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Dear West End Producer: ‘Does getting jealous of other people’s success make me a terrible person?’

West End Producer West End Producer. Photo: Matt Crockett
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It’s only natural to be a little jealous of other people’s success – it’s human nature. The problem comes when you start stabbing voodoo dolls and throwing darts at actors’ headshots. This is when it changes from jealousy to obsession, dear.

In the acting business, there will always be other actors getting the work you really want. It’s tough, but it’s something that you just have to deal with. There really is little point wasting all your energy on jealousy and beating yourself up about not getting a role. You are far better focusing that energy on yourself. Instead of getting upset about other people’s success try to embrace it.

If a friend of yours gets a job, you should be proud. It is so difficult for actors to get work these days that the support and encouragement of friends is essential. I am a believer in karma – and if you put out good vibes for others then those same positive thoughts will be returned to you.

All actors work in the same industry and experience the same feelings, no matter how ‘successful’ they seem to be. Everyone worries about auditions, whether to try to move agents or get new headshots. These things are all difficult – and present a roller coaster of emotions.

However, in order to feel more secure about your own success you should avoid comparing yourself to everyone else. Every actor is on their own journey. No two performers are alike. And the time will come when your look and talent is exactly what somebody is looking for. So keep the faith.

One thing that may help combat your jealousy is by not defining yourself solely as an actor: you are much more than that. What makes you special is not how many acting jobs you’ve had, or which well known directors you’ve worked with. If people do judge you on that then you don’t need them around you anyway. It’s who you are that counts, your personality – you. That’s what makes you successful.

If you’re working hard every day to pay rent, which allows you to live in London and follow your dream of performing – then you are being successful. You’re pursuing something you are passionate about. And that takes guts. So be proud of yourself.

The truth is that the actors you feel jealous of may not actually be enjoying the work they’re doing anyway – and you may be leading a far more personally satisfying life than they are. You never know what’s going on in someone else’s head.

In your question you ask if being jealous makes you a “terrible person”. Of course it doesn’t. Stop being hard on yourself. We all do it. I spend every other night being jealous of Lloyd Webber’s idea of writing a musical about cats and furballs. But what good does it do me? Nothing. So don’t worry.

Ultimately, you might find that the people you are feeling jealous of might be equally as jealous of you, dear.

Send questions to your dear agony aunt via Twitter @westendproducer

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