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04.04.2014 Meryl Streep Speaks to UMass Lowell Audience

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Meryl Streep may be one of the most acclaimed performers in the world, but the three-time Oscar winner says that she didn’t always know she was going to be an actress.

Appearing at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell on April 1 for “A Conversation with Meryl Streep,” the Sophie’s Choice star sat with author and professor Andre Dubus III to discuss her prolific career. And, while looking back on her extensive resume may indicate that Streep always knew performance was her calling, she says that’s far from the truth.

“Most actors I know say, ‘I knew the moment I was born, I had to be an actor. I knewit.’ Many actors feel that way. I never felt that way. I still don’t,” Streep told the crowd of 3,600.

“It’s taken me a long time to understand that what I get from people and the performances that I love are like food to me; my life would be so desiccated if I didn’t have them,” she explained.

During her early years as an actress, Streep was plagued by the same insecurities as many young women. But looking back, she now recognizes that the differences that set her apart from the crowd served as building blocks for her career.

“Everybody thinks there’s a perfect way to be. What I have learned, especially in regard to girls, is that the thing that makes you you, is the most valuable thing you have. The ‘weird’ thing is the thing that makes people remember you.”

After playing a clip from one of her most notable roles, the 1980 film Kramer vs. Kramer, Streep told the audience that despite appearing like the consummate starlet onscreen, she was terribly insecure about both her looks and her acting abilities at the time.

 “Look at me in Kramer vs. Kramer,” she said with a laugh. “I was so beautiful! And I thought I was fat. I thought my teeth were crooked. I thought, ‘If only my nose didn’t go that way’…in my early reviews, certain critics said, ‘She’s got this really long, unattractive nose.’ And yet that’s something unique. I’m just saying, remember whatever it is that may be ‘weird’ about you could be your strength.”

The jet-lagged actress flew in from the set ofSuffragette, now being filmed in London, in part, because of her passion for learning, and to pass on the torch of opportunity with two UMass Lowell scholarship funds. The Meryl Streep Endowed Scholarship will assist outstanding English majors, while the Joan Hertzberg Endowed Scholarship—named for a former classmate of Streep’s who has since passed away—rewards excellence in math.

Streep’s UMass speaking engagement raised $230,000 for the scholarships, and as Dubus pointed out, her visit was entirely altruistic.

“Not once did she ever ask if there was a fee,” Dubus told the crowd. 

 
17.04.2014 13:45:11
kabby15
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