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Superstition has been an important feature of people’s lives throughout the history of human race. This phenomenon has also been present in almost every society throughout the history of mankind. According to Read (2012, p.1) the influence of superstitions upon humankind cannot be underestimated. Superstation permeates the entire entertainment world from theatre, to film. The entertainment industry is characterised by a collective adherence of various rituals and superstitions. Indeed, different actors in theatre, film and other forms of entertainment are known to practice certain ritualistic and superstitious behaviours individually and as a team. There are many examples of superstitious behaviours among today’s most popular actors. Collin Farrell for instance has a ‘lucky belt’ which was given to him by his father. Cameron Diaz also has a ‘lucky item’ – a necklace which she was given by one of her closest friends (Solomon 2012). The broader aim of this research is to explore the prevalence of superstitious beliefs and practices among actors and the psychological underpinning of these beliefs. In addition, like in the two examples given, the study will venture into specific superstitious beliefs and practices among individual actors and the industry at large.
Superstitions and their origins
There are various definitions of superstitions in the world of literature, however, as Delacroix and Guillard (2014, p.1) found out, “most authors agree on the fact that superstitions are beliefs or behaviours that are contrary to rational norms within a specific society.” Many disciplines such as psychology and medicine treat superstition an irrational mistake in cognition (Foster and Kokko 2009). The reason why superstitions are said to be irrational fears and unjustified beliefs is because they are not based on logic or sound reasoning. According to Nodoushan (n.d., p.83) adoption of the word ‘superstition’ in English happened in the 15th century and the word had been ‘borrowed from French.” Superstition comes from the Latin word ‘superstare’ which means to stand over, where “‘super’ means ‘over’ or beyond and ‘stare’ which means ‘to stand’ (Mihelich, 2006, p.16). Therefore, these two words present the basic sense or idea of ‘standing above.’ Nevertheless, as has already been indicated, today the word ‘superstition’ is often used to mean irrational beliefs or fears; it however does not include the sense of being ‘above and beyond’ the issues that many people accept as true. Though superstitions revolve around beliefs and rituals, according to Parish and Naphy (2012), not all beliefs and rituals are superstitious. Admittedly therefore, developing a ritual before engaging in an activity such as repeating a mantra is not superstitious.
Superstitions are in many cases ways in which people attempt to deal with or regain control over developments in their lives (Delacroix and Guillard 2014; Newkey-Burden 2014). While superstitions are engrained in almost every society today, they are more common in some societies compared to others. For example, the Japanese believe that number nine is an unlucky number, while in the Western society; many consider number thirteen as an unlucky number (Czinkota 2001). In China, number four is considered an unlucky number. Like already noted, superstitions are not based on any solid reasoning or logic, yet many people, from lay people to religious people as well as scientists have succumbed to superstitions unable to emancipate themselves. Indeed, it defeats logic why many people will not walk under ladders, or open an umbrella while indoors or why people knock on wood after voicing optimism. These and many other superstitions prevail because they have been passed on through generations. That is why even where there are facts and evidence that outweigh these irrational and unjustified beliefs and fears; many people continue to harbour superstition (Dorman 2014). While some superstitions are not harmful, some even help people in attaining their goals; subjecting one’s fate to an illogical belief is irresponsible.
It is widely believed that superstitions originated during the earliest days of the human race (Newkey-Burden 2014). The early humans were faced with natural phenomena such as earthquakes, thunderstorms and other extreme forms of weather. They also had to contend with a myriad of illnesses, challenges of food supply and conflict with wildlife. In their attempt to manoeuvre through these challenges, human beings tried to create an understandable world. The early humans also created superstitions in an attempt to cope with the fear of the unknown and the ignorance that prevailed at the time. Therefore, the early humans would create ways of controlling these challenges (Ridley 2008). For instance, the practice of trying to predict future events based on the appearance and position of celestial body is an ancient superstitions. Many superstitions have been passed across generations from the ancient times. As the world became wiser, generations that came after the early man disapproved some of the existing superstitions. Nevertheless, many superstitions became social norms. While some superstitions have over the years been completely debunked, others have entrenched themselves in the world to date and established themselves as being true.
As has been highlighted, the ancient man tried to use superstitions to try and gain control over his challenges such as fear of the unknown and his limited knowledge about forces of nature. Indeed, throughout history, people have used superstitions as a way of gaining control over events. This has been more evident in situations where one feels hopeless (Radford 2013). There are some people who are more superstitious than others. The level of superstition of an individual is largely influenced by culture, education, religious beliefs and occupation among others (Delacroix and Guillard 2014). Understandably, gamblers, sailors and miners tend to be particularly superstitious compared to the average person (Vyse 2013 p. 34). The main reason why performers tend to be more superstitious than the average person is because of the difficulty of the task (Ferley 2015, p. 17; Block & Kramer 2009). Uncertainty and the need to gain control is also a significant reason why many people engage in superstitious behaviours. Indeed, winning an Oscar is largely out of the control of an actor; just like landing a precious stone out of a potential mine is out of the control of a miner.
Superstitions largely affect people who believe in them; the life and behaviour of people who do not subscribe to these irrational fears and beliefs are rarely affected by this phenomenon (Radford 2013). Superstitions affect the behaviours and state of mind of those who believe in them in remarkable ways. For instance, the preparation for and performance of a person who believes in superstitions are largely affected by their belief in superstitions. The pressure to perform tends elicit superstitious beliefs and behaviours than many other life goals. That is why many superstitious people own a collection of lucky items (such as necklaces and crystals) some also engaging in superstitious behaviours – such as taking a certain drink or meal to achieve something.
One of the most important effects of having real belief in superstitions is that it causes people to alter their behaviours or behave in a certain way (Ferley 2015). For instance, there are people who believe that certain birds (such as owls) cause bad omen when they fly into and around the house. Such people may start engaging in rituals of getting rid of the lurking omen. This may often involve engaging in practices that one does not ordinarily engage in. Another popular superstitious practice that makes people alter their lives is reading the Zodiac signs. There are many people today who read Zodiac signs for their daily or regular advice. They then modify their lives according to what the Zodiac signs say. Zodiac signs or horoscopes are Sun signs which are believed to affect people differently (depending on the Zodiac sign) as the Sun and other planets pass through the horoscopes over the year. There are twelve Zodiac signs in number, each of them has deeper meaning and people who believe in them often use their powers to their advantage. Many people today modify their days so as to follow the advice provided by their Zodiac signs and to avoid back luck.
Fear is another element of harbouring superstitious beliefs. Fear arises when a person realises that much of his or her life is beyond their control. That is why, Ng et al. (2010, p. 8) found out that people are more superstitious during bad times. Indeed, a person lacks the power to prevent diseases, accidents and other disasters and circumstances in life. Since the beginning of time, human beings have always looked over and beyond themselves to get answers and try and get life circumstances under control. One of the sources of this comfort is religion. Many people use religion to get guidance, comfort and healing. Religion is not superstitious in itself. Nevertheless, it can become superstitious if the faithful use it to try and control their behaviour and action. Some Christians can become superstitious in the way they practice their religion such as when they try and manipulate God for a certain favour (Gilhus 2008). While there is nothing wrong with asking for favour from God, when a person has irrational faith, he or she becomes a superstitious Christian. There are many examples of religion lapsing into superstition. These include hanging an image of a guardian angel in the car and other religious symbols that people possess with the hope that they will protect them from life’s challenges such as diseases and car accidents.
Superstitions have a way of creating delusion in a superstitious person. For instance, if a person wears a lucky chain while going to make a presentation to a prospective client and he or she happens to close the business, they might come to believe in the ornament’s lucky power. Such a person is likely to overlook the times that he or she wore the lucky chain and nothing special happened. It is difficult for some people who have succumbed to these superstitions to appreciate or imagine that they do not make sense even where evidence clearly debunks them. The intuitive appeal of these superstitions becomes particularly powerful and compelling making it difficult to shake them.
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The psychology behind superstition and superstitious behaviours
Superstitions are universal; people all over the world and throughout the history of the human race have been engaging in weird superstitions. One of the best explanations of the psychology behind superstitions is found in B. F Skinner’s experiment on pigeons which demonstrated that pigeons too (and other animals) can be bound by superstitions (Skinner 1948). Though pigeons are unlikely subjects for psychological analysis, Skinners experiment shows superstitions arise as a result of conditioning. The pigeons in Skinner’s experiment would be fed at regular intervals during the day. After a few days, it emerged that the birds started behaving in a certain way with the belief that by doing so, food would arrive (Skinner, 1948). Relating this to humans, in a day that turns out lucky for a person, the person will be conditioned to think that the clothes he or she wore, or the food that he took on that day dictated the day’s event. This would explain why many people engage in behaviour that preceded a lucky even in one’s life.
Like already highlighted earlier, almost everyone has some superstitious beliefs and behaviours. According to Risen (2016, p. 182), even the intelligent succumb to superstitions. It is befogging and ironical that human beings can be smart yet subscribe to superstitions even where they know that a certain belief is not grounded on facts. This underlying contradiction is particularly important in understanding the psychology behind superstitions. This contradiction highlights the way in which the human brain operates or thinks.
It is however important, in the discussion on the psychology behind superstitions, to understand that there is a difference between superstition, ritual and anxiety. Not all beliefs and rituals are classified as superstition. A rituals or beliefs enter the realm of superstition when a person accords the ritual or belief some magical significance (Scott, Webster & Saucier 2014). For example, if an actor develops a ritual before going on a set, it may help him or her to be calm and focused. An example of such a ritual is an actor engaging in yoga before going on stage. A ritual is an action that one repeats due to its symbolic value (Whitbourne 2014). This cannot be considered superstitious. However, if an actor thinks that praying before going to a set will prevent objects from falling on her; such an actor has entered the superstitious territory.
Daniel Kahneman proposed one of the most cited theories of the psychology behind superstitions. This theory highlights two main systems through which the human body thinks (Kahneman 2013). The way in which the two systems interact proves to be substantially important in understanding the origin of superstitious thoughts.
The firsts system (System 1) is the way in which human beings use gut reactions when dealing with life. This system thus represents the part of our brains that thinks using stereotypes and makes rushed judgements. In respect to superstitions, this system tries to make sense of the world through the use of simple cause-and-effect outcomes (Kahneman 2013). For example, in this system, if one wears a certain watch to an interview and is recruited into the job, he or she will think that the watch is a source of good luck. This person will therefore want to wear the same watch repeatedly, especially when faced with a challenge.
This system also dissuades people from tempting fate (Kahneman 2013). This system often points to the worst possible scenario for what we do. In others, it compels people to avoid engaging in certain activities since doing so may ruin their chances of achieving something. This system is applicable to people who believe that wearing a college shirt will ruin their chances of being accepted into that college as one awaits the college’s decision on his application.
The system is also based on confirmation bias (Kahneman 2013). Confirmation bias happens when an individual supports his or her superstitious intuition using examples from memory. For example, if a fan wears a team jersey and the team wins its match, that person will want to associate with the opinion that the only reason that the team won is because he was wearing the team’s jersey.
The second system (System 2) is the rational brain; it is slower in decision making (Kahneman 2013). This system makes decisions after considering the objectives facts which is why it is slower in decision making compared to System 1. Therefore, this system makes rational decisions. For example, when System 1 tells someone that the watch that he or she wore to a successful interview is a lucky charm, System 2 warns the person that a watch cannot help you to be considered for a job, and that preparing well for the interview is what makes a person to be successful in an interview. However, according to Risen, people often ignore System 2, which means that they succumb to superstitions even when they know well that these superstitions make no sense (Kahneman 2013). Indeed, Fradera (2016) asserts that superstitions are a result of early intuition as opposed to analytical thinking. In addition, common sense and research supports the position that decisions should be based on objective facts.
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There are a number of reasons that would explain why human beings tend to subscribe to System 1 thinking, notwithstanding the fact that they it understand it to be irrational (Kahneman 2013). One of the main reasons why this happens is because indulging in superstitions is particularly effortless and comes at a low cost. For instance, a superstition such as wearing the same jersey at a football match and not washing it is not costly though wearing a dirty jersey is gross. However, the cost of losing a football match is high. Therefore, a football enthusiast will opt to wear a dirty jersey every weekend since the cost of the team losing a match is high than the cost of keeping a T-shirt out of the laundry.
One of the most important explanations as to why superstitions exist despite an individual knowing that they are irrational is that superstitions exist to comfort people (Ofori et al. 2017). Indeed, as has already been highlighted in the previous section, superstitions exist to help people gain control over an unpredictable and chaotic world. People will thus engage in actions and behaviour that are clearly meaningless if that will mean gaining control over situations that could potentially affect one’s life. Since life is first and foremost unpredictable, superstitions provide a comfort that is truly irresistible (Beselga 2015). Engaging in actions and behaviours that are meaningless does not make someone stupid; it is the goal of every human to try and gain control of this life. Engaging in superstitious beliefs and behaviours thus only makes one human. Hollywood actress Megan Fox has a superstitious practice that involves listening to Britney Spears music while flying on a plane. According to her, Britney’s music gives her the confidence that she will arrive safely (3am 2009). Therefore, it grants her control and a sense of calmness while on the plane since she believes that she would not die while listening to Britney’s music while on a plane. When the uncertainty of achieving a goal is high, the superstitious behaviour of a person who is enslaved by this phenomenon increases. This is because this person is desperate to gain control over the events in his or her life. Therefore, a person who has a penchant for lucky items will start engaging in another superstitious ritual or belief as the uncertainty over the events in their lives increases and where the stakes are particularly high.
Another reason that can be used to explain the endurance of superstitions is that it is easy to imagine a misfortune. Since it is hard to imagine a misfortune (such as losing a job) superstitions can thus not be ignored. In other words, people engage in superstitious beliefs and behaviours because they are afraid of bad things happening to them, their loved ones and the world. Therefore, when it is easy to imagine that something terrible will happen (death, sickness, and loss among others) it becomes harder for someone to not be superstitious. There are actors who will wear the same shoes or ornaments to awards such as Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards and Oscar Awards among others. One of these actors is Helen Merren who confessed that she wore her lucky Perspex heels to the Emmy Awards which helped her win back to back awards (Solomon 2012). Mirren was certainly driven to engaging in this superstitious practice because she could not imagine failing to win an award at the Emmys.
A recent Gallup Poll shows that more than half of Americans are superstitious (Nemko 2016). This statistic is supported by Lindeman and Aarnio (2006, p. 731) who found out that over 40 percent of Americans believe in superstitious things such as ghosts, devils and spiritual healing. One of the most popular superstitions among Americans and people in the West is Friday the 13th as a day of bad luck. Someone who believes that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day will be expecting that something will go wrong on that day. This position makes such people interpret random events, such as dropping one’s phone on the floor, as disastrous. In addition, the ever present thoughts of danger can be distracting to such people. It can make their fears of this day a self-fulfilling prophesy. For instance, thoughts of danger can make them drive into pedestrian paths or get arrested for minor traffic offenses among other misfortunes.
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The role and prevalence of superstition amongst actors/performers
For many people, success in acting cannot be achieved by having outstanding acting abilities, preparation and huge budgets alone. Superstitions and good fortune are also part of the package that contributes to success in this industry. Superstitions are widespread among individual actors and the industry as a whole. Having superstitious beliefs and observing superstitious behaviour among actors has been broadly accepted in the industry and among consumers of the various forms of media. These are behaviours that have no function in helping an actor to execute his or her acting skills Galluci (2008). Superstitions help performers to excel at what they do because they make them feel as if they are in control over their environment. In theatres and while on set, actors also use superstitious strategies to help them perform at their optimal level. Therefore, one of the most important roles of superstition among actors is that it provides them with a psychological illusion of control over the events before them. This sense of control gives actors the psychological advantage helping them to perform better.
Another fundamental reason as to why performers engage in some superstitious behaviour and beliefs is because superstitions provides them with a coping mechanism that enables them to effectively deal with stress (Block and Kramer 2009). Just like the sense of control, coping mechanism also leads to performance enhancement. Despite their obvious talents, actors are human and therefore prone to tensions and stress in their acting role. The longevity and success of actors is dictated by their ability to effectively handle their roles well. This is what determines whether they will get other roles in future and the quality of roles they will be given in future productions. Confidence is a virtue for every performer and superstitious practices are believed to provide actors with the confidence and the coping actions needed in playing their roles. Since anxiety is very commonplace among actors in both theatre and film, superstitious practices help actor to overcome this pressure.
From the big screens to the smallest of theatre halls around the world, the use of superstitions is evident from the confession of actors themselves and media reports confirming the prevalence of this trend. For example, there are actors who engage in rituals that they believe help them to become better at what they or become lucky. In theatre for instance, whistling is regarded as a jinx (The Glenvale Players 2016). When someone whistles in theatre, it is believed that a member of the cast may get injured (The Glenvale Players 2016). The origin of this superstition is that whistling was for many years a common form of instruction among actors and the directors; this form of instruction is still used in some theatres. However, any unwanted whistle especially from the audience can confuse the actors and even cause injuries. People who are not part of the cast are often advised to avoid whistling since doing so can cause bad luck.
Another common superstition in theatre is that mirrors in the stage are considered a cause of bad luck (The Glenvale Players 2016). When a mirror breaks, it can cause bad luck to the performers and the theatre. The origin of this superstition is the belief that a mirror broken today can bring seven years of bad luck. This is a belief that goes back thousands of years ago in ancient Rome where it was believed that if one broke a mirror, he or she had broken their soul. According to them, the image reflected on the mirror represents one’s soul (Higgins 2017). The number seven was special to ancient Romans since they believed that life renews itself after seven years.
The use of fake props is particularly common in theatre. However, there is a place for real props in the stage. Some of the common real props used in stage include seats, since only a real seat can hold the weight the cast in scenes that are conducted while sitting. There are some real props in theatre that are believed to be a source of bad luck. These include money. Many actors in theatre use fake money during their performance since real money can cause bad luck. According to The Glenvale Players (2016), Real jewelleries are also rarely used for the same reason that they are said to cause bad luck.
According to superstition, one should not say ‘good luck’ to an actor. This is common is common among both film and theatre actors. It is believed that saying ‘good luck’ to an actor before he or she performs their role can cause bad luck to the actor (The Glenvale Players 2016). It is a widely held belief that the stage is a place where ghosts reside and that they (ghosts) are known to cause the opposite to happen (Webster 2012). Therefore, according to this superstition, if a ghost hears an actor being wished luck, the opposite will happen. With this understanding, saying ‘break a leg’ emerged as a phrase for wishing actors luck in their performance (The Glenvale Players 2016). This is because when an actor is told ‘break a leg’ the opposite will happen. In other words, it will ensure that there will be no accidents.
Another superstition that is common in theatres is that directors should be given graveyard flowers – this is considered a practice that leads to good luck (The Glenvale Players 2016). The flowers are supposed to be stolen (from the graveyard). While this gesture is considered good luck, it also denotes the end (death) of a production. The origin of this practice goes back to the origin of theatre, when actors did not make much money for their performance (The Glenvale Players, 2016). It has been assumed that stealing flowers left in the graveyard of was an inexpensive way of showing gratitude to their director.
A collection of superstitious beliefs and practices
Superstitious practices in the industry are used by individual actors in film and theatre and the industry at large. For instance, there are actors who have their own superstitious beliefs and practices and there are some superstitious practices and beliefs that cut across the industry. Therefore, while venturing into the collection of superstitious beliefs and practices among actors and in the industry, it is important to distinguish between those superstitions that are practiced by an individual actor and those that are practiced by the industry at large.
Actor Rainn Wilson who plays the role of Dwight Schrute in The Office uses his talent and a combination of an age-old superstition that originated from the theatre. Wilson, like many other television and film actors who began in theatre often adhere to this superstition: avoiding mentioning the word Macbeth. As a seasoned actor, Wilson learnt this superstitious rule the hard way where he once uttered the word and a light fell from the roof of the set and crushed his foot. Indeed, it is considered bad luck in acting to utter this word while inside the theatre (Hobgood 2013). Interestingly, Macbeth is the title of one of Shakespeare’s most popular play.
There are many Hollywood actors and actresses who are known to put their fate on lucky charms and other superstitious practices and rituals. Kristin Chenoweth, an entertainer who has made a mark in acting and singing in film as well as musical theatres is one of such individuals who engage in superstitious behaviours in an attempt to gain control of the environment. In her performances, Chenoweth rarely demonstrates any signs of fear or stage fright. However, according to her, before going in stage or on set, she always says her prayers (Hater 2015). Chenoweth has an irrational fear that lights in the set and the stage will fall upon her (Hater 2015). To get rid of this misfortune, she always surrenders her fate to God in prayer. By believing that there is a higher force that guides her path, Chenoweth outsources some of her stress and worries to this force.
Colin Farrell is also one of the famous actors who swear by their lucky charms. The actor possesses two lucky items. These are a leather belt and a pair of underwear. Farrell has been wearing these two items regularly especially when he is shooting a movie. The belt was given to him by his father, a former soccer player. Over the years, Farrell has spent about £3,000 to get the belt repaired (Sales 2011). The lucky boxers were given to him by his brother; the actor admitted that he wears them whenever he is beginning to shoot a new movie (Sales 2011). However, the shorts are getting older though the actor is unwilling to part with them. Farrell’s application of his superstition shows that superstitions do not always have a dark side. Clinging on his two lucky items, like he has done for many years, acts as placebo. The items make him feel confident which helps his perform at an optimal level which is required of an actor or actress on the first days of shooting a movie.
American actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler engages in a number of superstitious rituals while on stage (‘Superstitious actors’). The actress, who is particularly superstitious while on stage, often engages in rituals such as doing same warm-ups, and wearing the same underwear (Superstitious actors’). Interestingly, though Sigler acts in film and theatre, she is only superstitious while performing in theatre and not in filming.
While many actors and actresses adopt their own superstitions, there are others who opt to stick to traditional superstitions. American actress Emma Roberts is one of the actors who are influenced by traditional beliefs. Roberts does not walk under ladders (‘Superstitious Celebs’). Walking under ladders is traditionally believed to cause bad luck.
India’s film Industry, Bollywood is also characterised by a myriad of superstitions among actors and actresses. Akshay Kumar is one of the Bollywood stars whose superstitions are well known. Akshay, who has so far appeared in hundreds of Indian films and won several awards, often comes across as a practical person. However, in truth, this famous actor has an unexplainable superstition. Before any of his films opens in cinemas and theatre, Akshay always travels abroad since he believes that his presence can make the film perform poorly at the box office. Therefore, his superstition is in the form of avoidance behaviour, which he believes can eliminate bad luck. Vidya Balan, another Bollywood star, is also superstitious. Since the runway success of her film The Dirty Picture, the actress has insisted on being cast wearing red attire since she believes that the colour makes her lucky (Hundustan Times 2012). In many Indian films, most actors are often cast wearing green attires (Hundustan Times 2012). Just like Akshay, Viday’s superstition can be interpreted as a ritual or practice that undoes bad luck or jinx, which also tends to affect the individual’s perception of his or her luck.
Christian Bale, a Great Britain actor has a much awkward superstition. On the first day of the month, the actor must utter the words ‘white rabbits’ to the first person that he sees (Patri n.d), whether that person is a stranger or a person well known to the actor. He believes that the ritual presents good luck to him throughout the month. The actor got learnt this ritual from his grandmother (Patri n.d).
British actress Audrey Hepburn is a famously superstitious star (Solomon 2012). Just like every actor or actress ensures that they make a fashion statement during award ceremonies, Hepburn asked Edith Head, the renowned studio costume designer, to design a dress that resembled the dress she wore in the film (Solomon 2012). She won the Best Actress award at the ceremony. After this great feat, Hepburn attributed her winning to the ‘lucky dress’ (Solomon 2012). Like in the case of Hepburn, superstitious beliefs can appear to be harmless; however, in some cases, they can lead someone to making an irrational decision such as the lucky charm behaviour instead of preparing for a test or a challenge.
Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington, an English actor and producer engages in some weird rituals before going on stage. The actor revealed that before going on stage, he kisses certain things; he also kisses the floor three times, he eats Haribo sweets, and pats a seat under the stage saying ‘good luck Tom’ (Robinson 2016). Harington engages in these and other rituals that he develops often so to attract luck while on stage.
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Actors in film, theatre and other forms of entertainment and the industry at large are inherently superstitious. Like has been observed, individual actors have personal beliefs about issues such as good luck and bad luck. Superstition in the entertainment industry also is a widespread phenomenon having become an accepted feature among major actors and actresses. For many in the industry, success cannot be reached by being an outstanding actor and preparing adequately alone; superstitious practices and beliefs are part of what contributes to success in this industry. As has emerged from the discussion, the superstitious beliefs and behaviours of actors and actresses in film, theatre and other forms of entertainment revolves around ‘lucky behaviours’, ‘lucky items’, and ‘bad luck / good luck beliefs.’ Actors and actress harbour good luck and bad luck beliefs when going to act either in the theatre of film or television and when they have been nominated for awards or when attending awards. Rituals and good luck charms are a result of (or are driven by) the desire to gain more control and achieve certainty. The pressure to succeed as an actor, challenging roles and winning awards, irrespective of an actor’s preparation tend to spur superstitious thoughts in many of them. Being superstitious is almost unavoidable in the entertainment industry because actors often find themselves in situations where things substantially important are about to happen. Though the actors and actresses may have adequately prepared for their performances, what is ahead of them is still unclear and uncertain. Superstitions thus provide actors with a sense that they have done something extra in an attempt to ensure that they achieve the outcome they desperately hope for.
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