Hannah Daly, a Portland native and Waynflete graduate, doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t want to be an actor. Daly graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelor’s degree in acting last spring, but started to take the craft seriously as a career around age 13.
As an actor, it can be difficult to maintain the confidence necessary to perform while facing rejection that’s so common in the industry. The audition process is particularly difficult.
“You’re a salesman, but your product is yourself. You can separate yourself from the audition process but (if you’re not selected) it can still feel like a personal rejection. Even when you know it’s not something you can control, it still stings because if you’re a good actor, you’re putting yourself into your work,” she says.
Self-confidence, she says, is a “necessity in this line of work.”
“I used to think I was a terrible actor any time I didn’t get a role,” she says, “but when you gain confidence in yourself you can set that feeling of being personally rejected aside and realize it doesn’t mean you’re a bad actor. As long as you did your best in the audition and were your true self, the rest was out of your hands.”
The lack of work written by and for women and the pressure in the industry to conform to certain beauty standards can “definitely be draining for a lot of people,” Daly says.
But the young actress has a solution for that, too.
“If there’s not a role out there for you, write it,” she says. “If no one is producing the shows you’re good for, do it yourself.”
Daly and a fellow actor are producing a two-person show in the Portland area. She saw the play in an off-Broadway theater in New York, fell in love with it and felt inspired to do it herself.
Taking a do-it-yourself mentality, says Daly, is the “the No. 1 piece of advice I got from women when I asked them how do we solve the issue of sexism in the business.”