So life as an Actor, most people think it is all glamour, parties and awards ceremonies / red carpet walking. Well it is anything but, I never wanted to go into the industry for the fame or notoriety, I wanted to go into the industry because I love to perform.
Life was tough in the real world for me, I was a fat kid who was bullied constantly, even by a teacher at school. I loved to read scripts and would regularly get a book of scripted word out of the library, then behind closed doors I would read or even sometimes perform the pieces I was reading, but this wasn’t enough for me.
I joined a local acting club for kids on a Saturday morning and there I started getting roles in theatre productions such as Annie, Bugsey Malone and Oliver to name a few. I loved nothing more than to get the costume on and step into the character. I loved it because it meant for a time I wasn’t me, I was someone who wasn’t getting bullied or beaten up.
Eventually I left that drama club and joined the Amanda McGlyyn Dance and Stage Academy, there I again performed in Bugsey Malone, I also landed myself on Byker Grove and did many other stage performances. I enjoyed my time here as I got to do everything, sing, dance and act. I even took exams in dance and a LAMDA acting exam.
At 18 years old I left acting behind me thinking it was time to “grow up” and get a “proper career”. So I went to study nursing, but my heart wasn’t in it and 2/3rds of the way through I left.
After having two beautiful rainbow babies, I went back to work for a company that facilitated children learning science in a crazy way so it stuck. Mad Science was to be home to me for a good few years. It was there that I met a guy called Andrew Hutt. He was an immense actor and we bounced off each other so well. Between him and my loving Husband they were trying to support me and get me to realise TV, Film or Stage was where I was meant to be, it was my destiny.
Tragically at the tender age of 29 Andrew lost his life suddenly due to an undetected hereditary heart condition. It was at his funeral I made the decision to go back to acting, but not just acting, I was going to get my degree so I could eventually teach it as well once I had gained experience to teach.
In 2008 whilst studying a BTEC in Musical Theatre at college, I was given the news that I had ME/CFS and told to consider quitting the course. I completed the course and went onto to study for my degree in acting. In 2011 I was diagnosed with the double whammy, not only did I have ME/CFS, but I also had Fibromyalgia. I was told there and then to give up my dream of becoming an Actor. This was further established when I had a back to work interview at the Job Centre and the interviewer said there was no point in putting me forward for work as no one would employ me with how my conditions affected me on a day to day basis and that they wouldn’t even bother calling me back in again for back to work interview’s.
Dejected and feeling totally useless I became depressed and the feeling of self worth and self esteem left me. After a period of nothing and feeling nothing, Josh, my husband reminded me that I could do it and I should do it.
I got back on my horse, so to speak and started to get myself back out there. I was ready for the hard work, long hours when you work, though a lot of those hours may and usually are just sat around on your bum waiting to be called to do your scene. You have lines to learn, I have had to pretty much retire from stage as I cannot remember lines as well as I used to due to Fibro fog. With Film and TV you get to read them between takes and you usually do several takes of the same scene so it is easier to learn and remember lines. I looked into Actors with my conditions and there are more than you’d expect, maybe it is because you can pick and chose work and when you’re not at your best you can recharge between scenes.
When you’re not on a project you are tirelessly auditioning for the next role. This is expensive, but worth it if you get that big role. Then there is constant training to improve your acting skills, but also other skills that add to what you can give to a performance, be that sword work, horse ridding or even something like knitting, yes I can knit and I have been asked to do it in a film once.
I still get a buzz from working on projects and even auditioning and recently I have had some fantastic audition opportunities. I still suffer with my conditions, but to look at me you’d be none the wiser as I hide them so well, some say I deserve an Oscar just for my day to day acting to hide my sometimes debilitating conditions.
My aim for the future is to get a role in a series like Vikings, Game of Thrones, The Last Kingdom, The Walking Dead, Emmerdale, or Coronation Street. To land a decent British film role and then to Hollywood to conquer the roles there. I regularly attend an Acting class that has made me realise even more now that I can do it and I can get to where I want to be and that I can get the roles I audition for. I dream big as that is the only way to keep pushing and striving on in this industry and not let my conditions beat me or define me.
One day I will get the Hollywood agent, the house my son needs and deserves for his needs and I will be happy with the life I’m living.