|Born||Vinessa Elizabeth Shaw
(1976-07-19) July 19, 1976
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Relatives||Natalie Shaw (sister)|
Anywhere in the world, any day of the week, in 192 countries and territories worldwide, one can find an SGI Buddhist meeting where dialogue is at the fore.
I had done the child acting thing, which is pretty much learning your lines, standing there looking natural, and having fun.
When I realized that nothing is perfect and no one is perfect, I was able to overcome my initial fears. I was holding myself to some weird standard that I was putting outside of myself, i.e., the director or casting director – they’re not expecting perfection. I had all these strange trappings I would put myself in.
I think all movie love scenes are hard because you can’t truly be as intimate as you would be with anyone you’re truly with, and everyone’s watching you.
My grandmother is still a woman who worries about what she looks like when she goes outside. She’s from that era, and I can remember saying to her, ‘Grandmother, we’re just going to the grocery store.’ And she’d be like, ‘I’ve got to fix my face!’ You were very aware of how you were presenting yourself to society in 1960s Las Vegas.
In ‘Garden Party’ or ’40 Days and 40 Nights,’ I played characters who people don’t necessarily like; I just find some humanity in them.
The compassionate actions of a Buddha are essential to reforming and revitalizing society.
I’m not very good at dating. I’m very decisive. If I like someone, then they’re my boyfriend. It’s pretty straightforward.
My dad’s a surfer-psychologist, and my mother’s an actress-fitness instructor, and we all practice Buddhism.
Coming to know one another based on a shared humanity through dialogue is the key to breaking down the walls of isolation and reversing the decline of life-to-life bonds among human beings.
I was going to school thinking I was going to do something entirely different, thought acting was just a hobby at that point, met Stanley Kubrick and was like, ‘Whoa, this can be an art form, and you can really move people the way you do simply by acting.’
It’s such an awkward, strange thing that was concocted, to have auditions. Back in the old days, you’d just have a screen test, and they’d say, ‘Oh, you seem natural in front of the camera,’ and you’d just go do 10 pictures for Paramount or whatever.
I think all of the directors I’ve worked with are mostly curious about the time I had on ‘Eyes Wide Shut.’ They really just want to know about it. They’re all fans of Kubrick.
I’m a Buddhist and active in my Buddhist’s Association, and I’m actually a National Young Women’s representative for the organization, so I travel a lot helping young women who are practicing Buddhism.
I believe that dialogue is the key to breaking through our tendency to separate and isolate. Dialogue changes isolation and loneliness into connection and interdependence. This, I believe, is the essence of Buddhism.
When you practice Buddhism, you have to always self-reflect, and you can’t avoid your problems. That makes me understand human beings better. I feel that the more I do that in my own life, the more I can see how to play a character.
How many Buddhists does it take to change a lightbulb? Many in body, one in mind.