So, when you're lucky enough to say you were in a major movie franchise; that you got to be on the the cover of Vanity Fair aged sixteen and you had lunch with the likes of Daniel Radcliffe and Alan Rickman. The fact that you were directed by the same guy that directed Robin Williams and another who went on to win an Oscar for Gravity; you partied with the guy that played Willow for Christ sake and you even got to have a scene with Kenneth Branagh... you look back and kick yourself that you took it all for granted. That history was made, you were a part of it and you never really cottoned on.
I never really understood the magnitude of being part of such a massive movie. It was my first propper role, but I dint get to do too much. I flew on a broomstick a lot, sat in the great hall even more and then twiddled my thumbs in a trailer even more. I was fifteen when I got the part of Angelina Johnson by doing cart wheel sand rolly polleys in the audition. Chris Columbus pointed at a few of us and said... 'You're my Quidditch team' I'd never read Harry Potter and I had no idea what that meant and that it was going to be what it ended up being. Even after I had finished filming the third film I had no idea it was what it was.
When I look back, I wonder how different things would be if I had been able to do the forth film. There were rumours (when I say rumours I mean one forum on IMDB) floating about that I had been sacked. For looking too young, looking too short, getting too old to continue playing Angelina. It would be far more interesting to say I had been fired for throwing a TV out of the window of the Marriot hotel where we stayed on location. But as it turned out, I was offered the forth film whilst I was shooting a kids TV series, The Mysti show. It clashed, and that was that. They replaced me with Chelsea from eastenders and the rest is history.
You do not anticipate, after being part of such a popular film, the lovely comments you get when people find out you were in it. The fan mail that you receive, the doors it opened in terms of auditions, the things people ask you to sign (an orange) and the questions people ask time and time again. How much did you get paid? Was Daniel nice? Did you have any lines?
And you stand in a bar that you currently work in to pay the rent, whilst you still go after your goals, whilst you continue to dream big, and someone says 'Oh wow you were in Harry Potter... acting went well then?' and they laugh at their funny funny banter. They are funny. So very funny. Of course. They have just said something that noone has ever said before, that is so terribly, did I mention, funny.
You stand grinning a massive grin. You make an even funnier joke back about spending all of your money on Star Wars memorabilia and jumpers for your pet snake(I did not) and you walk away slightly off kilter. They can't understand? Why you couldn't retire after three films or why you aren't stroking your tiger (insert rude joke here) whilst bathing in a bath of hundred dollar bills. They can't understand why you are working in a bar! You can't understand how you are either. It's not that you object to hard work, or boring work (well, OK, you sort of do) but you do what you have to do, but there is something that jabs at your ego, because of course you wish it had lead to more movies, more TV shows, more boxes ticked.
So when I get home, feeling uneasy and get into my onesie and into bed, I expect that I get that massive, tight lump in my throat. The one that feels like a golf ball and I let my face screw up like a cats bum hole and cry deep, hard tears. You let yourself because it's OK to admit that you don't want that to be your claim to fame, your one chance at a break. It's OK to admit that you are shitting yourself that all the dreams you have, be it acting or writing, or being a Spice Girl, won't come true. It's OK to wonder, what if the universe isn't on your side? What if things don't go in your favour? What if you don't progress, learn, inspire, grow? I have that moment of doubt. Am I meant to dream big? What if you dream big and nothing happens except life passes you by and you have spent all of your time dreaming big and you miss it completely? Should I just change my path in favour of a nine to five and a good pay cheque every month? What am I meant to do? You're allowed to have a moment and ask all of these questions because you're human. So after I share all these fears with the one person that gets it and knows me, I blow my nose (a few times) take deep breaths and then snuggle in bed and sleep.
The next morning when listening to some answers from an interview I did with Becky Walsh. (Someone who helped me get over my fear and just get on with the things I wanted to do) I asked her if she had always dreamed big. She said she ended up choosing logical, practical paths rather than always dreaming bigger. She then mentioned how she used to live with Simpon Pegg and Nick Frost and how Simon always talked about the fact that he would write a sit-com one day and put Nick Frost in it. Becky said she always had a slight doubt. 'Would it really happen?' She mentions how years later she was at the bus stop and a bus rode past with Simon and Nicks massive faces on it advertising 'Paul.' She says it was and still is the biggest reminder to 'dream big' always.
I am inclined to believe that working in a bar, aged thirty, isn't a sign of stepping back, but of the fact that you're still hanging on in there, chipping away, taking small steps at a time. Following goals that aren't the mainstream, means that it might take a little longer. It's OK that your working a Wednesday night and want to shove a fork in the customers nostrils.
If nothing else you can say that age sixteen you got to fly on a broomstick in the Gryffindor team and be a part of something so surreal that you have to pinch yourself (or check your IMDB) to make sure it really did happen.
Why not you? Why not you to live the life you always imagined.