Actor, Witney White was offered an audition for an advert that could have paid for a deposit on a flat in London but turned it down because she’s vegan. She writes about making this potentially life-changing decision.
The acting industry: brutal. Where is that next proper pay check coming from? How the hell am I ever going to afford my own house? Did I just completely mess up that audition? Maybe I shouldn’t have turned down that job offer? Who the hell is free to help me with this damn self- tape?! How do I not get fired from my ‘out of work job’ when I need yet ANOTHER afternoon off?
If you aren’t one of the lucky few who has just signed a four-year deal on a new Netflix series, then you will probably be asking yourself these questions in extreme frustration or despair whilst running from teaching a class to a coffee shop shift. In an industry where we can often question our entire reason for being based on a “sorry, not this time” from your agent, it can be tough to keep your head above water. Throw in veganism and conscious living into the mix and WELL, life just gets that little bit tougher.
I was recently offered an audition for a very well-known chocolate company, and the monetary offer was handsome to say the least. Let’s just say, if I had been successful it would have allowed me to put down a deposit on a flat. A no brainer, right? Wrong. The brief stated that the client must eat chocolate for both the audition and for the job itself. My initial reaction was, “I can’t do that, I’ll turn the audition down,” but then came that all too familiar inner voice which bases everything on the possibility of booking a job. My main concern was that I am very passionate about veganism, I don’t consume or wear any animal products and don’t use any cosmetics etc that test on animals or aren’t eco-friendly. I try my best to live a cruelty-free life. That is not to say I’m perfect, I do try my best and try to make conscious, ethical choices.
I turned the audition down because, granted, I might not even have booked the job, but IF I did, I would have felt like a hypocrite. I speak about veganism openly and it is a part of who I am. I was also (wrongly) worried about what people might have said, knowing this would be going against what I believe in. I also know people who are vegan and who have consumed animal products for auditions and jobs and I TOTALLY get it! In a weird way I wish I didn’t care as much as I do, as then more auditions would be open to me. I know actors who choose not to talk about it on social media so that when they do get these kinds of jobs, no-one is judging or commenting on it. They’ve also expressed a worry about not booking jobs because of people seeing it as being ‘difficult’ or not ‘on brand’. I too have these worries but I decided that in an industry where I constantly self-analyse and often feel like I have no control, the one thing I can control is what aligns with my beliefs, as well as what doesn’t and what I choose to do about it. It is a scary prospect and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get worried and hadn’t thought about taking it off my social media, but in a world where we as individuals get to choose what small battles for the greater good we want to be a part of, this is mine and I have made the choice to live consciously and to always fight for what I believe in.