“But I had that same feeling of being exposed when I was a waitress, I have it at parties…I’d love to be a diva. But I’d then have to send so many apology notes for my abhorrent behaviour.”
She added, “I like not being noticed. It has been a struggle because I love performing, but if I’m in a group of people and someone has a bigger personality I’m like ‘Go ahead, and have fun!’ It looks like a lotta work.”
From my article Shyness and High Sensitivity – On Stage or Off.
If insecurity or anxiety is too high, though, it can interfere with your creativity and performance.
Some very talented actors such as Kim Basinger have had therapy or other medical treatment, and found they not only felt better, but could work more freely and passionately.
Resources for dealing with insecurity, anxiety and stress
There are many self-help programs and articles to help people deal with anxiety – see my list:
Some more articles:
Actors and Anxiety – Get Help For Your Stage Fright
Even if you are an experienced actor or other performer, you may still experience stage fright or insecurity. But there are effective ways to deal with anxiety so you can work with more power and creative satisfaction.
Talented, But Insecure [from my main book: “Developing Multiple Talents”]
Taylor Swift: “I doubt myself 400,000 times per 10-minute interval.”
Will Smith has said, “I still doubt myself every single day. What people believe is my self-confidence is actually my reaction to fear.”
Emily Mortimer, even though an established actress, especially on account of her role in the TV show The Newsroom, still doubts her abilities:
“I’m probably far too self-conscious to be an actress.”
She says she spends most of her working days “just saying the f—ing lines over and over, and walking out of the trailer just hoping it’s going to stay in your head until you get to the set, and you almost [think that] if you move your head a little bit it might fall out of one ear.”
Also see Anxiety Relief Products / Programs.