Thursday, June 19, 2014

How Much Should Your Past Define Your Professional Life?

What's your first thought about Shae from HBO's Game of Thrones?  If it's something like "isn't that the girl who was in those pornos?", apparently you're not alone.  I actually only recognized the name, not the face (she looks different now than she did 10-15 years ago, believe it or not) but I really didn't think it was that big of a deal.  And she's not the first pornographic actress to be in Game of Thrones, and hell, at times the show is itself some kind of soft core pornography anyway.

Is her history something that should be ignored?  I don't know.  I'm not sure if people make a big deal of it because they think porn is sleazy, or because pornographic actors and actresses don't make it out of that industry all that often, or because her parents reacted negatively when they found out she had sex with men on camera for a living and it made the headlines.

Personally I think it's interesting.  Mostly because she ended up being one of those porn stars who had legitimate acting talent, something porn stars are routinely mocked for lacking.  Though I think they lack acting skills because the job doesn't require them.  People don't usually watch porn for the riveting drama, tight story telling, and cutting dialogue.  They usually watch to get off.  Just being honest.

But outside of just acknowledging this I don't think it makes any sense to continue focusing on it.  It's no different than pointing to Ryan Reynolds' supporting role in the X-Files to analyze his career as it stands today.  It's interesting and makes for a good trivia question, but not particularly useful.

Speaking of Ryan Reynolds, being a former porn star is a bit like having played a superhero: it doesn't help you see the depth of their acting talent (or lack thereof).  And interestingly enough you often get defined by that role.  The one key difference though is that acting in porn is so different than acting outside of porn as to probably make them two different professions.

It's ok to point out that Sibel Kekilli used to do porn.  But just leave it that, don't make such a big deal of it.  Sheryl Crow used to be a teacher, Eddie Money was a police officer, The Rock was a college football player.  Are any of those things important in looking at their current work portfolio?  I don't think so.

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