Elena Talan got her start as a reporter, model, and actress in Russia. But after Elena left Moscow, and decided to make her mark in Hollywood as an actress, starring in Showtime’s Sin City Diaries, and the film Polanski among more, she realized that while America is full of great opportunities, that America – and particularly the entertainment industry – can also pose many challenges for women that men do not face.
This industry professional tell us how it is for women in film, in an industry largely run by men, and what further things need to change to create more equality for women in the entertainment industry.
Q. What is the biggest obstacle for women in the film industry?
A. Elena Talan: One of the biggest challenges for women in Hollywood is that the majority of the films are targeted for teenage guys. And that’s cool, because they are the ones that go to the movies the most. But modern movies are made with teenage guys’ tastes in mind, such as dynamic shootouts, chase scenes, and hot babes, and so a woman has to be a certain standard to appeal to young males; sexy, bad-ass, great body, big boobs. Women have to make a lot of effort to keep their body in great shape.
Q. What other challenges do women in film face that men do not?
A. Elena Talan: Another challenge, I think, is to be taken seriously. If you are a pretty girl, and especially an actress, nobody wants to listen to what you have to say, they just want to look at you. So you have to fight much harder to be accepted as an intelligent person having your own opinion.
Q. What further changes need to happen in Hollywood to further advance equality for women in this industry?
A. Elena Talan: Hollywood still is a very male dominated industry. I think women should have more opportunities to make their input; such as more directing programs for women, film festivals, and producers workshops.
Q. What progress has there been for women in the film industry?
A. Elena Talan: From the acting perspective, I am glad to notice that nowadays there are more strong leading roles for women of all ages. And I am happy that the history was made this year, when Kathryn Bigelow, this great woman, won best director. Kathryn Bigelow has given hope to many young women out there, and her great work and achievements are opening doors for more women to follow her lead.