Q: “What is the thing you haven’t done in your life yet, that you KNOW you will regret if you don’t try it)”
Back in the autumn of last year, a great pal of mine Olga aka Skinny Rich Coach, and I were chatting away in her elegant living room in the cosy confines of her South Ken apartment. She suddenly looked at me and asked a question so personal, that hit me so deep in my gut and in such an incredibly direct way, I literally felt the fear running through my body. Now to put it mildly, I was in a predicament, purely because Olga’s directness surpasses all connotations of directness in tone belonging to anyone you may have met. ‘Direct’ here might actually take on a new terminology, along the lines of EXPLOSIVE….
So, when Ms Skinny n Rich looks me in the eye and says, forget the blah blah Juliet, tell ito me straight. What is it that you have not done yet in this precious life that REALLY WOULD SCARE YOU AND YOU KNOW THAT YOU WILL REGRET IT IF YOU DONT DO IT
My response? Get onto a stage and in doing so, if I can get words out of my mouth that resemble something close to the script I have been given….I cant imagine the sensation and jubilation.
Woah – I still feel anxious and dry-mouthed just thinking of the over-whelming mind-blowing feeling of FEAR that was bubbling through my veins and blood supply.
That was 12 months ago.
By the end of last year, I had signed up to an intro to acting at the renowned Central School of Drama. I completed a six week intense course where we had to do some method acting , remember lines, morph into various characters and PERFORM, no less. The warm ups were genius. We had a reading list including the great Mr Stanislavsky. I was in my element. Homework and reading lists suddenly became addictive. The teachers were fantastic, I made good friends and for someone who has NEVER found herself on stage, including not even playing a sheep in a skool play, I only went and did it. I did it, I loved it, I felt the calling, the passion, the vibrancy. Yes, of course there was pre-stage fright and there were nauseous sentiments, but when the moment arrived and I had to deliver, it all went rather well. And I am the FIRST to self-critique, as all my closest allies know. There was even a moment where I had my Dad drop me off at ‘school’ while rehearsing my lines together!
If it wasnt for my uplifting, frightening, emotional confrontation with super skinny rich bitch, I believe this performance passion would have laid dormant. I felt awakened. And this werent no blinkin’ yoga retreat. And not a grain of quinoa anywhere close by.
Moving on to the spring, we’re still in the same year (!), I found myself on a screen acting course with the aim of getting a showreel. This course takes place over 7 Sundays in a row. They started at 2-ish, supposed to be around 3 hours, getting back about 8-ish, with the great, the awesome, the cor blimey guvnor scariest man i’ve met, Paul McNeilly – his 7 week screen acting course is a must-do for someone who needs a boost of the highest degree. By this I mean, getting out of your comfort zone, going full throttle and ACTING, putting yourself in a different place than you have ever known.
I had NEVER in all my days put myself infront of the camera. So much so that – bear in mind most of the students on the course were there just to get a show-reel – picture the following scene: they had ALL, every single one, been at drama school! I had not….I’d just been a PR chick for 12 years, talking the talk, donning the heals and getting a blowdry and the odd karoake show-off session. In fact as a school-girl, I was extremely shy. We filmed in cemeteries, pubs, kitchens in some of our flats, cafes, Highgate Woods, quiet streets in Farringdon, across the spectrum of sunny London life on Sundays in the early summer. And every single session, we were made to watch each other’s performances huddled around the Director’s laptop and pick each others performances to pieces. What dont you like about yourself. What is your worst trait. What do you think of your nose on screen? Hideous. First session? I moved so much out of camera when I was delivering my lines that I was hardly in the picture! Every time Paul said ‘Take’ I started at the wrong time, got it all out of sync and there were giggles. I was mortified and probably went purple. When I actually returned to class the second session, I was told by one girl, ‘oh hi, we thought we werent going to see you again’. That says it all.
Thank you Olga for making me feel the fear and do it anyway. Comfort zone, ciao ciao hasta la vista. Do it, get over the fear. What’s the worst that can happen? Having a giggle over the craziness of it all. When I performed a scene from Importance of Being Earnest in a pub in Essex Road infront of 30 people, I literally thought I was going to combust / pass out just before going on. I did it. Exhilarating moment!
Biggest dilemma currently? What to wear for the Oscar’s. Headshots done in Hackney the week of the London riots by MP Stills