Here's Austintatious Annie as she started out.
Tastes change as you get older. That’s what my grandmother said to me about stewed spinach as she was trying to make me eat it. Yeah right. You aren’t going to like it for a while, possibly ever but you might as well eat it anyway now and not complain, even though grandmother probably had when she was a kid. She’s never been quiet about her opinions.
It is true, though. Things change as you get older. You get bigger, stronger, more awkward or just have your hair darken in your teens. I had all of these things happen to me from the time I turned twelve to when I was about fifteen. I also learned how to look like other people, anybody else. I like acting. I like pretending I’m stronger or taller or more confident or even an entirely different person and I really like theater.
Because I started being able to do this little by little, I just thought I was a really good actor. I guess I am since I have a built in way to change without makeup and since I can be someone else in my head, even my awkwardness which leads me to bump into sharp-edged things a lot, goes away while I’m pretending to be someone else. I got a lot of parts. I live in Austin. There’s a lot of theater. I played little kids, women, even men if the part fit what I wanted to do well enough and the director would let me.
Because plays don’t have an exact look for their actors, with some exceptions, I never went much farther than changing my appearance a bit and changing how I moved and walked. There might have been some difference in shoulder width but nothing large enough to be too noticeable. This changed when I had to play a character who was a showgirl. It wasn’t my usual but by now I was pretty well known and I was persuaded to do it since I didn’t tend to refuse roles that were handed to me all tied up neatly with a bow.
The character as the director imagined it was supposed to be big busted and I am only endowed in the technical sense as my fun bags get lost completely under a sweater. The solution was prosthetic boobs. I hated the idea but I went with it, going home and spending the whole night psyching myself up to have two miniature camel humps strapped to my chest.
Oh the joy.
I woke up the next day exhausted and went down to the theater to have my “boys” sized. When I stripped off my shirt for the costume guy, he stared at me. I wondered what he’d found to stare at and looked down. “I had a chest!” It wasn’t a pair of bazoongas like the director wanted but it wasn’t “fun size” anymore either. My boobs were way too big for my bra. Good thing it was a sports bra or I would have keeled over from asphyxiation. The director and the props man made a decision. I didn’t have to wear the rig. All I had to do was wear a push up bra and call it a day.
That’s when I began to wonder what I could do.