Let’s “Prince it”

Clearly, Prince was the MASTER of originality.


He made wearing white frilly shirts super sexy and cool. He was both feminine and masculine. He made eyeliner sexy and intriguing. He was petite, with a massive presence. He was on fire, and he was shy. He was vulnerable in his music, and provocative and aggressive onstage. 

No one can put Prince in a box.


Uh-oh. Did you put yourself in a box?


Have you put yourself in a box by watering down your presence so that you can be cast?

Are you trying to be marketable and losing your sense of individual expression because you want so badly to fit in?

Does your headshot look like everyone else’s? Does your website feel professional, but maybe devoid of your vibrant personality? Are your auditions safe and what you “think they are looking for”?

Maybe trying to fit in is limiting your expression, your expansion.

In everything he did, Prince seemed to be expressing ‘this is who I am, I am me, I ain’t nobody else.” 


Don’t apologize for what makes you so different.


In fact, embrace it.

Prince would want you to do that. Prince would say ‘heck yeah, be yourself’.

What do you think Prince would tell you about how to be original?


Just be who you are. And trust that will draw your audience to you.


Trust your instincts of self-expression. (They could be very profitable!)

Now, for some of you, wearing frilly white shirts or dying your hair purple are not the ways towards expressing your originality. That might actually be someone else’s originality that you are borrowing. 

The true challenge is to not fall into the trapping of co-opting someone else’s style as your own.


You are not Prince. You are you.


For so many years I’ve been addressing Marketability for Actors within my classes as a natural by-product of trying to find your true self on camera. 

Marketability. Marketability. Such a conversation topic among actors! I know you are trying to figure out where you fit in, who will want to hire you, who will like you… 

But maybe you’re going about it backwards?

What would happen if you flipped it around and said “I am here, this is who I am, I am different than anyone else” and let others figure out what to do with you?


Prince’s legacy is our lesson to learn.


I can’t stop thinking about Prince’s example of boldness. I can’t stop thinking about how darn original and outside of the box he was in his music and his presence.  He simply went for the boldest expression of himself in all of his work. 

Prince didn’t care that someone else might make fun of his black lace gloves and love for purple. He didn’t care if someone judged his writhing on stage and his vanity projects. Prince just LOVED singing, he LOVED bold fashion, he LOVED performing, he LOVED making music.

He lived for what he loved.

His uniqueness just oozed out of him because he brought himself so fully to everything he did. Totally all in, totally unabashed about who he was.


Being true to you will pay off.


Purple Rain, the film revealing his life and his struggles, grossed more than US$68 million at the box office in the United States and over 80 million worldwide. So he was quite profitable too…

Yes, it was undoubtedly Prince’s music that truly blew our minds.

But, as much it was his dynamic music, it was also undoubtedly Prince’s brazen personality and commitment to uniqueness that completely mesmerized us.


You, my friend, are mesmerizing too. Mesmerize us with your original self. There is no one else like you.


Be you.

Let’s “Prince it”, friends. Let’s “Prince it.”


To get to your own originality, here’s a fun exercise that is worth 5 emails of your time.


Email 5 friends this question: “What are my good qualities that make me unique?

(Notice, I suggest only asking for your good qualities. No one needs to be told about all their bad qualities that make them unique! Let’s be in the business of positive reinforcement, yeah?)

In honor of Prince, tell me, below, an artist that you admire for being so original… let’s grow that list of inspirations! Or, just tell me how much you loved Prince too…

Prince in Purple Rain


  1. Ilyana Kadushin says

    YES HEIDI! This theme is everything. Why would a CD want to look at 100 of the same type of actor reading for the same role, in the exact same fashion? If all actors embodied their awareness in their own unique way it would truly test the skills of CD’s and their own ability to take risks.

  2. Justin Randolph says

    Beautiful and such a great reminder! Thank you Heidi!! John Waters comes to mind as well as some of my favorite artists who one wouldn’t necessarily consider to be “out there” but definitely have their own authenticity that shines: Kathleen Turner, Bon Iver (Musician), Sufjan Stevens (Musician), Jim Carey…and the list could go on.

  3. Rose Sias says

    Heidi, you are a guru! I am absolutely moving toward letting my authentic self be seen! Hiding behind expectations is a bad habit, hard to break. I don’t want people to mis-judge me or be afraid, but it is so much more empowering when you are free to bring yourself to a role! (And fre to be who you are) You are always on point! I’m probably opposite of the frilly shirts,…but I’m about to “Prince it up.”

  4. Ashley Clarke says

    Hey Heidi!
    I look forward to meeting with you and joining your On Camera volume I class. Since moving to NYC a few months ago I’ve been taking advantage of free museum days. It’s interesting that I haven’t even seen a play yet but feel so impassioned by the visual arts as of late. I’m so grateful to have gained appreciation for Jasper Johns’ work. The futility and frustration and human tragedy and beauty of attempting to use our limited but gorgeous symbols and language is why I love being an actress. At the end of the day we’re all just trying to connect. Albeit using the tools available to us. There’s something humbling and grounding about this that makes me feel fraternal with people.
    I’ve also been thinking about Gina Rowland’s in A Woman Under the Influence. Specifically her choices with her hands. They’re like uncanged birds flying away. It’s such a beautiful choice. And seems like it would be “too much” or not “realistic”. But it’s so true to the character. Thanks for sharing.

    • Heidi Marshall says

      You mention one of my favorite films and performances. And I totally relate to the humbling and grounding feeling of being an artist and a creative spirit. See you soon Ashley!

  5. Angela Wilson says

    Heidi, well, the Prince blog. I believe this speaks to me about as much as any piece because in the New Mexico market where I am, everyone talks about “how to get booked”, not “how to be yourself”. But there are a few terrific actors here who are definitely themselves, and they book! I don’t think they concentrate on “marketing” so much as just being their best self. So about Prince. I met him in 2006. He owned a restaurant in Vegas. My friend and I ate dinner there and Prince was about to greet everyone and ensure they were happy. Afterwards we went to a four hour concert he gave upstairs in a venue of under 500 people. WE had a table, HE poured champagne into our glasses himself. He performed not two feet in front of us several times. He was the most talented, charismatic performer I HAVE EVER SEEN, and to have seen him up close and personal was MIND-BLOWING.

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