Acting : My age is an obstacle by Patti Nedham-Valero

My age is an obstacle

Seems everyone want much younger women for roles. I am getting pretty discouraged. Any advice any one?

Patti Nedham-Valero


LindaAnn Loschiavo

Advice from my NYC actress friends in SAG: gain weight, become a "character actress." There will be less competition at auditions. One of my close pals plays an inmate in "Orange Is the New Black" and she just made ooodles of $$ doing a drug commercial. How much is "ooodles"? Well, she just took her husband for a 6-week trip around the world (China, New Zealand, etc.) and had $$ left over to buy fur coats for herself and hubby from her SAG income in 2014.

Samantha Belle

There are always roles, but it does get hard on your heart when you are going for a younger role. Try to watch more movies or tv shows and identify with the older women characters. I'd you don't find one you like, right yourself a role! There is always room.

LindaAnn Loschiavo

Patti: have you auditioned yet for Carrollwood Players Theatre, Tampa's community theatre company (estab 1981)? Because they always have roles for good actresses.

Niksa Maric

Well, I'm not sure how old you are but if I had something to do with casting, I wouldn't hire you to play 13 years old or 60 years old madam President but I would always hire you for the role that fits your age, +/- 5 years. Maybe you should start looking for those roles in movies or theater, I'm not sure which you prefer or act in. I hope I didn't offended you by writhing this. Good luck!

Nicole Pano

Hi Patty, I used to feel that way, but if you watch TV & movies, you'll see there are all ages, sizes & looks. Don't get discouraged! Even 8 month pregnant me just booked a part!!!! There's always something for people who keep on persisting. :) If you get a chance, see my vlogs on youtube. Sometimes I send those to casting & even get cast from them at times if the role is right for me. Here's my link: (if you could subscribe too, that would be awesome!!) Good luck with all & break a leg!!!

Lina Jones

Nicole I like your positive response and you are absolutely right there are all types of roles out there. Patti I think you should look for roles that are catered to your age and maybe your chances of getting the role will be better. Good luck to you!

Leathur Rokk

I am getting similarly discouraged when I get modeling notices, and,as it is I can and i do if i must, lie about my age (it is supposed to be "age ranges, after all!" )...... in my online portfolios I hide my age or if it must be shown, damn right i lie.....what is really hard is not so much that theres not enough work for people mainly women over is that if you do not look anything like your real age, yet they expect to have the right to see your photo ID or otherwise know your true age, then say that most models had "graduated onto" other gigs......i run into a lot of 18 to 35 limits....same with rock videos as with modeling, and acting also. It is an ongoing argument i have had with these young model scout types.They don't even see somebody's picture, they just know the number is undesireable, so perfectly suitable people get disqualified. I have to say , i feel IMDB is partly to blame for including actors' AGES and dates of birth...WHY must we know how old people really are?Women especially nowadays can look 30 into their 70s....look at Jane Fonda!She is a fox at what...76? I am rambling but the point is age discrimination is a FACT especially for women,and its important to fight it as much as we can......

Clark Lewis

Don't get discouraged there are roles out there for you just keep grinding.

Chase Rangel

Your going to have set backs that's part of the game of acting. Some times your going to want to give up that's when you need to press harder. I know a lot of people are giving you advice but before you take it check their credentials. You shouldn't be taking advice from someone who isn't where you want to be. I'm a light in the darkness. I know if you commit to a dream you will achieve but only if your willing to pursue it even if you fail time after time. there are roles out there if you stay strong and persistent. This is a marathon not a race you need to pace yourself and not get discouraged. If this is truly what you want don't let anybody convince you otherwise or take it from you!

Marco Fiorini

Dear actor: your only obstacle is between your two ears - NOT MEASURED IN YEARS! BEWAIL THE THOUGHT DEAR ONE. FOLLOW YOUR BLISS PAST YOUR FEARS.

Adela María Bolet

Be yourself! Whatever that age is . You have to find what is unique in you and sell that. Statistically, there are fewer roles for middle aged women, but we are needed to tell the stories. Keep discovering your strengths as you mature as a person and as an artist. Always do your best work, keep growing as an artist, and people who matter will take notice.

Mark Levine

Be yourself! Love yourself! I work with actors in their 80's who KILL when they perform. Leave the crowd. Follow your dreams, girl!

Barbara Faye Glover

I'm older than dirt...but here is my latest quote for us: It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old; they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams......Gabriel Garcia Marquez. WRITE IT, that's what I'm telling all of my selves who have something to say. That one woman show I've been writing since I was 30.

Chase Rangel I would like you to take a look at this highly advanced diagram.

Rosa Lafantastica

I have to say, I'm not sure some of these comments reflect the industry I'm seeing. When Colin Firth has a movie love interest (Emma Stone) thirty years younger than he is in real life, the Hollywood bias is alive and well. Yes, people, face the facts: men can play leading roles longer in their careers than women can. Even Oscar-winning actresses don't have a lot to choose from after age 30 or 40, and then when they get cosmetic surgery, they are publicly humiliated. How often do we see 22-year-old actresses playing medical doctors or other characters who in real life would have to be over 30 to hold the career position they hold? There is absolutely an age bias in Hollywood against women. Some actresses have branched into directing and producing in order to keep working, and keep themselves working as actresses. Yes, there are "character" parts out there, but I don't think it's doing an actress any favors to tell her to simply change her attitude. If the producers wants to cast a young actress to play the love interest of middle-aged Colin Firth, that's what's going to happen. You can't just have a can-do attitude and convince somebody that Firth's romantic comedy should have an actress as old as he is, not somebody with less than a 30-year age gap. I will say television has a lot more older actresses than the movies, since many theatrical movies are made for teenagers. However, the bias is very real, and only producers and casting directors can change that--and the viewing public has to show support when older actresses are cast.

Gigi M. Green

Hi Patti, Good for you for going after your dream no matter how old you are. Unfortunately, ageism is a part of our society and in many industries. How about working with writers you know and creating projects that show women of your age in different roles? Sometimes we have to show hollywood our value. Keep your head up and wishing you much success.

William Philip Zacchi

Hey Piasano, (Valero, you are Italian I assume,) but it doesn't matter. what I would say to you my dear woman, is turn to God in all matters. I would highly recommend that you read all the books by Florence Scovel Shinn. With her keen insight on how to overcome fear, and doubt, you will truly be moved to another dimension spiritually, and even professionally. I didn't return to the arts till the age of 58. Of course I feel lost sometimes(it's part of being human) , but I simply refuse to give into fear, and doubt. As far as roles for women your age you can be assured that some writer on the planet is writing a part for women your age at this very moment. As a screenwriter, and playwright, I take great joy in writing parts for women over thirty. In my play, The Monkey, Momma, and Me, the lead character Theresa Angelotti is in Act I 29, in Act 2 and 3, she is 49, and this part is a virtual career changer for any actress. (HOPE!HOPE!) In my screenplay, The Strega and the Hit Man, The Strega, Ruffina Malpeso is in her late sixties in a role that would require a tour de force actress to bring in an Oscar by the time I finish polishing it up. So, take heart, us writer's HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN YOU. Try meditation too. God will direct to exactly where you need to be to get any part you want. If you'd like to read anything of mine, Patti, I'd be honored.

Andrew Bee

Hi Patti. This is a tough one. I am starting late as a man, and I have run into something similar, although never as severe as a woman. This business is run by men and without question there is some truth to the age thing. What all my training has taught me is to focus on getting better and better as an actor. When I focus there I feel in control. Period. When I listen to most of my actor friends blaming literally everything in the Universe for their lack of work I feel negative and I disengage. Good luck on your journey.

Gary Tucker

A couple of things that might help Patti. 1 thing is to accept your current age, professionalism is more a mindset than a union card, and I know that produces would much rather deal with a mature individual who isn't going to have a big head than a young "all that" actor (unless they are a name or something) Another thing is to take your current age and when you do your resume, add 5 to 10 years both younger and older. Now you have a believable range. Then, either narrow or expand your job search. So let's say for example you may be trying to get into just the movie productions. What about community, regional, or even a call for non union theater roles? Theater has a variety of mature aged roles that are revered. Commercials often are good for having a diverse range of age needs. Good luck!

Barbara Faye Glover

How long have we been hearing this story...let's look back at just about everything and you can see the inequality that women have allowed to define themselves and a career in front of the "audience" and how hard we have to fight the stereotypes that are started on us at birth and beyond, most of us. Evolve. Women in Power, Sharing Power....we're good at that. Women in co-operation not competition which sets us all up and them too,all those beautiful men who love us and those misogynists who have made us stronger. Thankyou. When you are over the pick up speed. Thankyou. I'm tired of waiting and being afraid. I'm too old now. I was too young then. So...WTF. So I found this on my refrigerator written by my friend, mentor and wise man William Killian, SAG/AFTRA/AEA Chaplain, AZSAG Cherish your values today; honor what you believe--make decisions based on those commitments; also realize that you are a growing, maturing person, a growing actor. Your values and beliefs of today will also mature; what you decide to do now will have a different focus as you become a different person. This dynamic makes you curious, interesting, and real. Embrace the journey, no need to fear, To Thyself......

William Philip Zacchi

Barbara, Only an old soul could write what you wrote to Patti. I sense you are a woman of dignity, and honor, and MUST be a very good actress. I have a screenplay with one of the leads being a 61 year old woman with strong Strega believes. My play, The Monkey, Momma and Me; the lead part of Theresa is a part to kill for. I'd be honored if you'd like to read either.

Ron Graham


Charles Urich

There is ageism I know I see it with roles even as a guy just keep on trying and auditioning and I am sure you will get it as you are most likely a good actor all the best from a fellow thespian -from Brooklyn NY (where are you located?)

LindaAnn Loschiavo

Every good actress should go to where she is most appreciated --- a local stage production (community theatre, off-off Broadway, or legit). Or find a play with good roles for older women - "The Killing of Sister George" is a hoot --- get friends together and produce it yourself. Get it professionally archived. Hire a publicist and market the heck out of your project. Stage actress Marian Seldes worked until she was in her coffin, God bless her. No excuses, please. No pity parties here!

Doug Nelson

Says who? I’m a writer, producer and director (reluctant.) I have scripts that call for characters from a 5yr old boy (paranormal) to teenagers (coming of age comedy) to a pack of old retired dudes (paranormal comedy). I’m working on a script (Yes You Can) that centers on a middle age wheelchair amputee that is forced to arc from a “depressed loser” to a wheelchair racing winner when she meets a homeless veteran who is in worse shape than she (drama.) I’m looking for a mom for my 5yr old character. I have over a dozen scripts on the shelf that are pretty much ready for casting and production – not a one of them calls for a beach bunny T & A jiggling hottie. My advice keep; responding to casting calls – never give up. Look for older and wiser producers/directors who take filmmaking more seriously. Keep the faith.

Doug Nelson

Amen to that!

Marcelo Dietrich

That's a great predicament, Mrs. Nedham-Valero. I can fully appreciate your frustration. In a Stage 32 Lounge post, I wrote about this very subject from a filmmakers POV. I've been meaning to address this matter from an actors POV as well. Here's that post: Filmmaking / Directing: Diversity in Film.

JD Hartman

What the OP states is not just true of for females. While most scripts are "make believe", the roles as described in the script are even more-so. What would be "outside of normal channels"? The problem starts at the beginning, with the screenwriters.

Shaun O'Banion

Patty - The simple answer is, yes. The complicated answer, which I will simplify, is "f*ck all that." Everything about the film business is about putting people in boxes. The "hot blonde." The "mom." The "average-looking girl." The "tough chick." "The smart girl." It goes on and on. Watch the Drama Actress Roundtable on The Hollywood Reporter website and you'll even hear (very) successful actresses talk about it. If Viola Davis, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Taraji P. Henson, Jessica Lange, Ruth Wilson and Lizzy Caplan (this year's roundtable guests) still face being put into a box, not much has changed. BUT, don't give up! I read your profile and I don't know your particular circumstances, but lady, you are a fighter. Tough it out. Do theater. Do short films. Build your reel. You may never book a lead (or, then again, maybe you will!) but you'll work.

Doug Nelson

Patty – there are roles out there for everybody. I read your profile too – listen to Shaun – he’s pretty much right on. I’m out here in the NW corner of the country; you’re way over there in the SE corner. I have an open role for a wheelchair bound mother right now but it’s for a seriously low budget film (can’t afford to bring you here.) But if I sell the script to a larger player, it would be nice to have your reel to send along with it. Keep the faith, Doug

JD Hartman

There's a difference between starting out from square one at 30 or 40 and being a known actor with a long establish history of roles, who has turned thirty or forty. It's reality.

Chris Connell

I'm "too old" too. If I could quit it I would, but I love it too much. I couldn't quit and be happy. So I just keep focusing on what I can do- get better as an actor, do CD workshops, work on any project/audition I can, and work on writing and self producing my own material. Thats my 2 cents. Follow your bliss. Let the chips fall where they may. Be happier that way either way :)

Doug Nelson

What are you young ‘uns talking about? What is “too old”? I’m in my 70’s – I’ve slowed down for sure, but I’m still steamin’ along. I have a Director friend who’s still going in his 80’s and I have an Actor friend who is 93 and still doing commercials and small rolls. So I ask you – define “too old”.

rex sikes

but when they need that person your age - hopefully you will be there to get the job. while many roles for women are indeed younger - filmmakers need people of all types and ages to tell their stories. if you breakthrough as the go to gal for 58 + roles then you will be getting the lion's share and other women will complain that you've got that niche sewn up

Debbie Croysdale

I think the Hollywood age discrimination mind set, is the main precursor to those horrendous media type magazines we see everywhere now. It's hard to go to any high street newsagent without seeing some woman on the front cover, with before and after shots, above an enormous title describing them in a degrading manner. "With and without spots." "With and without makeup." "The ballooning belly." "Still looking GOOD at thirty." Etc, etc. It's as though a group "of age police" are working round the clock, someone should invent a magazine to catch them on an off day.

Kelly Guthrie-Ladd

I have the same problem. I've heard you need to create your own content to build demand for yourself. That's what I'm trying to do.

JD Hartman

It start in film school, students have to create scripts for their film classes. They write what they know about, the narrow world of a early twenty something. The plot, the characters, the locations, the action, all age appropriate for their world. Some become successful and the cycle continues.

Doug Nelson

Au contraire; film schools vary widely in quality for sure and most are in fact pretty worthless but for a youngster just beginning the climb up the professional film career pathway, some of the better film schools can help launch your career. Firstly, they give you practical knowledge that helps you determine to stay the course or head in another direction. Understand that the knowledge is mostly technical in nature and very basic. The better film schools incorporate working professionals on staff so that you have contacts when you graduate. A number of your peers will continue on in the industry so have a network to begin with. All this is valid if you want to participate in the Hollywood film industry but if all you want is to make is art-house or independent films; any film school will do (even no film school will do.) Get your hands on a DSLR and start making movies – you’ll figure it out as you go (or not.) Those film school graduates who fail to enter/excel in the film industry (most of them) do so due to lack of personal motivation/ambition and drive – not because of attendance at a film school. But we've wandered a bit off topic here.

JD Hartman

VG said, "Most of the time, film schools fail, since almost none of the graduates ever get to do what they want to do with film making." Really? Are we talking about NYU, Columbia, UCLA? I've worked with both undergrad and grad and must disagree.

JD Hartman

V.G., since you asked, I've worked on many Columbia and NYU Film School student shoots as spark, A few NYFA ones as well. Many, being well more than twenty. Some were third or fourth year assignments, others were projects outside of class. Those students that had already found paying clients and were building their reputation. The ones that were well organized, creative with sound technical or business skills had already decided where they wanted to be in the industry and were working toward that goal. Most of them, paying around $75k per year in tuition were not going to school to take a job "below the line". These are students that I either work with again once they graduate or I'll work with one of their classmates who know me by reputation.

Doug Nelson

Victor – I don’t know if I’m reading you right or not, if not, I apologize right up front. The original poster expressed concern about her age as an actress (which I think most of us said is probably not a significant issue). But you keep venting your frustration with the film schools for I know not why. Moline is a far from Hollywood so I’m assuming that there is very little big budget production going on in your neighborhood – so why the sour grapes? Did you apply to a film school, but couldn’t get in or afford to go? (I’m just guessing.) You’re free to move to LA if you want to knock on the industry doors. There certainly is no shame in becoming an Indie Film Producer right there in Moline – as a matter of opinion, I think it’s admirable. Go for it! If you want to talk about film schools; why not start a new thread? I'd be happy to talk with you about film schools - good, bad or otherwise.

Doug Nelson

Oh how true Victor – The truth often hurts but there’s no use in giving a role to some actor who really doesn’t want it – you’re wasting my time as a Producer/Director and your own. I’m looking for a stylish woman- 50ish- to play the role of a cougar in a short – no success yet – obviously age is not the issue. So I agree with you – end of story.

Doug Nelson

Victor – you and I are two peas in the same pod – I too will not work with those who are not serious.

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