Actor Paul Cram answers "What is Beauty" & "Have Your Experiences Shaped This?"

Paul Cram

A college student at Norwestern University asked these questions recently to Paul, here's his answers. 

What is beauty? 

To me, beauty is an idea that something deserves our attention. 
Beauty, to me can take many forms. I do not believe it is a “thing” as anything can be beautiful. I believe beauty is a concept that we imbue upon people, places and things, and memories. In the most basic way, I say we imbue beauty by giving our attention. 

Do you believe your experiences have shaped your idea of beauty? If so, how? 

Being an actor, my whole being (physically what I look like, as well as my voice, and personality) has been examined time and again under the magnifying glass of “is this beautiful” for auditions and such, probably slightly more so than most people in other professions, though everyone is evaluated in this way in our current society. So I have grappled with the idea of “what is beautiful” on a personal scale as it relates to my job. Which is just weird. 

For some reason the time I was interviewing for a position at a flower shop is coming to mind because I was asked to go out onto the store floor, choose a container, and make any flower arrangement that I wanted to. Which is very daunting having people watch you while you make something. So I went out onto the store floor, and while looking at the vases and pots, I knew that picking one of the crystal one’s that everyone finds “beautiful” would be an easy thing to do. So I looked on the very back of the bottom shelf and picked the “ugliest” pot I could find. I cleaned it off, and worked with flowers in it until I felt like it was something I would put on my table. I got the job and the boss said they about fell over when I chose that pot because it was ugly, but after me working with it awhile, something beautiful came from it. These experiences influence my view of beauty because I think we can choose to give things beauty, be it through care or shifting our perceptions.