I'm Not 12 Years Old, But Thanks For Asking...

We say it to little kids all the time: "don't judge a book by its cover!" In other words, just because a book is shiny and new doesn't mean it's a great read. The same holds true for a plain-covered book -- just because it's ordinary in appearance, doesn't mean it's not an extraordinary read. And as the saying is meant to imply, the same holds true with people. But what happens when we as human beings forget these wise words from our childhood? What happens when we judge other people by the way they look?

When I was 18, I dabbled into the world of acting and modeling. Yes, you read right: acting and modeling. After being scouted by an acting school in Tucson, AZ (where I was living at the time), I used to attend various acting classes 5 or 6 times a week. I loved it. Heck, I thought I was going to become a professional actor for a while... and no, I am not kidding.

A few months after I was bit by the acting bug, I traveled to Las Vegas to attend this crazy-big acting/modeling/I want to become famous convention. I knew I liked acting, and truthfully, I thought I was pretty good. To my surprise, others thought I was good, too! I couldn't believe it. Was I really going to live out my "I want to be Julia Roberts" dream? Did I really have a shot at making it?

After receiving a few callbacks from acting managers in Los Angeles and modeling agencies in New York, I knew it was now or never. The next weekend, my parents and I were in the car driving up to LA. I had two days of meetings lined up and, while every managing company had their own idea as to where my career could go, they all did agree on one thing: an "actress" like me equaled dollar signs. No, this wasn't because they thought I was the next Meryl Streep. Far from it, actually. Turns out, my real appeal lied in my ability to look 12 years old without actually being 12 years old. As an 18-year-old who looked like she was 12, I would be able to play a "kid" while working as an "adult." In other words, I would be able to play the role of a child without having to abide by child labor laws. I soon found out the same held true in the modeling world. I wasn't having it. I wasn't going to backtrack and spend my time acting like a child when I was trying to venture into adulthood. I know it sounds crazy but, in the end, I think I made the right decision... at least the right decision for me.

You see, my whole "adult" life, I've always been told that I look very young. I usually just laugh and make some sort of "I'll appreciate my youthful look when I'm 40" joke but, I must admit, for some reason or another my looking young has always bothered me. I'm not exactly sure why this is so, but somewhere in the depths of my analytical brain, I have come up with the following hypothesis: The older you are, the more respect, trust, and approval you tend to receive. Now I know this is not some scientific problem that can be solved with some random formula and a glass beaker. That said, it is a problem, in the truest sense of the word.

A conundrum of the ages (literally), I think it's safe to say that just because someone looks young, doesn't mean that he/she deserves to be treated like a child! No one does, unless you are indeed a child (and even then, it's questionable). Looks can be deceiving, this much we know. What we as a culture (and as a society) have yet to learn is that, when we fall for deception, we end up duping ourselves... and really, who in their right mind wants to live life as a "Gullible Gabby," so to speak. Not I, and I assume, not you! So, next time you meet someone new, remember to be aware of your actions and aware of how said actions can impact others. Remember that, just because you are thinking something about someone, doesn't mean it is an appropriate comment to say. And, most importantly, remember that everyone has a story, a purpose, and an array of insecurities.

Don't bring people down. Build them up... one zipped lip at a time.