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?
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!