Aina Dumlao

Actor. Filmmaker. Mother of Chihuahuas.

Actor. Filmmaker. Mother of chihuahuas.

Just One Boob

September 24, 2013 will go down in history as the date of my 1st ever theatrical audition. This audition will forever hold a special place in my heart not for being my 'first-ever' but for being THE WORST EVER audition experience, bar none.

The breakdown for the project was stingy on details except for the fact that the team behind it was 'award-winning,' it was of the horror genre, and it was non-paid. Back then, I didn't care. My then-non-existent-alarm-bells failed to go off. I was the Energizer Bunny bouncing off walls with the excitement of being a new actor.

Alas, my excitement was short-lived. Within minutes after I confirmed the audition, came the script with this unexpected information:

Just One Boob

HAPPINESS AND DREAMS DESTROYED. 

Of course, said prostitute HAD to be Filipina. Filipinas could only be mail order wives, maids and prostitutes after all. Oh and said Filipina prostitute's breast HAD to spill out?! Of - effin - course. Well, at least, there was 'no nudity necessary for the first audition'. Yay. It goes without saying, that I politely emailed casting (who was a woman BTW) and declined the audition based on nudity (which I was NOT OKAY with).

A few days after that, said casting woman emailed me with this response:

Just One Boob

I know, I know, I shouldn't have gone anyway. But I was a desperate, none-the-wiser, neophyte actress. I did reiterate with casting that NUDITY MUST BE OFF THE TABLE so that at least made my trip to the audition palatable.

Of course, I spoke too soon. At the audition, after the director gave me multiple re-directs where I had to be 'sexier' and 'more drunk' each time, he went right down to business.

DIRECTOR: You know about the nudity for the role, right?
ME: Yes, and I told casting that I will not do nudity and that you guys knew that.
DIRECTOR: But its just one boob.

The look on his face literally had "But it's just one boob; what's the big deal?" written all over it. I politely stood my ground and left the room, shaking and traumatized.

In all sincerity, hats off to all the women who were confident with their bodies and didn't mind baring their one boob at callbacks. I hope that after three years, none of them regret exposing themselves to a roomful of disrespectful, skeevy men.  But what I hope those women (and really, everyone in the entertainment industry) now realize is that the over-sexualization and disrespect of women is a problem way beyond "just one boob." 

"Just one boob" is the type of thinking that allows Tilda Swinton to play a quintessential Asian character. Or let a new Bruce Lee biopic really be about a white guy.  Or allow 'Mail Order Family' to survive past the Pilot-Pitch-In-The-Trash level. It also justifies the erasure of Asians on screen. It's not "just one role," "just one show," "just one film" or (yes, I'll keep saying it) not "just one boob."

Yes, more women, Asians and People of Color are speaking up about stereotypes and the lack of diversity on all facets of the industry. The voices are indeed louder but its not enough. We have to make more noise...may it be protesting the studios for taking away the few Asian roles available and giving them to (__insert name of white actor here__) or voting with your dollar and not seeing films that feed these stereotypes.  

Stand up for yourself, speak your mind, and always remember....its not "just one boob," people. ITS NOT JUST ONE BOOB.