Since the release of Quentin Tarantino’s newest film, plenty of people on the internet have been expressing their disgust at the constant shots of bare feet sprinkled throughout the film, and to those people I say: Hello. My name is Jessie. I am one of those feet. And I am classically trained under London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts thank you very much!
It shouldn’t be a surprise, as I come from a long line of actors. You may have seen my great uncle play the severed hand in the original Addams Family series or my grandmother play the Wicked Witch of the East in The Wizard of Oz. So it’s fair to say that acting isn’t just in my blood, it’s in my sole.
Quentin recognized that. Which is why he let the camera linger on me shot-after-shot. He knows that the serious actor does not make callus attempts at portraying well-trodden archetypes, but instead seeks to deliver the ugly truth of what it means to be alive, warts and all.
These are the skills I perfected at RADA where I cut my nails studying Strasberg’s Method, Practical Aesthetics, and Commedia Dell'arte, putting me in complete control of every movement such that I could unearth new life into Hamlet’s famous soliloquy with just the slightest wiggle of my pinky toe.
I had to work hard to break into the industry, of course. When Quentin discovered me, I was still paying my dues at Chicago’s Steppenfoot—a theater troupe of fetishized body parts. It was there that I had the honor of starring in productions such as Footloose, Waiting for Gotoe, and Mary Zimmerman’s Metatarsusus while also playing supporting roles in Heada Gabbler, Les Miserables, and Coriolanus.
I’ll never forget that fateful knock on my dressing room door. I had just finished a performance of The Iliad in which I played Achilles’ arch-nemesis—his arches—and the Quentin Tarantino stopped by to tell me he loved my performance. I thought he was just being corny. But then he said he was looking for a sexy, young foot to appear in his next film and that I was the foot for the job.
Some may balk when I say that Quentin is a master of his craft. They’ll claim he’s an overgrown adolescent who exploits young feet, objectifying them on screen for his own pleasure. And I find those accusations so coarse, I almost used them to pumice my bunions. Sure, he can be narcissistic at times. And sure, I was injured after he forced me to do my own stunts. But I heeled. Oh, I heeled.
That said, I do agree he should cool it with n-word.