‘Her Cleavage Is Her Best Feature’: The Sexist World Of Casting Calls

by Cassy Sanders


“Her cleavage is her best feature.”

“Slightly overweight, unattractive, however she is naturally funny, so people do enjoy her company.”

“Lead male should ideally by 30 – 55 years old. Lead female should ideally be 20 – 35 years old.”

Casting Call: The Project, a short film by Julie Asriyan, Laura Bray, and Jenna Ciralli, captures the reactions of real female actors seeing, and reading real casting calls for the first time. 


Being a female actor, you have to sort through a lot of casting breakdowns and often they are actually this insulting.

So, for all you casting assistants, PAs, interns, and students writing their thesis project, let me help you DO BETTER than this.

Describe what the actor needs to do! Should she be emotionally available, have a quick wit; is she vulnerable or emotionally closed off?

What are her circumstances? She’s just out of college and feeling hopeful, or she’s just lost her job and feels lost, or her mother has remarried and she feels divided within her family (Shit…I just wrote three pitches right there).

Or what is her (gasp) point of view? Is she skeptical? Is she optimistic? Is she a conservative? Is she a liberal?

These are all things that help an actor know if they should submit to you or not.

You don’t have to write a novel. It could be three words, just use some of the above examples INSTEAD of describing how large her breasts are or her level of hotness.

And if the female character that you have written is so flat, so one note, so insignificant that you cannot describe her in one of these ways, then she is only an object and not a fully rounded character, and you suck at writing, and you need to fix it. If you don’t know how to fix it, try this: Change her name to John, rewrite the whole script and then change her name back to Sally or whatever. Also, “Age 18-35” is a stupid description. Someone who is 18 is very different than someone who is 35. Make a real choice.

Image: Mislav Marohnic/Flickr

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