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Dear West End Producer: ‘Help! Which top should I wear for a new headshot?’

West End Producer
West End Producer Photo: Matt Crockett
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An international study recently found that getting new headshots is one of the biggest life stresses a person can undergo. It is up there with moving house, a death in the family, marriage, and leaving your agent. So I feel your pain.

Not only must you consider how to style your hair and whether to shave – you also need to scour through your wardrobe and find a selection of tops that highlight your personality while not upstaging your face.

So, before embarking on this difficult decision, I suggest you take some deep breaths, twist your body into some yoga positions, and spend two weeks partaking in a meditation course. Then, once your mind is focused and your face is spot free, you can move confidently forward in your headshot adventure.

When having new headshots you should take a selection of tops with you, in various colours and styles. You will need some that are tighter around your neck region, and others that allow your neck acting to shine. Jumpers are also fine, but don’t wear anything too thick or big as it will make you look like a wooly mammoth – and you don’t want that unless you’re auditioning for the National’s new production of Jurassic Park (a verbatim piece using extensive recordings of Rufus Norris speaking to the T-rexs and velociraptors at London Zoo).

Happy, sad, camp and constipated are the most popular headshot ‘looks’

Usually in a headshot session you’ll get a chance to change your outfit at least four times. Think of what ‘looks’ you want. You may be aware that certain clothes make you feel a certain way and change your look – be conscious of this and try to show as many different facets of yourself as possible (happy, sad, camp and constipated are the most popular headshot ‘looks’).

To help in your quest for the right tops, I have compiled a little list for you:

Never wear a top with polka dots or anything too bright, as this causes casting directors to vomit.

• Stripes indicate that you’re a sailor.

Lycra is good for Cats or other feline works.

• Turtlenecks suggest a german baddie or dodgy pornstar.

You can decide to wear no top at all – useful if auditioning for Calendar Girls and Mrs Henderson Presents.

• Any green attire is perfect for Wicked.

• A furry jumper is essential attire for Emmerdale, specifically sheep castings.

• A low-cut top is a good prostitute look – a strong choice for those Lovely Ladies Les Mis castings.

• For television work, it doesn’t matter about your top – just be sure to have a couple of expressionless shots.

• If you put a couple of wings on your head, then regardless of your top you’ll be considered for the helicopter in Miss Saigon.

• And finally, if you wear an inflatable life jacket it shows you can cope with the sea – essential for roles in the upcoming Sonia Friedman show Free Willy the Musical, dear.

Send questions to your dear agony aunt via Twitter @westendproducer

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