Normal People in Commercials

Does anybody know how someone becomes a normal person in a TV ad? I am not talking about TV ugly people, or plus sized models, or hot guys who pretend to be nerdy, or the minority used to make the thing being advertised seem different, or the pretty people who get interviewed but are not technically actors. I am talking about the people who are actually normal looking humans.

Sometimes commercials are filled with people we are supposed to want to be. Obviously, those people make sense casting wise. Other times there are people we are not supposed to want to be. They are frumpy, ugly, pockmarked, stupid, fat, bad dressers, pear-shaped, etc. Where do they find these people? How do they handle it when someone says, hey, we need one convincing guy to be the before in this deodorant ad. He needs to be balding, pudgy, and moist looking.

Are they picked from the street? Is it someone’s sad cat lady family member? Do they list roles on Craig’s List? I ask because I honestly fear these people consider themselves actors. Are there entire hordes of normal looking people trying to make it big in the entertainment industry? Are there agencies that will sign someone who is particularly “despondent shop clerk-esque”?

It is bad enough that people think that just because they can dream they can make it. People should be realistic. If you are ugly or talent-less maybe you should not try to make money off of your ability to stand in front of a camera. I am actually afraid that for every normal person in a commercial there a droves of them as waiters telling people that they are actually actors and believing that they can make it in spite of their bodies. Hot people are easy enough to replace or forget. Think about how difficult it would be to make a living through acting if you weren’t attractive.

I know it isn’t a healthy thing for us to see perfection all day long in media and pop culture but that isn’t really changing. I used to be able to look at models and see their rib cages and know that it was okay that I didn’t look like them. Now I see all these attractive “plus” sized women and I can’t do anything but be like, great…I am just ugly.

I am hoping I am wrong about the mass of out of work normal looking actors. Let’s just be reasonable and dream better dreams just in case.


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