The TRUE Artist

As I get older, the little girl that was so certain of fame, glitz and glamour in her future, slips away. Instead the harsh realties of pursuing a rarely achieved dream hits me right in the face.

The first hit felt like it came from an angry fish wife who had used a rather large, wet and slimy haddock. I was in my early twenties, and had been to see a friend’s show in a small ‘fringe’ venue in Leicester Square. There wasn’t an empty seat in the house that evening, nor a miserable face. The play was about Peter Cooke and Dudley Moore. The gentlemen I knew playing the multiple roles were excellent. Their interpretations of these men uncanny. I was absolutely baffled as to why these two incredibly talented, well educated and delightful men, were not more recognized within the entertainment business having been cracking away at it for a couple of decades. It frightened me. I wanted (and still hope to) achieve so much within my life time.

Having several disastrous relationships and never laying solid foundations anywhere (due to my chosen career path- not me being a gypsy or a psycho), I decided to visit the tip with two car loads of belongings, pack in a flexible and financially beneficial job (of being a fitting model for many lingerie companies), kiss my dear friends and family goodbye, and move to New York . (in hopes of there being truth in what Frank Sinatra and Alicia Keys sang about).

SMACK! Hit 2! This gladiator wasn’t ready. During my once a year christmas visits back to my mother land, I would catch up with my fabulous and talented friends. They would tell me tales over a glass of red, detailing how they were still ‘plodding’ along, balancing several jobs (anything from office temping to front of house to bar work to being Father Christmas at Harrods) and occasionally getting a bit of tele here and there. I was sympathetic. And facing the brutish reality of it personally. Having been unable to fulfill a role on a Broadway stage due to visa crap, I was surviving by working for a Romanian man in his basement making sandwich labels, sorting people into Hogwarts Houses and instead of modeling underwear, I was folding knickers come 4am after the hell that is semi-annual. But there was something in me that knew, just like my friends, I was NOT going to surrender and give up.

After four years of living a ‘parallel’ life to that of London, I began to discover that life has it’s own timing.

I can remember reading an article about Jesse Wallace of Kat Slater/Eastender’s fame and how she had just ‘made it big’ aged 28 after years of working in a bar.  Being a teenager at the time I was mortified and stated; the world would know me by the time I had reached 23. Well… having worked consistently in big commercials, low budget sitcoms, many tours and theatre productions, I can safely say only a small percentage of the world know my name – presently (as far as I am aware).

Aged 20 this would have devastated me had I time travelled with the Doctor into my present day and life. I had dreams of being the next Diana Dors. But at the age I am now, I can truly say I am still as content as I was  when chasing the dream as that 5 year old singing along to Madonna’s ‘True Blue’ album and Grease 2.

When walking around the V&A with my dear friend Jimmy he pointed at a valuable piece of history and made a comparison to Star Wars. He then apologized and said he often did this. I told him I knew, and not to worry, after all I compare my career goals to fantasy films scenarios.

Being an actress you are often asked these two questions;

1; Have you always wanted to be an actress?

My response is yes, apart from the phase when I wanted to be a WWE Wrestler.

2; Why do you want to be an actress?

Hmm… tricky. 

After dealing and coping with all the true realities and hardships on the path of success, I realized I DIDN’T want to be an actress. I think it’s a curse. It’s a destiny. I just know I have to fulfill. I am doing it. Nobody can stop me. I will get my big break.

I compare it to Gandalf and Frodo. Being a true actress or an artist of any form, is something bestowed upon you by magic. I truly feel like Frodo. On a mission. With no bloody idea why I have to take this ring, given to me by a tall bearded wizard and chuck it in to the fiery pits of Mordor.  You have no control but you just have to do it. For the good of hobbits everywhere.

If only I could flog this metaphorical ring and have an abundance of wealth so I can produce my own movie with everyone I love in it.

I do not know how long it will take me to reach Mordor anymore.  Having encountered all kinds of mythical beings and having many unbelievable adventures. I know I am likely to get wary and stray from my task of dropping off the ring. I am going to want to get married (not to Gollum) and have a family (not hairy footed babies) in the not so distant future. So my precious break may be stalled. But that ring will become molten gold once again.

And thus I understand what a TRUE artist is. It is one of those people you know with talent. With dreams. Who utilizes those dreams and manifests them into making others happy.  For as long as they breathe.

And yes sometimes life gets in the way. Sometimes you take a break to recharge your batteries. Perhaps you take half a century out to experience other opportunities life has to offer such as raising a family. Maybe you hoped to be on prime time TV and now use your talents to make and decorate cakes. You are still an artist if you believe it will happen for you one day, your big break whatever that may be personally for you. Just have patience. With patience and dedication comes respect and reward.

To conclude; a true artist is born an artist and dies an artist. Do not forget this my wonderfully talented friends. If you feel like giving up remember; GOONIES NEVER SAY DIE!

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B.R.I.E

B.R.I.E

B.R.I.E. I am naming this blog after my old love. Cheese. Truth be told, even if this blog may seem cheesy it isn’t about cheese at all. Rather, having a clearer understanding of things.

You see B.R.I.E stands for ‘Bringing rationality back into the equation’.

This was a phrase given to me by a dear friend of mine, Ms. Anita, at lunch one day at the Organic Kitchen in the Village. Between mouthfuls of steamed vegetables we did what most women like to do; discuss how we would abolish any form of corruption within society and the lack of evolution in some human beings. Now you can’t discuss these matters without mentioning ‘the crazies’.

This topic came about as we asked ourselves, why as of yet we hadn’t settled down to play a round of ‘marriage bliss’ or ‘it’s your turn to change the baby’s nappy’? We were both intelligent, driven women of wit. Not to mention foxy ladies. But we both new the answer. We would never settle.

Ms. A had found love but another love had found him first. And he was never willing to take the ultimate plunge for her. As for me, I had found it back in London but often felt it could be unrequited and had given up crying tears of ‘what if’s’.

If Ms. A and I wanted to settle then it would be easy. Anyone can ‘shack‘ up with another person and convince themselves it’s love. Take Ms. A’s neighbour for example- the wealthy divorcee. Her story goes something like this; one day having met with a client Ms. A returned to her apartment building. Upon exiting the elevator she saw what appeared to be a homeless man in the hallway. Now this was an uncommon occurrence given she lived in a manned building. She hurried into her apartment to phone security and put her mind at ease. A few days later the same incident took place. It wasn’t until one day she arrived home, exited her elevator to see her neighbour (the wealthy divorcee) locking lips with this homeless man.

Here is where I bring rationality back into the equation. If Ms. A or I wanted to settle and give up all hopes of true love, we could just go and invite a man, down on his luck, round for a cup of tea and a cheeky hob nob. As much as I enjoy a good dunking of a mcvitie’s into a nice warmer than warm cup of tea, I am holding out for true love. I want a man who is willing to spend all day staring at a spoon in an attempt to make it bend, if it means making me happy on a rainy day. He doesn’t have to have material wealth or be Ryan Lochte’s identical twin, but just know how to make me laugh. And promise to do this for the rest of our days. This is what I want. This is my rationality. And I am not settling.

Another day where this phrase came to mind was when I was dining the opposite side of the village at Anjelika’s Kitchen. In spite of lacking in decor and having a rather interesting clientele, it’s by far home to the best vegan cuisine in the metropolis. My friend S and I were famished after gallivanting around the city, so sure enough tucked into a hearty meal. Half way through the meal a middle aged woman and her husband sat next to us. For the remainder of my main course I had to endure this woman’s nasal Brooklyn tones exclaim ‘Oh my god. I don’t know what to eat. I had some sun chips today. Oh god. Would you look at that. Oh god’. I eventually managed to tune her out and continue to enjoy catching up with one of my best friends. Until dessert came.

S and I had decided to share a tiny- all organic-gluten free- naturally sweetened- blueberry cobbler. Once it arrived the woman became even louder, apparently intrigued by our dessert.

‘OH MY GOD. WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT. WHAT IS THAT? I WONDER IF IT’S GOOD. OH MY GOD’.

S and I made eye contact thinking the exact same thing (why doesn’t she lean in and ask us politely if it is as scrumptious as it looks?) but we continued to be polite feigning ignorance.

The waitress approached the woman asking if there was anything else her or her husband wanted.

‘I WANT TO KNOW WHAT THEY HAD’. Said the woman.

The waitress informed her about the cobbler. She also losing patience with the woman taking the good lord’s name in vain too often, told her to ask us if we enjoyed it. ‘WAS IT GOOD?’ The woman sneered. S and I sang the high praises of the sweet and stood up to gather our belongings. ‘OH I DON’T KNOW. OH MY GOD. I DON’T KNOW’. The woman continued.

Me being engulfed in fuchsia pink clothing and accessories, with my big blonde hair demanded a lot of attention in this particular establishment where the ‘it’ colour was khaki, and I had nearly reached breaking point with the nasality and rudeness of this woman’s voice. I took a deep breath and kindly said; ‘If you share the dessert between the two of you, I bet it would only be around 100 calories.’

‘THAT IS NOT 100 CALORIES’ she shouted at me.

The tone in her voice struck my last nerve.

I stood up straight, pink and blonde, I smiled sweetly, and with my estuary english mother tongue I shouted; ‘You could get it, you could eat it and NOT GIVE A SHIT AND ENJOY YOUR LIFE!’.

I turned to the waitress thanked her for a lovely meal and sauntered out of the restaurant.

Now bringing rationality back into the equation. Here was a woman, who clearly was in a position to eat out whenever she wanted to, she had a husband who sat doting on her, and there she was. Stressing about every morsel that entered her body. Where was her rationality? Some people don’t have the luxury to go out and enjoy a $10 cobbler the size of a human eye ball. Don’t go out to dinner if you are worried about eating something other than sun chips (which by the way probably have less nutritional value that the cobbler). Also now I never see myself becoming one of those women that ‘let themselves go’, but blow my brains out with a pistol if you think that when in my 50’s I will torment myself and all within ear shot over a bit of bloody dessert.

In conclusion; don’t leave your house without bringing your rationality into the big world with you. You never know when you may need it for an equation.

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69th and Sex?

Unashamedly, I subscribe to a number of ‘women’s’ magazines. Mainly for the fashion and beauty pages, but I get my moneys worth and read the sex advice columns. Recently one of these mags has a ’50 shades of grey’, every woman’s fantasy, to be continued in the next issue- story, titled ’69th & Lex’. It’s pretty unimaginative. Young, female professional having it off with her neighbour who is tall, dark and ripped, not to mention filthy rich. The thing is, it’s written to make you believe this is a real life story. Now I am not saying you can’t have passionate and steamy sex with your hot neighbour (nor am I admitting anything…) but I did happen to learn what truly goes on, on 69th Street and Lexington Avenue.

Last Friday I went to work on 72nd street and 1st Avenue. Being on a break from my tour I am staying with friends. And being a girls girl I have a lot of baggage with me whilst on the move. Therefore I enlisted help from my friend J who was also kind enough to offer me a place to stay for a week. At 10:30pm being completely chivalrous and my white knight, J met me from work to carry my bags back to Brooklyn. We hadn’t seen each other for a while and had heaps to catch up on but the first thing he told me was about this amazing experience he had on his way to meet me.

As he was walking east on 69th street and towards Lexington Avenue he saw an elderly man on his stoop calling for help. Being the gentleman he is, J rushed over to see what the issue was. The man spoke little English but managed to say ‘Please. I need help. Lights. Come inside. Come inside’. After a second of hesitation and tuning into his gut instinct, J followed the man inside.

The house was huge with tall ceilings and a 1920’s decor. Inside the house were more people, an old woman smiling saying ‘please, please, lights’. J continued to follow the man from the stoop through the cluttered house. He passed room after room, and more people bowing their heads in acknowledgement. The man stopped and pointed to a hatch in the wall. Soon J realised what was happening. These people were Jewish and observing the Sabbath (Shabbat). They needed J to turn off the lights.

After the task was done they thanked J by offering him some ‘Challah’ bread in return for being their ‘Shabbos Goy’ of the night. Being gluten free J politely declined and continued on his journey to do his next good deed for the evening; meeting me.

In spite of being slightly disappointed to have turned down the Challah bread (after all it makes the best french toast!), J felt happy to have been a part of this ritual and to have experienced somebody else’s culture. I too was happy he ‘enlightened’ me with his tale.

In conclusion, the only sparks happening on a regular basis at 69th and Lex, are those of electricity. From a tradition allowing you to reflect on your day.

Oo-Ah…SRIRACHA!!!

Ever suffered with food poisoning? I unfortunately have.

3 years ago, having left the Shire (like any curious hobbit), I found myself a long way from the freshly hand-picked strawberries of Durleigh Marsh farm, and somewhere in a Spanish Harlem premises that claimed to be a grocery provider for people. The fact that dogs were allowed inside, but choosing to tie themselves up to the lamppost outside should have been a warning sign. However being new to the metropolis they ironically call the Apple, and knowing nobody, I was unaware of any clean and sanitary grocery stores such as Wholefoods and Trader Joes. I therefore thought this particular establishment was my only means to eat apart from the falafel selling street vendors that boast of being kosher.

Dirty? this establishment was. Expensive? this establishment wasn’t.

I could hardly believe my luck when I was picking up slabs of steak the size of Kim Kardashian’s left buttock for $1.63.

Having grabbed myself some onions and tomatoes to grill with the meat, that night I feasted as if I were having supper with King Henry VIII.

The next morning I had the worst stomach pains.

I decided to do some research into how meat was manufactured and soon discovered I hadn’t feasted on a cow, but chemicals and genetically modified hormones. I was disgusted.

This incident and working for a crazed Dr Oz fan lead me to become vegan. Since being vegan I have felt super healthy internally. For the past few years, I can boast superior health over my relatives that are constantly riddled with some cold or virus. Little did I know, that in spite of cutting out all animal products I could still contract Salmonella poisoning. And this I just did.

From what you may ask?

Blooming Peanut Butter! The good for you, an organic brand-no crap added kind.

I could not believe it! I LOVE PEANUT BUTTER. I could eat a jar with a spoon in one sitting (if I had a boyfriend that loved me no matter how fat I was) I loved it that much. I mean when you give up your insane love of cheese you need to replace it, just like you do a family pet once they leave this planet. So my cheese became peanut butter. Now having been that ill from the stuff I am unsure if I will ever indulge in the same way again. I mean I was sick as a parrot (I lost the rosiness of my hobbit exterior and became Gollum).

5 days after ‘cleansing’ my insides the way mother nature intended you to, I was hungry. And keen to strut my figure- being the  lightest I have ever weighed in my adult life. I went for dinner at one of my favourite Vegan haunts. I sensibly ordered the ‘peace bowl’ which was a choice of 3 veggies with brown rice. I stupidly covered them in SRIRACHA.

This brings me to the end of this tale and to share with you the valuable lesson I learned.

WAIT A FEW WEEKS BEFORE INGESTING SPICY FOOD AFTER SUFFERING WITH FOOD POISONING.

Spare yourself the agony.

 

THE END.