The trend of models turning actress is certainly not a new one by any means. Lately though, the whole concept of this trend is being called into question as more and more models are attempting to brave the big screen. Although they are trained to put on a show of sorts for audiences, does this automatically prepare them to transition into acting? Does being fabulous on the runway translate into acting talent and star power?
The third installment of the Transformers trilogy, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, raised eyebrows regarding the model turns actress controversy. The film sparked much talk initially when model turning actress in her first role ever, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
replaced model turned actress Megan Fox. The gorgeous Huntington-Whiteley is best known as a "Secret Angel" for the Victoria Secret lingerie brand in the modeling world. Unfortunately, the general consensus by critics and movie goers, Rosie's secret angel skills didn't transform into actual 'good' acting.
Prior to the release of the film, MTV Networks' NextMovie.com named her one of the 'Breakout Stars to Watch for in 2011' and CinemaCon Awards gave her the 'Female Star of Tomorrow' award. After the film, nothing much appears to be happening except to comment that her onscreen performance, if you can call it such, was dreadful. In fact, critics have said Huntington-Whiteley's performance made Megan Fox look Shakespearean in acting skills.
Why was her film debut so awful? There are many reasons why Rosie's work didn't translate. Huntington-Whiteley appeared completely void of any emotion in each of her scenes. Her body language with her co-stars was just off. There was no chemistry. The way she stood around made her seem like a fish out of water. It always felt as if she was posing and just saying some stuff she was compelled to say. It truly reminded me of the movie Zoolander. Every scene shown had the same pose, same face, same soft monotone voice, 'Roshunley' ' Zoolander. Same thing!
So, now fans are asking, why is it that some models transition right into acting and are phenomenal while others make fans want to run screaming from the theater vowing never to see another movie again?
The models that 'Bomb on the Big Screen' (sounds like a movie title right there) can't seem to ditch the catwalk mentality. Models are conditioned to display confidence and attitude. They are accustomed to becoming a show piece. By definition, a model in terms of a person or art is a person who poses to display their looks or to be depicted in art. In other words, the audience sees and gets a fa?ade with a look and a smile, poser or "The Zoolander Effect."
Although, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley fell into this category her first time out, she is not alone. Rosie joins the ranks of many models turned actress who really should have stuck to what they do best, Model. Collectively their performances have been described as lackluster, cardboard, awful, and outright dull, in some cases. The ranks include:
- Cindy Crawford in Fair Game (1995)
- Gisele Bundchen in Taxi (2004)
- Tyra Banks in Life Size (2000) and Coyote Ugly (2000)
- Estella Warren in Planet of the Apes (2001) and Kangaroo Jack (2003)
- Kathy Ireland in Alien from LA (1988)
- Elle Macpherson in Alice (1990), Sirens (1994) and Batman & Robin (1997)
- Grace Jones in Vamp (1986)
Those models that make a successful transition into acting have made the mental shift of what it means to be a performer. Some even may have given a bad performance here or there, but they persevere by learning their craft and possibly taking some acting lessons. Now that would be a novel idea, wouldn't it? Their number of actress and their bodies of work is too extensive to list everything, but some of these models/actresses include:
- Twiggy in The Boyfriend (1971)
- Halle Berry in Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (1999) and Monster's Ball (2001)
- Famke Janssen in Golden Eye (1995), X-Men (2000,2006) and Turn the River (2007)
- Angelina Jolie in Gia (1998), and Girl Interrupted (1999) and Tomb Raider (2001, 2003), Salt (2010)
- Charlize Theron in The Devil's Advocate (1997), Mighty Joe Young (1998) and Monster (2003)
- Jessica Lange in King Kong (1976), Cape Fear (1991), Rob Roy (1995) and Cousin Bette (1998)
- Vanessa Williams in Soul Food (1997), Shaft (2000) and My Brother (2007)
- Aishwarya Rai in Bride and Prejudice (2004), The Mistress of Spices (2005), and Guru (2007
- Cameron Diaz in The Mask (1994), There's Something About Mary (1998) and Vanilla Sky (2001)
- Freida Pinto in Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
The difference is very clear between models that make the cut and those that don't. Successful models turned actress have learned how to use their mind, body, face and presence as the medium to create their characters and draw the audience in. They don't just stand around like sheep, looking fabulous, hoping the audience gets what they are trying to portray. They know how to interpret their character. They learn how to be an actress and not just say they are one and hope for the best.
One model thinking about turning actress said, "I would love to be in Zoolander 2. I'd be so good at that 'Blue Steel' pose. I think I'd enjoy doing that, it'd be funny. I'd like to try acting if the right part came along." Just remember, fans don't hate models because they're beautiful and know how to strut down the catwalk. They do, however, when they find out the model can't act, yet say they're an actress.
Learning how to act before deciding to grace the 'Silver Screen' is a major key to success. Embracing the fine art and craft of acting first is an important make it or break it feature as fans will decide the rest.