Acting Coach Margie Haber on Finding Your It Factor

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World-famous acting coach Margie Haber teaches actors to connect with their personal power and become creators. One aspect of her work is to help performers find their personal It factor.

She’s taught and trained countless actors at her Margie Haber Studio in Los Angeles over the past 25 years, and her students include Brad Pitt, Halle Berry, Tiffany Haddish, Madelaine Petsch, Vince Vaughn, and Kyle Chandler.

Haber authored the renowned audition book “How to Get the Part, Without Falling Apart!” published in 1999, and more recently, she wrote the acting book “[Bleep] Your Comfort Zone: Take a Risk and Become the Lead in Your Own Life.” She gently and compassionately nudges people out of their comfort zones into a life of “bravery, risk-taking, and being the best version” of themselves. She also hosts the “Margie Haber” podcast on Apple Podcasts.

Margie wants her students to learn to be a human being rather than an actor. “This whole concept is: stop acting, be a human being. Stop acting be yourself. Use yourself and be a human being because that’s what’s interesting. That’s what’s most exciting—who you are.”

On the “Daily Blast Live,” Haber elaborated on what she means by an It factor:

“Here’s how I think about it. Everybody, including you, has an It factor … All the stars I’ve worked with, there’s something about them that’s special—there’s vulnerability. But the problem is that most people hide behind their mask. They hide behind their armor. They’re just so afraid to be seen. So if I can give you permission—which I do—to say you are worthy, you are beautiful, let that shining stuff come through that’s called charisma, then it happens.”

The Five Voices

Haber follows the theory that focuses on five distinct voices that influence each person’s thoughts and actions:

  1. The Critical Parent is a voice that says things like, “I’m not good enough. I’m too fat, I’m too old.”
  2. The Nurturing Parent is an encouraging voice. Haber describes it as “just the beautiful part of your voice that says, ‘You know what? … You’re not that old, you’re a beautiful person, and I love you.’ So important. That voice is really underused.”
  3. The Fearful Child is that hesitant voice that “really gets us stuck in our comfort zone,” Haber says.
  4. The Playful Child is an inner voice “that says, ‘F it!’ Haber laughs.
  5. The Adult Voice is the one that “gets us to class on time, gets us to do this on time, gets information.”

In her recent book, one chapter is called “Does Your Armor Serve You?” “Quite honestly, it doesn’t,” Haber insists. “When you remove the walls and remove the critical parent and the fearful child, this beautiful thing comes out which is the It factor that all of us have!” Haber believes most people get stuck in the voices of the critical parent and the fearful child.

Brad Pitt’s It Factor

Haber worked with Brad Pitt and knew him before his role in “Thelma & Louise.” “He walked in with an air of confidence,” she recalls. “I think the thing about him that was wonderful was that he made me feel special. So, to me, when you feel special about yourself, and then you can make other people [feel special], then quite honestly you really are the star of your own life, right? And he was. And I thought that, and when I worked with him on ‘Thelma & Louise,’ the hairdryer in his hand, he brought out what I call the playful child. You know, some people are afraid of the playful child. He was never afraid of it. He was always available—the twinkle was always there. It was my job to let him bring it through and allow himself to remove any walls that he has and trust the relationship, because when you have trust relationships, that’s when you can bring that stuff out.”

Tiffany Haddish

Actress, comedian, and author Tiffany Haddish is one of Haber’s long-term students. Haber coached Haddish with her “Girls Trip” audition. Margie helped open her up to the idea of ​​doing drama. “When she came to me, she was all about, ‘I don’t want to give up my playful child, Margie … I’m not gonna be that person you want me to be. I’m not gonna be that sad, painful person.” Haber argued, “There’s more to you, Tiffany, than that. There’s this beautiful piece of you that I’m so proud of you. It’s the vulnerability … You want to be a layered human being.” So Haddish was tasked with stepping away from her playful child which she was using to protect herself. Haddish, in turn, credits Haber with changing “the way I do comedy by teaching me not to be afraid of my own core. Margie gently pushed me out of my comfort zone, and for that I will always be grateful.”

Actors’ Biggest Audition Mistake

Haber believes most actors make a common audit mistake, and thus they make auditions harder than they need be. “If you look at the definition of an audition, it is to impress people, it’s to win, to get something. And this is the way agents and managers in the business have always run their business: ‘Gotta get a job, otherwise we don’t make money.’ ‘Gotta book, otherwise we’re not worthy.’ And I push that away from people’s minds. I say to people, ‘Your job is to live the life. Your job is to walk into the audition room—not trying to impress people, but love the opportunity to have lived it, whether it be a day or two days, and create it and then experience it.’ And so they’re so much more powerful than when they come in hoping that they can be successful.”

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