Actress Beanie Feldstein ’11, who was in the Oscar-nominated movie, “Lady Bird,” and starred alongside Bette Midler in “Hello, Dolly!” on Broadway, spoke to students and faculty about her experiences in the entertainment industry and how Harvard-Westlake has impacted her life after school March 5.
La Femme invited Feldstein to speak as part of Women’s History Month. The club wanted to invite a powerful, female alum to engage in conversations with students and answer questions, La Femme leader Nicole Bahar ’18 said.
“I am friends with Henry Platt (’17) and I called him and I [said] we wanted a speaker for La Femme,” Bahar said. “He immediately sends me [Feldstein’s] contact and I was like, what do I do with this? Do I call her? Do I text her? And he said either and I texted her and within the minute she responded and it was the most amazing day of my life.”
Feldstein spoke to students about being a woman in entertainment and about how lucky she feels to have worked with female directors throughout her career and to have experienced a lot of inclusivity in the industry.
“I know that is not the norm and that should be the norm,” Feldstein said. “Getting to put ‘Ladybird’ into the world was such a meaningful experience because it felt like a moment. It felt like a shift is starting to happen.”
Feldstein also offered advice to students interested in entering the entertainment industry. She explained how she faces rejection by always trusting that when she does not get a role, it was because she was simply not meant to play that part.
“You just got you,” Feldstein said. “Who cares who else is in the waiting room? And if someone else is in the waiting room and they get the part, it was meant to be their part and it is the best day of their life, and then if you get the part, it was meant to be your part and it is the best day of your life.”
Students also asked Feldstein questions about how Harvard-Westlake shaped her as she entered the entertainment industry. Feldstein attributed much of her success to performing arts teacher Ted Walch and also acknowledged how the school demanded the best of her.
“I had some hard times here, it is hard, but it is because it is making you be your best at all times which is sort of unachievable but always something you should be striving towards,” Feldstein said.
Some of Feldstein’s former teachers came to hear her speak, including Walch.
“The key thing I remember about [Feldstein] as I am deeply fond of her, is how hardworking she was and that she never took her artistry for granted,” Walch said. “She earned it and that is the big lesson.”