Ethnic Ambiguity – Part 2 – Featured Article

Written by | The Business of Acting

Thanks to all of you who accepted the challenge of guessing what Waverly Fremgen’s ethnic background is!

For those of you who missed Part One of this article, Part Two may make more sense if you go to the archives and read Part One. As a quick recap, I talked about the current casting buzzwords: ethnic ambiguity. These words are not music to the ears of the blonde-haired, blue-eyed person whose look dominated Hollywood in the past. Like everything else in life, casting trends come and go and the current trend happens to be the dark-haired/dark-complected actors who can play Native-American, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, or any combination of mixed race. People with this look are the ones that are at a premium for agents today, as their description fits so many of the roles that are in the Breakdowns.

Did you know that SAG-signatory producers receive certain perks for having a cast that is predominantly minority-based? What’s interesting is that the only group that is not considered a minority is caucasian men. The Census Bureau predicts that by 2044, the non-Hispanic white person will be a minority. Is this a Y2K situation, for those of you old enough to remember the panic that occurred at the end of the last millennium? Remember how we were led to believe that computers would cease to function because they were all programmed for years to start with ‘19’ and not ‘20’? There were many cult groups that predicted the end of the world.  As far as I noticed, Y2K came and went and garbage cans were full of Champagne bottles on January 1, 2000. Same old, same old. Computers continued to rule the world with few glitches.

How will rules and laws, including SAG rules, apply when the caucasian male becomes the minority. It will be an interesting cultural and social tweak, and who knows how it will play out?

In focussing on the topic of ethnic ambiguity, I chose to focus on my friend Waverly Fremgen, who is a lovely person and a wonderful actress. Waverly was adopted, and though she looks remarkably like her adoptive mom, Renee, she did not know her ethnic heritage. Ancestry.com graciously offered to test her DNA for our article, and here are the results:

51% Native American

27% Iberian Peninsula (Spain)

7% Scandinavian

6% Italian/Greek

The winner of the challenge is Lyndsey Beaupre! Congratulations! You’ve won a six-month membership to Casting Calls America!

Waverly moved to Los Angeles several months ago, and ReelGuru.com will follow her progress from time to time.

She moved there armed with what all actors should aim to have before they move to LA or New York to work: she had a place to stay for a few months (family), she had a reel, she had her Taft-Hartley (which means that she is SAG eligible), and she had a great (and realistic) attitude. She showed up wanting to study and wanting to network, and my very special friend, actor Joe Estevez, took her under his wing to help in feeding the homeless. She started down the path with a great balance of expectations and dreams.

Waverly soon got a manager, who 100% believes in her. In getting an agent or manager, do not settle for someone who is also “settling” for you. You have to hold off until you find someone who thinks that you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. Taking on new, unknown talent is a huge commitment for an agent. Though their client’s career may take off instantly, that would be a great exception to the rule.  That client’s career will most likely take development, tweaking, and lots of patience before it starts to see traction. Waverly was lucky enough to find that person who believes in her.

We will catch up with Waverly again in the future. Until then, I wish her nothing but good things. Waverly Fremgen can be contacted through ReelGuru.com.

We thank Ancetsry.com for the DNA test.  AncestryDNA is a cutting-edge genetic testing service that can revolutionize the way you look at your ethnic roots and find new family connections. You get started by ordering your kit at www.ancestrydna.com and follow the easy-to follow instructions. After giving a small saliva sample and mailing it back, it’s analyzed at more than 700,000 genetic markers. Within 6-8 weeks, you’ll be emailed a link to view your results! AncestryDNA can also lead you to an ancestor you might have never found! 

 

 

– Catrine McGregor

 

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Last modified: October 23, 2018

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