Caitlin O’Connor knows a thing or two about image–a concept all too familiar to us college students, who spend four years trying to create and perfect ours.
The 21 year old actress/model fell in love with performing as a child and entered her first pageant at 15. She confronted Hollywood’s harsh vision of beauty as a recurring guest star on MTV’s 2011 docu-series Chelsea Settles, which followed an overweight college grad trying to make it in the fashion industry.
“Every woman in the fashion or entertainment world feels some kind of pressure to be thin or pressure to not be thin and go against the grain,” O’Connor explains. “It’s easy to lose your self-confidence and question yourself when the world is so looks-driven and beauty conscious.”
But O’Connor’s more concerned with projecting a positive image, than worrying about a negative one: she works with clean water charity Generosity Water, parentless children organization Safety Harbor Kids and One Mama, a non-profit that works to aid women in Uganda.
When she’s not being Superwoman, O’Connor says she enjoys seeing the Los Angeles sights, going to amusement parks and visiting museums. She’s also a beach bum trying to master the art of surfing.
Most importantly, O’Connor focuses on evolving from a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model to a full-fledged thespian.
“Acting is a challenge. I find acting to be a deeper, more meaningful experience in front of the camera as well,” O’Connor explains. “Modeling has been something I’ve enjoyed, but what I love most about acting is the work behind character development and becoming another person.”
When she landed a part in the last scene of the last episode of HBO’s Entourage, O’Connor played flight attendant. Though her role was small, she says just being a part of the hit show was an important acting lesson.
“Being on the set of Entourage was a great experience — especially because it was the series finale of the show,” O’Connor recalls. “I got to see, first-hand, the inner workings of the show and meet the cast and crew.”
O’Connor dreams of eventually landing her own action film or drama TV series. But no matter how big her name may get, she hopes to keep inspiring others.
Her advice to college students? “Be confident; be smart;be patient;” she says “and don’t look for success. Enjoy yourself and success will come.”