Freaky? Or Fabulous? You Decide.

Either freaky or fabulous these actor headshots; it’s your call. Your vote. Imagine you’re the casting director, agent, director, or producer and receive what follows. What’s your first impression?

“This industry is all about image, image and image. Oh and did I mention this business is all about image?”

Readers of my book  ACTING: Make It Your Business will recognize that quote of mine. It’s dead-on accurate about perceptions others will have of you based upon the image you present. It’s a close cousin to the tired (but true) cliche of “First impression matters” (or whatever bastardized version you’ve come across since the cave man realized others respected him for the size and girth of his club.)

Following are pictures from actors that I’ve received in the mail.  These headshots were presenting to me a first impression for each subject whom I’ve never met. Their choice of how they presented themselves relied solely on what was printed on the paper held in my hand.

I make no perception calls here. You will. Imagine you’re the casting director, agent, director, or producer and receive what follows. What’s your first impression?

(NOTE: The headshots posted here are readily accessible elsewhere on the Internet and open to public view. These pictures were sent via the US Postal System, some of them as postcards in full view of the public.)


(As self-described this actor’s head — and other body…  parts — are fully tattooed)

CLARIFICATION: The photos that are the subject of this week’s Answers for Actors were NOT taken by Jack Menashe.

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Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Yale, Temple and the University of the Arts. He writes a column for Back Stage and is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit

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Author: Paul Russell

Paul Russell has been in the entertainment industry for over thirty years as an award-winning casting director, director and the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business; . He began as a successful working actor.