Andie MacDowell is just so incredibly good at being Andie MacDowell.
I’ve seen her on the new Hallmark Channel series Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove, and that amazing Andie MacDowell-ness is all there; the head tilt, the looking through her lashes, the modulated tone of concern, the growing smile, the toss of those dark corkscrew curls.
In 1983, when she was a model, she showed her style in Calvin Klein Jeans ads that always stopped me when they came on TV. “Someday, someday, we’re going to see Atlanta,” I remember her purring, talking of her friends, Dot and Earl. I would always lock onto that advertisement whenever it played.
Ms. MacDowell was a model, and her acting is an outgrowth of that endeavour; she still wears clothes incredibly well and knows just how to pose. Like many an old fashioned Hollywood movie star, she works in projects tailored to her like a beautiful suit, being beautiful, charming and seductive, though this time as a concerned judge who breaks courtroom procedure to help relationships.
Being Andie MacDowell looks very good on her, so she has honed and polished it for years. Good on her.
I have spent decades forging this mellow, deliberate, measured voice, controlled and modulated. It works for me, sort of, though not nearly as well as Ms. MacDowell’s extremely well polished shtick works for her. Her poses came out of a youthful beauty and were polished by many of the country’s best directors.
My poses were forced out of engagement with Autism Spectrum (AS) parents every day.
My poses were forced out of a demand for gender neutral presentation as I crossed and recrossed that line.
My poses were forced out of a defensive stance. ready to defuse the third gotcha I knew was coming, the darts that would be hurled at my tender scar tissue at any time without warning.
My poses were forced out of a move past desire and desirability, a surrender of my own passions so I could control and modulate my expression.
My poses were forced out of a training that I was too intellectual, too smart and too fast for most people to keep up with, too much for people to get.
My poses were forced out of restrictions on my fantasy, my imagination, and the Jonathan Winters style voices that always ran through my head.
My poses may be natural to me, but they aren’t forged out of being the best and most compelling I can be, rather they were forged out of working inside of the restrictions I felt, working inside of the fears of others.
My dreams are creative, playful and clever. But my waking life is modulated and constrained. This blog is always modulated and constrained, no matter how many leaps I make here, and it still is a tough slog for people to engage.
TBB sees this in me, and she wants to encourage me just to leap more, just to go out and be playful. I’ll work the process when it appears to me, but much too often, opportunities don’t appear to me, so i stay in, play it safe, continue to be modulated and constrained.
Ms. MacDowell, a few years younger than me, isn’t learning any really new poses at her age. Instead, she is working what she polished, doing what she knows to work.
That’s not my challenge. My challenge is to find some new poses that break through the modulation and constraint I have learned over my decades on earth. I have to make work for me what never worked for me in the past, have to break the constraints I felt forced to follow.
Can I ever break the bounds of my own habits, ever learn to move beyond my own small selection of poses? I suspect I need some new perspectives to do that; a director, an editor, a coach.
Then again, I’m not sure convention will ever look good on me, will ever really work for me.
Strike a new pose. It’s not something most people my age have to worry about.
But it is my challenge.