How to Win Jobs and Market Yourself

Dear Michael:
I’m having trouble figuring out my “type.” I’m sort of ethnic looking, though no one can ever figure out what I am (I get Persian, Italian, South American, European, Armenian, etc.). An acting teacher told me that though I was beautiful, I wasn’t “classic looking” and I should market myself toward character parts. I have no problem with that, but when I’ve asked others to honestly tell me what parts they see me playing, I’ve gotten “doctor,” “funny, cute-yet-awkward Zooey Deschanel type,” “dark roles like a drug addict,” and “definitely an ingénue.” One casting person said I was “too girl-next-door”; another said I was “too exotic.” I always thought it was good to be able to play many different parts but now I hear that you should play one type well initially, then, once you’re established, explore others. How should I market myself? Do I leave it up to agents and casting directors? And should I even bother with commercials?

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