Tall Hobbit Improvisation: Please Don't Tag Me – I Just Need Laundry Detergent



Every actor, at some point, has thought about what it would be like if somehow they made it. Got famous. Did it. Superstar. And every actor definitely, on some level loves to receive attention and accolades. Despite my general inclination towards introversion and annihilating self criticism, my need for validation may be the only force more overwhelming. This belies a certain challenge to the true integrity of any creative output- but that’s another matter entirely.

The point being- I desperately want people to like me and tell me I am good. I also want to be pretty. As long as these compliments are said in a way that I can brush off and find a way to weasle out of actually accepting.

A foreigner in Vinh City receives a lot of attention- there are no more than ten foreigners that actually live in the city at any time and tourism is almost non-existent. I am the only blonde in the city. I can’t hide anywhere. In general, people are extremely kind. They want to say “Hello” to you, they want to know your name, where you are from, shake your hand, know if you can sing- and take a picture with you, or of you.

It is very charming to walk into a classroom of young students, and have them all gasp- and tell me I am pretty and look like Elsa from Frozen. Of course I want to look like a Disney character. Although, most of them do not know that I play Anna at home- and not Elsa, I do not correct them.

No one know’s how much I really want to be a princess.

It is very sweet that on my walk to work, there is a little boy who always screams “Hello!” from the other side of the street. He yells it maybe 6 or 7 times, and I have to respond everytime because he is just so excited and passionate about the greeting.

It is very endearing that there is a little old man who always wants to say “Hello” to us, and then have us say “Xin Chao” back to him. It delights him and it delights me.

I have a certain allottment of energy for these sorts of interactions. The same sort of energy that I use for modeling, improv, teaching and acting. I feel like I have to open myself so much- as there are a lot of people around me who need my energy in these situations and I need to be flexible, and completely turn off my self-doubt. I need to put on my human suit and act like I am totally cool at doing this. Totally confident. I got this.

And I can do that! But after that- it’s shut down time. It’s time to walk home in silence and not say anything to anyone for a long time. Time to sit on the roof and open a beer and let all the stimuli go- time to reasses the embarassing situations that I ignored while in performance mode. Time to recharge.

New York City taught me a bit about the sanctity of silent travel. Many people, myself included love to ignore the outside world during the commute. That’s your time to have your headphones in and prepare for your day.

This is such an odd thing to have negative feedback about- and I never thought that I of all people would be driven to this point but- there is such thing as too much attention. There is a point where you really want to ask people to leave you alone, but you can’t because you will be labeled as rude. I don’t need to be known as the rude blonde girl, because there’s no one to confuse me with.

I do not like when people take my photograph without asking. I’m a good model. I can give you a pose and the right angle on my face, but that photo of me with one eye open eating a cucumber really does not need to be seen by the internet. In fact, I don’t really want any photos of me eating. When my students take out their phones and very clearly take pictures of me while teaching, I know that angle is horrible. When I just want to go to the grocery store, I don’t want to see a group of women laughing and taking my picture with their phones as I desperately try to figure out how to read nutrition facts. I don’t always want to wear a full face of makeup.

Lookin’ good, Steph.  Please hire me.

It is not as though I really care in particular if half of Vinh City has horribly unflattering photos of me- but I would rather that they ask me. If someone wants a photo with me, I will always oblige them- even if I don’t really want to, just because I appreciate that they actually asked me.

Having a group of people with a camera laughing at you just does not feel good. Many times, I have had people translate that it is just that they think I am pretty, or they like my hair or eyes but no matter how much reassurance I receive, I am always a million percent sure that they are making fun of me and taking horrible pictures on purpose to show their friends and call me mean names.

Michael receives just as much ridiculous attention. Everyone wants to walk up to him and measure where they come up to on his body- since he towers over everyone here. Because he is so big, I have witnessed a woman run and jump on his back, after which she insisted on kissing my forehead. For this specific experience, we were both so perplexed that we just let it slide.

Part of the reason that I am always so exhausted is that when I am in public, I always have to be “on”. And I want to be out doing things as much as possible- to make the most of my time here.

The positive side of this, is that I really don’t feel a lot of stress to attempt to reach fame. That’s a joke. Because, like, I was never going to be famous but now I can act like it was by choice. #Gotem