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BWW Blog: An Interview with Cara DiPietro

Student life as a senior BFA music theatre student.

BWW Blog: An Interview with Cara DiPietro

Senior year for Elon University BFA music theatre student, Cara Dipietro, looks a little different from expected amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. I recently interviewed Cara and found out what it's like to be a BFA student during the pandemic.

"It's definitely been weird, but I'm thankful that we've been able to stay on campus and in-person and that our department specifically has still been able to perform in the ways that we can," she said. "We dance in ten by ten taped off squares. We do all our voice lessons virtually. We do performances, everything is filmed, which has had some pros and cons, but we've been able to create some really cool content for our cabarets."

Cara also spends her time as one of the student leaders for Elon Cares, the student-led nonprofit whose proceeds go directly to Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights Aids. After getting involved in her first year, she continued to take on larger roles within the organization, serving as one of the creative directors alongside fellow music theatre majors: Kamal Lado ('21), Hannah Hubbard ('22), and Jaron Cole ('23). Through their collaborative vision and effort, they raised $2,000 for their Elon Cares 2021 performance.

However, the bulk of our interview was spent talking about Cara's podcast: F*CK THE BROADWAY BODY.

"I had been struggling with an eating disorder for most of my adolescent life. And when I got to college, it took on a whole new form because of all of the standards that I realized our industry held, whether it be regarding shape, size, type, all of that kind of fun stuff," Cara said. "So I kind of went through my four years at Elon really struggling back and forth."

"I would allow myself to deteriorate because I believed that if I was healthy, that the industry wouldn't want me, and I wouldn't be successful because I didn't see any normal bodies, any normal bodies. But any I didn't see a set of diverse bodies on the stage."

Cara desperately wanted someone to talk to about the stereotypical "The Broadway Body" and its issues. But her frustrations grew as she found no resources to discuss the topic.

"I noticed, Elon, specifically, that there is an intense culture of dieting as a means to fit a certain mold so that we can be successful and we can be cast. You know, you see it with the males. There is this culture of bulking," she said. "You see people abusing different steroids and pre-workouts in all sorts of stuff."

As Cara talked with her friends and shared about her own eating struggles, she found more and more of her peers were in the same boat. But the issue remained- no one was addressing it. Deciding to take matters into her own hands, Cara started her podcast to break down the fatphobic casting tendencies within the industry while featuring guests of all different shapes, sizes, races, ethnicities, gender identities, etc.

"And so there kind of came the point this last semester where I sat down and I was like, you know what, like screw it. Why don't I just be that person that I needed freshman year? And so I started 'F*CK THE BROADWAY BODY,'" said Cara.

"I can't pretend that I am a licensed professional of any kind, but I have learned a lot over my last ten years of recovery," she stated. She hopes that her podcast creates a safe space for people of any community to share their experiences.

"You know, [The Broadway Body] emphasizes the 'success by any means necessary' mentality that we all hold, that if we're not booked, that if we're not doing everything we can, if we're not running ourselves into the ground to create this facade of a perfect aesthetic, then we're failing.... People are talking about breaking away from these unrealistic and outdated stereotypes. Still, we need to acknowledge that those stereotypes are built upon racism and fatphobia in order to dismantle them."

Cara is doing the work that others before her have refused to do; she is starting the dialogue. I can't applaud her enough for her efforts, and I highly encourage you to check out F*CK THE BROADWAY BODY available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Please feel free to reach out to Cara through to learn more about or to be featured on, F*CK THE BROADWAY BODY.

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