Actor a certain way
I was a hungry bitch when I decided I’m going to take the acting world by storm. For me, acting was never a passion and the more I got in to it the more I realised that I was a figure skater in a call centre. It wasn’t my bag. However, notoriety was indeed attractive to me. That’s how I got in to it.
I was in Manchester messing about in Albert Square when Lesley, a beyond beautiful older woman approached me. My 14 year old self even recognised that this woman was epic!! She had grey hair but it was styled perfectly and she was so tall and looked like she had been carved out of marble. She ran MMA (Manchester modelling agency) and she wanted to see me. I was of course totally into it. At that point in my life I could barely put one foot in front of another, never mind make friends. I already knew that I had to keep my head down so they didn’t see the strong limp wrist in me (I got over it and now limp wrist it with vigour). That’s where my unhealthy obsession with being appreciated came from. I think that if I hadn’t been going through a “never been kissed” movie life I wouldn’t have cared. I did care and I liked it! Some Wonder Woman wanted me! I met up with the agency in secret because I was embarrassed of the performance of it all and people thinking it was “gay”. So I had meetings, test shoots and castings solo. I did it all alone.
So I shot with an electric skate board for some catalogue and a portable radio for an Aldi catalogue haha! It was fun and also secret money as a teenager was fun. I only wish it happened when I needed to buy the spice girls photos (few years earlier) and couldn’t but fate obviously meant I was never supposed to collect the whole collection (quickly runs to eBay to get the shot of posh on the toilet).
My catalogue modelling experience was sparse. I only told my amazing art teacher form tutor about my burgeoning career (in secret). I loved knowing that I was a silent bore at school but doing shoots. It gave me purpose at a difficult time and I’m still in to that concept till this day. It helped me, being appreciated in a professional world meant that when I was begging everyone else to love me it didn’t matter that they didn’t because I had a “career” (insert comical emoji).
I then started to audition as an actor. All the best and most deep drama the United Kingdom had to offer. You know the deep children’s television we have and Hollyoaks (more comical emojis). For a couple of years my need for it grew, it grew because I didn’t have anything else. No one wanted to hold my hand, no one saw my feelings and talents because I was growing up and hiding pretty much everything.
I went on to audition and audition. I grew taller quickly and got a jaw and the auditions became more. I was offered commercials and roles but acting meant that I would be seen. My school was not fun and I refused to take these opportunities on because I didn’t want people to be cruel to me (god I’d sell any cleaning product for the cash now).
My agent moved to a bigger agency and took me with her, It was amazing! The office had all the polaroids up on the walls, mine being one of them. My folks were in on the situation by this point. I went in to it and practised walking because I had gotten taller. The office was all glass and open plan I loved the whole thing (this was way before the devil wears Prada and also in Manchester, we aren’t talking big, but it was big to me at that point).
I was in a surreal world that took me away from being sad and exposed me to a sexy adult, exciting world. How brilliant to get your “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” moment so young. I clung on to that recognition and how it made me feel special. I felt like shit most of the time, apart from when I thought how these people saw me. They said I was “one to watch” ect. I believed it.
I never got any good role when I was super young, I wasn’t brave enough to give it my all. I then did some youth theatre and did well for a boy who had never done a drama lesson (my school never did drama). I always got the best roles at this little theatre. I still thought it was a lot of stress for something so trivial. My ego loved it though.
(Insert the rest of the story, i need to get to the point)
My twenties were suddenly on me. My face had changed, I was thinner than ever and I did better things. This silly profession actually excited me. Why was that? I certainly still didn’t see it as a passion. I’m an ass hole artist (still am) and have always drawn, created, made and never asked anyone for help or opinions on doing so. In all honesty I had gone from it being silly to it meaning something. It meant I got attention and a feeling that I was special, I had not got that from my true passions at that point.
A little beast grew and I got a bit obsessed. I simply had to be something and if it was in this world than so be it. So I went to study it at 21 and was around students who hadn’t had agents ect. I was ahead of the game, way ahead. I learnt more about it and respected it less and less. I got in trouble for being silly and not being serious (I was on disciplinary twice). All the while I still laughed because I was constantly auditioning (badly).
I finished and had to work my normal jobs always. So my burgeoning “career” went along side working bloody hard. I eventually got a little further and did the whole London thing. Daft meetings with casting agents, trying to move agents ect. It made me feel special and then I met people who reminded me of who I actually was. It didn’t matter to me but the prospect of money still did. I had made a little by this point and been around people’s “process’” and thought that these people were taking the piss!! I was earning peanuts in my normal job then getting a chunk of cash for doing posh lying. Pfft ... to that! My head was over it. My addictive personality got used to the amazing buzz of running around London auditioning. It was high octane stress and buzz. That’s what I actually felt passionate about. It wasn’t good for my health at that point but I was hooked. I was buzzing from even the rejection. I arrived at such a “Oz” place I was completely yellow brick roading it towards Dorothy’s ultimate disappointment with the man himself. The end point sold was simply not there for me. If I got it it wouldn’t have been enough.
I had to be in casting rooms on lunch breaks covered in soil all the while being in the casting bracket alongside the Etonian boys. Sitting next to pristine boys that looked like me but cleaner and much more prepared than me. I’d get a script the night before, stay up to try and learn it then go to work at 7am run across London at 12pm sit with the gentry and then be judged for not being prepared. One director who auditioned me for a mediocre above a pub play was not nice. I was put through a poor mans “Devil Wears Prada” (another reference) take down and he was put through a “Bet Lynch” (Coranation Street) take down from me. It was a huge row, I was livid and lost my temper. I burst out of the audition room in to the silent but knowing waiting room packed full of posh boys that looked oddly similar to me. The fact that their faces were down and scared shone light on the fact that the difference between us was huge even though we all looked similar. They didn’t make eye contact with me as I left but their total hungry bliss was palpable. Inwardly they loved that I had fucked it up epically that I had fucked it up with shouting! How fabulous for them.
In the end my career ceased at the correct time. My agent quit and I was out in the none thespian cold. Initially I was angry but then the realisation of having to get my shit together kicked in. It was time to address things, I needed to address my health, my debt and my relationship with who I was. I’d lost something, I had lost that jovial mimicking of the industry. When my agent quit everything became clear, I realised and saw the wrong situations I’d been put in from being young. Questionable people and situations I wasn’t strong enough to deal with. I realised that being stripped of my clothes in a model agency and touched whilst an older male model agent asked me if I was naturally hairless was wrong. This wasn’t in a private room, this was in an open office. I was made to lie about my age and was once told not to act too intelligent before I went to a party. As soon as I was out of the fold I saw how damaging it had been.
To stand up and be powerful without being in that world was lessening initially. I eventually knew that I was who I was without buying in to believing that going to castings and telling people that I had been meant anything. It only meant that I had become a bit of a tosser.
Watching people’s careers carry on has been telling. Recognising that it’s about hustling, privilege, connections and bullshit and nothing about true talent allowed me to be free.
As an up and coming talent it’s easy to judge people who have to bow out to compromise and work so hard in a job they don’t like. Especially when most of today’s actors have never had to truly work. For me acting really isn’t work, it can be hard and stressful but not even close to the hard graft for something you don’t want to do. It’s not a popular opinion but it is an educated one.
An artist isn’t an actor for me. The artist is the initial creator after that it’s a vessel, a brilliant creative but not an artist. I was never an artist whilst being an actor NO WAY! When I performed in my own creations and characters I wasn’t the artist at all. It was a much lesser endeavour. The hard work and artistry was in creating the show, making it happen. Acting for me happened because I looked a certain way and the power that wielded. I don’t disrespect that, I actually think it’s amazing. Oscar Wilde said
“Beauty is the highest form of intelligence because it doesn’t need explanation”.
I totally agree with this. I believe in success being its own art form. Anna Nicole and Gemma Collins are artists to me. They made it happen without trying to peddle a forced talent. The need for adoration makes people find a talent not the other way round. Anna and Gemma knew/know they had something and refused to be judged for going for it.
Getting older and feeling the pull that youth used to have wither is difficult but telling. I had danced for pennies but now I have to dance for true synapse sparks. Dance for words and talent.
I’ve been planning producing my screenplay and meeting with actors. It has been stunning to watch my former self dance in front of me. That hunger for notoriety (aka fame) is frankly unattractive. It is truly unattractive in a person who isn’t honest about the fact they are in this for nothing but notoriety (I mean fame but that’s more pointed) and pretending it’s more. It’s fine to want that but only if you’re honest about it.
Playing ball in a field that i didn’t want to play in in the first place jolted me back in to why I’m actually good at what I’m good at and have always been good at. I’m unapologetic about my talents and always have been and always will be. Im so honest about what I’m crap at, you have to be if you’re selling what your great at. I’m blessed to have that confidence birthed from my head and not from my arse. My arse made me more money, gave me more recognition and fed my ego but didn’t give me what I have had since being a toddler. I’ve had my values instilled by me Dad. I had a recognition of my ideas early on and I lost my way because of notoriety for things that don’t matter.
Now I’m older and can play the game. To go back to it now would be much more interesting and I may do so (money is important). My casting bracket will have changed and I have more power now and less fucks to give. The best thing that happened to me was an agent that quit, I got over myself.
Thrown in to that realisation taught me how fake and ugly that “selling you grandma for it” mentality actually is. To be brilliant working in Greggs is more special to me than being allowed to dance for pennies because you’re either pretty or rich. I will confess that when I began to gain contacts my ‘talent’ was recognised more than my actual talent was. How sad that is. Through knowing someone ‘important’ I was seen by casting directors who didn’t care about me beings good only that I knew someone. Thay is wrong and telling.
As Gemma Collins states:
“I ain’t gonna apologies for it or nothing ...
Kiss my designer vagina”