You know how to apply makeup better than this, know how to look better than a painted twenty-dollar baby harlot, eye shadow too intense and lip-gloss the wrong shade, but this isn't about you. That lip-gloss you went out and brought especially for the role, purposefully in the wrong shade. It's for Wendy, not Sadie. It's the lip-gloss of a girl who has not yet learned how to hone her beauty into a weapon, the way that Sadie has.
Because Sadie is beautiful. Sadie has that going for her.
You hear people say these words, sometimes objectively, sometimes with resentful recognition of incontrovertible fact. You feel the eyes that trail after you appreciatively, intimate as a casual caress. You understand that it doesn't make you friends, but it draws in a line of boys who would trip over themselves to earn a smile. You're not stupid, because you know there are certain casting directors who like your look and who would send you in for choice projects that a girl like you (just a student, still a teenager) shouldn't get to audition for. And yet you're a little idiot, because you don't realize that what you can see can be seen by everyone else too, you don't realize this will paint a target the size of Manhattan on your back.
Because you're still so young, you think: this is enough, this incidental fact of being beautiful. It will be a talisman that can protect you through life.
This is laughably wrong, of course, which is something you learn the first time a hand gets too familiar with the small of your back. Being beautiful will protect you in Hollywood as much as being talented protected you at Juilliard, a curse disguised as a blessing.
You've worked with Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman already. Letty Valiencourt keeps in touch, promises to watch out for you. But the idea of the west coast and Hollywood and the studios, with all those movers-and-shakers who with one word can crush careers or create stars, is terrifying. So you cling to New York, nail your feet to the boards that you tread, because better the devil you know. So you play girls like Wendy and let Skip almost get you arrested (for the second time this week). Right now, not being in the spotlight suits you fine.
November 2005 — age: 21.
The Devil Wears Prada
Andy Sachs needed to be a size six. You had never been a size six in your life. You're committed and you're excited though, because what an opportunity this is, what a chance to work alongside Meryl Streep, so you need to put the weight on somehow, even if the last thing you want to think about is how there wasn't a set number you were told to gain, jut a dress size you should aim for. You have no idea how much would be deemed enough.
In the end, whatever "enough" might be, you didn't manage to hit it. That turned out to be fine anyway, because they just tell you to drop all that you've gained, and they'll pad you for the size six scenes. Whatever sliver of anger you felt over this was drowned out by the tidal wave of relief. Lose the weight? No problem. That's easy. That you can do.
Complaining is easy too – just enough, not too much or you'll sound like a spoiled brat – complain about being hungry, about how hard this all is, how unfair, commiserate with costars who are in the same boat. Compare just enough to gain sympathy because this is what being an actress is all about, isn't it? Mortification of the flesh at the altar of haute couture. Do whatever it takes to look good.
And you do look good. Your legs look a mile long in those Jimmy Choos.
In the middle of filming everyone throws you a surprise birthday party, and it really does catch you by surprise and bring you to the edge of tears. You can't feel your face because of how widely you're smiling. You haven't been able to feel your legs since your manager pulled you aside that afternoon and whispered, Chanel's interested in a meeting, you're carrying their clothes so well for the movie, they're not saying it yet but we can probably score a deal.
Right now, though, right now all you can think of is the glass of champagne in your hands. It's the first ever drink you're legally allowed to enjoy. It's been poured for you with a great flourish, and everybody watches as you take a sip and react with over-the-top glee. It tastes like the heady effervescence of success.
It's 90 calories a glass.
February 2009 — age: 24.
Rachel Getting Married
Obviously you're not going to win an Oscar on your first nomination. People try to manage your expectations but it's completely not necessary: you know how to cycle through the it's an honor just to be nominated soundbytes and make them sound sincere. It's not an act. You mean every word, at least this time. Do you want to win? Of course you do. Are you going to cry if you don't? Of course you're not.
So when Hugh Jackman phones you about doing a bit with him in the opening number for the ceremony, of course you say yes. (And then you phone your sister and you scream at each other over the phone, because come on, it's Hugh Jackman. And then maybe you phone Kip and scream at him too. You're not sure. It's kind of a blur.) This immediately becomes the thing you're most looking forward to on the big day. You say yes without even talking to your agent, or manager, or PR team – which is a very, very un-Sadie-like thing to do.
They say yes though, unreservedly. Why wouldn't they?
There's a gown you love, an unexpectedly architectural contraption straight off the runway from the new season. It apparently hates your body though, because even though you never have problems getting into these sizes, it somehow requires so much wrangling and double-sided tape to stay put that you end up despairing of it, especially once you realize that the boning in the bodice hits you at a weird place in the ribcage and does something funky to your diaphragm. It's going to mess with your ability to project in your upper register.
The words have barely left your mouth before your sister is already reaching into the rack of gowns for the next one to try on, while your stylist is still committed to making a last-ditched effort to hold things together. Ava just rolls her eyes and asks: what matters more, looking good or hitting the note?
You meet her eyes for a second before the two of you burst into laughter at the exact same time. What a question.
March 2013 — age: 28.
You're such an easy target. You can't do anything right even when you do everything right, because everything you do rings false and you're just the absolute worst. Your unsalvageable shorn-sheep hair is the worst. Your safe boring trying-not-to-offend red carpet choices are the worst. Your smile is the worst because your imperfect teeth are just the worst, wow, why didn't you fix them when you had the chance, can you still fix them now, or would getting a set of picture-perfect veneers just invite more ridicule? You win all the goddamn awards there are to win but your acceptance speeches hit false note after false note, sound rehearsed, seem overwrought and melodramatic. Your performance becomes ripe for parodies that aren't ever going to stop hurting, at the same time as when you're reducing audiences to tears. Your refusal to talk about how you lost all that weight you can't afford to lose because you don't want to glamorize crash diets gets construed instead as fake humility carefully calibrated for the campaign trail. Your overwhelmed tears earn laughter and ridicule and hyperbole and a half, worst winner of the last decade and then some.
Your therapist threatens to place you on media blackout if you don't get a hold of yourself, but you can't stop reading everything that people write, the first thing you do when you roll over in bed with your champagne headache from the after-party is to reach for your phone, ignore all the missed calls and emails, and check the headlines. You read through all the "why does the internet hate Sadie Klein" think-pieces that take it for granted that yes, the internet hates you, this is just an indisputable fact. You don't cry, because you've been at this for too long to cry now. But you don't manage to make it out of bed.
You hate yourself. You hate the internet. You hate the internet slightly more than you hate yourself. This is progress.
In therapy, you set being able to say "fuck the internet" and mean it as your new goal.
November 2014 — age: 30.
you can't take it with you / constellations
Producers of the Broadway revival of Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman’s Pulitzer Prize winning comedy You Can’t Take It With You, starring James Earl Jones, have announced that the play has extended its limited engagement through to 22 February 2015.
The clock strikes midnight. Nothing turns back into a pumpkin, no fairy godmother descends. Russet whines beseechingly and sticks his head in your lap as you pour yourself a glass of wine.
You're still beautiful. You're still talented. You're still very, very successful. And now you're 30 years old. You're 30 years old and bracing yourself for a day of smiling so hard at well wishes that your faces freezes in the expression, in between ignoring hissy fits pitched by unforgiving theater fans who will see your departure as a lack of loyalty.
You're nowhere near drunk enough for this.
The Manhattan Theatre Club have announced that Academy Award winner and Tony Award nominee Sadie Klein will star alongside previously announced Academy Award nominee Jake Gyllenhaal in the Broadway premiere of Nick Payne's play Constellations, opening on 13 January 2015 and booking through to 15 March 2015.