Many students I’ve worked with have limited tools for clearly and compassionately assessing their own work.

This isn’t a failure on the part of the student. Many actor training systems train actors out of their own self-trust.

When we teach actors that the way they’ll survive in this industry is to be ‘easy to work with’ and say yes to whatever is asked of them, actors may internalize that their own insight is not safe to trust. Trusting their own boundaries and acting on them could get them labeled as ‘difficult to work with’ and prevent future work.1

In fact, actors may be taught that when something feels unsafe, that’s a sign they are stepping into the much sought-after trait of ‘vulnerability.’ There is a badge of honor awarded for tapping in to personal trauma, or for being willing to “go there.”

As a result, students may learn to distrust their internal wisdom, or their emotional intelligence. Their sense of worth and confidence gets placed in the hands of directors, casting agents, and teachers. When assessing whether something feels safe, whether they want the role, and even what their goals and dreams are, they look out instead of in.

In one of my intimacy choreography sessions, I asked students to take a moment and discern where their boundaries were that day. One student replied that they had never thought about where their boundaries might be; they had always just let other people do what they wanted.

This is not to say that an outside eye, or external input isn’t ever useful. However, in my experience, trust in the external is often overemphasised to the detriment of developing an internal sense of what boundaries and progress look like for ourselves.

And so! THIS is why I hype you up.2 THIS is why I ask folks to share my coaching with artists in need of a confidence boost. I’m not here to hype you up without substance — I am here to act as a reflection, so that you can begin to see for yourself how brilliant you already are, as well as the places you’d like to grow.

What questions do you have about the role of self-trust in creative practice? Reply to this email to send them my way, and let’s have a chat about it.

Until then, seek ease and rest today.

With love,


1Staging Sex: Best Practices, Tools, and Techniques for Theatrical Intimacy by Chelsea Pace
2Hype-man/hype-woman/hype-beast (this was a term I saw suggested for non-binary hype-humans): While it doesn’t feel appropriate for me to call myself a ‘hype-woman’ in the sense that this term is used in hip-hop, I am inspired by my understanding of the relationship of the ‘hype-woman’ and the MC. In a coaching context, if you are the MC, and I am taking on attributes of the hype-woman, then I see myself as playing a supporting role to your work, “drawing attention to the words of the MC” (Mickey Hess, 2017). In other words, I reflect back to you what I hear you saying in order to center you as the most trustworthy source of your creative practice.