Harry Potter

Adulthood... one year in!

As my first year of being 30 comes to an end, I thought I'd reflect upon my first step into real adulthood. Was it any different? Did I grow? Progress? Learn anything? Does my future look bright? Is it orange?

You could say this has been an interesting year. I spent the first few months in LA, truly living in a bit of a bubble. The experience was the best of my life and it changed me incessantly. I came back, changed my job (well got a real job sort of), not before spending two weeks working in a hair salon with the most camp, most flamboyant Evisu jean wearing, receptionist, who told me the salon was not a 'top knot' friendly salon and then proceeded to do impressions of willy hungry men he had met at old school garage raves.

That particular job nearly sucked my soul and starved me of my top knot love, so I began working in a bar that consisted of two customers a day and a pair of the most small minded, ignorant men that said such eye opening statements... 'what's the point of chasing your dream, get a job, buy a house and do what we all do' followed by the other insightful mentions that 'the media is not to blame for (women's) insecurities with their body image, but we ourselves (women) are in fact our own worst enemies, we are a conniving,  competitive species hell bent on being the brightest flower with the brightest petals so we can win the muscle, to procreate, thus causing our own demise into eating disorders and the like'

Luckily the place went into liquidation before I bread crumbed someone's penis and dipped it into a boiling pot of old, dirty oil.

By this point half the year had gone by. I was half way through my first year of "the year that was going to be my year" I'd told my agent not to put me up for any acting jobs because truly, I didn't know what I wanted any more. I didn't know who I was without acting and I didn't know if I could survive without the possibility that life could just change dramatically, or if I'd survive without thinking I was on the path I'd always thought I was meant to be on.

When you come back from the land of opportunity you feel full of hope and enthusiasm. You then spend two months with irrational 'top knot phobe' men or guys with no more than one brain cell between them and the enthusiastic, excitement dies down and you coast for a little while figuring what next.

What next?

I'm a good coaster. I've been good at waiting for life to happen, for something to change without me doing much to steer it in another direction. Hence the trip to LA to try and shock me out of my comfort zone. But it's not long before your patterns catch up with you and you're at home tired from a days work watching an episode of First Dates, scrolling through Instagram replaying those words that shook things up in the first place.

Stop dreaming, start doing.

None of the above sounds very exciting. It's not the stuff IG filtered squares are made of. It's not the life I imagined when I balled my eyes out to my mum aged 24 telling her that I just knew, I was going to be a successful actress, I just knew it in my bones.

It's not that I stopped believing it, I just feel like I stopped wanting it. Or was that a figment is my imagination protecting me from the real thought, that maybe I didn't believe it was possible at all?

People talk about having a mid life crises. That you get to middle age and you start questioning what it was all about, the decisions you made, were they the right ones and should you have done it differently? Maybe our generation have these moments earlier. Because we are adorned with option after option. We see lives that look appealing to live, daily, and we heart it, comment on it, repost it, tag it... the whole world has been made 'obtainable' our dreams have been made acheivable, because our thumb brushes over it scrolling through what our lives could be like if we just... sort of... cropped and filtered it slightly.

I've been contemplating buying a Red Ferrari or starting flamenco classes and then you get reminded of what a horrendous state the world is in, and how humanity can burst your egotistical bubble and you ask yourself the question.

Am I living the life I want to? Am I doing all of the things I want to be doing? Would I be happy if this was all I ever did or all I ever was? Was who I was enough? And what does success really mean?I have a beautifully, lovely life, with lovely friends and a wonderful family. I am grateful beyond belief. What I do for a living, isn't who I am and I can accept that I can live in the moment and stop wanting or needing more (sun/money/plans/gap in between my thighs)

What is it that we are all chasing and wanting and needing? What is success and happiness and do they interconnect?

The Metro did an article on "Where are they now?" (Stars of Harry potter) and they had taken from my blog, that I had given up acting and become a personal trainer. My ego went into over drive. Hearing someone say out loud that I had given up on my dream, hit a nerve so deep that I felt numb. I didnt want to be that person. Even if I wasn't sure if it was my dream or not, I didnt want to be the one that had given up on her dreams. Its those people that never make it. All you have to do is just hang on in there.

Right?

A few months ago, prior to the article, I had gotten myself a new agent. One that I liked, one that was good, one that I wasn't scared to call and a new chapter begun. All the whilst gaining a growing client base of PT clients and finding my feet with what I really want to do with my life, in my life, for my life.

Some people may say I have too many fingers in too many pies (as a client liked to point out) "Oooo you want to do a lot don't you?" And for a slight moment I felt ashamed. How dare I. How silly of me to be so obnoxious to want to do more than one thing, or to attempt to try more than what is to be considered the norm. How ridiculous to think that I would try and take on all of the things I want to tackle.

What an obscene, absurd idea.

Turns out, after a realisation face plants you out of nowhere and old age (alright I'm not that old) makes you reassess what it is you really want, you come to the conclusion that perhaps you want it all. That maybe you want to be your own boss, you want to write a book, you want to facilitate young women workshops on self love and confidence, you want to train clients, and share the journey with other people and hopefully relate to their own, you want to help encourage healthier choices and write a fitness programme that will help get them their fitness goals, and more than anything I want it to be OK that I don't know how the hell I'm going to get there, that I am shit scared, cacking my pants; that it might not all turn out, in anyway that I may hope. Sometimes I have bad days and question my journey and other days I feel like Beyonce. I am fearful and vulnerable and we ask ourselves the question, are we progressing? At the right speed in the right direction? Can I trust the process, the path, the journey Im on. Will I survive it? Embrace it? Be, all, in it. Because what if I fail and suck at all the things I want to try. What if I try and none of them amount to 'success' whatever that success looks like on paper? And if not apparent in bright bold ink... what if I don't end up just plain and simply, happy? What if I don't doubletap a huge bright red heart on my own life feed, because I was too busy double tapping other peoples.

So as I reflect upon my adulthood as if I have all the time in the world and yet none at all, I take a deep breath and swallow the same fears I always had, accept now I'm not afraid to say them out loud, I'm not ashamed to say, I'm not sure if I will get all of the things I would like, but I am very, very up for trying.

30 days until I am over 31... lets go.

Harry Potter and the Douche bag in the bar...

My awkward face as the douche bag has his funny banter...

My awkward face as the douche bag has his funny banter...

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.

Any progress part two...

In acting class the other week we were asked to write a letter to whomever or whatever has held us back from being the actors or humans we want to be... And if you know me, you know I would relish in this... I love a philosophical, deep, over analysed chat (or blog) So I am 'Showing up', as Brene Brown would say. Writing the letter, publicly.

By the way, I have insecurities... ones I have from my Mum, Some from my Dad. Some from school and my friends and my teachers and my enemies and the people that don't like my pics on insta or the stranger that laughs at my hat... I once read an interview with Kate Winslet, when a reporter asked her what her biggest insecurities were and her reply was 'I'm not going to tell you that, because then people will notice them, when perhaps right now, no one else does' She has a point... but I find myself doing the opposite. I have spent years pointing out my insecurities like Eminem does in the last scene of '8 Mile' when he addresses good ol 'Clarence'...

It's armour. And as Caitlin Moran says 'You cannot dance in armour'

In Brene Browns book, the power of Vulnerability, she talks openly about a society in which we live in now, where to have an 'ordinary' life seems quite frankly too 'ordinary' That we are now so accustomed to chasing an extraordinary life. That perhaps our lives are not 'extraordinary', unless we are posting it on Instagram, letting the world know (via a square picture) that we are 'drinking a glass of champers on a rooftop'. Where we don't put in the caption #ispentmylast10bucksonthis

What she says holds true... I don't want an ordinary life. Nor do I think I should have to if that is not what I want. But my perception of 'extraordinary' has changed. Extraordinary being that I have time to do the things I love. That I can do anything and everything I want to do, because, why the hell not.

When I was eight I wanted to do what Bette Middler did to me when I watched her in Beaches. I wanted to tell stories like she did.

When I was seventeen, after a lucky break in Harry Potter I decided I wanted to own a house like J lo and buy lots of things, If I am honest, I think I wanted to be famous.

When I was twenty one, after a year of being out of work, and reassessing, I decided fame was hideous and I decided I wanted to be a real actress and book a massive job so that I could pay my mums mortgage and for her teeth to done. I wanted to have it easy. I wanted to do a few acting jobs here and there, not be in debt. Holiday. Drink cocktails. (I secretly still wanted to be a well known actress)

When I was twenty seven I wanted to just book a job, any bloody job, one job, just give me one freaking job where I can act, so I could call myself an actress. I wanted to tell my family I booked something, I wanted to feel justified in the sacrifices I made, to not having moved on in the last ten years. Most of all, I wanted my agent to praise me, have belief in me. I wanted to feel that he would push me because he knew I had it in me, whatever 'it' was... I wanted him to validate me I suppose.

He didn't.

After booking a life changing job, and then losing it, and ultimately losing any confidence I had left, that agent lost confidence in me and dropped me. Which, for the non actors reading, is an actors worst nightmare. To be agentless. What the eff was I gonna do? Stalk Nina Gold, send flowers to Des Hamilton? Having an agent, made you feel like you were a part of the business. You felt like there was hope and possibility. Without any of the above... I felt helpless.

I am now thirty. In case you hadn't quite caught on. I'm THIRTY. I'M MEANT TO BE A GROWN UP!  And all of the wants I have for success in the business, the want to tell stories and make people feel like Bette Middler did for me aged eight, it's still there, but it's never been more apparent to me, that the whole reason acting was fun, is furthest from where I am at in reality. I am, as you may have guessed from the last post... frustrated, and bored and honestly, completely underwhelmed at the whole dam acting malarkey. I am peed off at myself for putting a lot of eggs, if not all, into one small little basket. I am also at the dumbfounded conclusion, that I in fact, believed that (the industry) would fill a void. That booking a job would make me feel whole, and would perhaps, validate me.

It didn't.

There is that bit inside of me that beats myself up, that doubts and questions and has me fearing the worst. The bit inside me that used to be jealous (believing I was not capable also), or envious (that I was capable, and I wanted it too)  'HEY WHY NOT ME, WHY NOT PICK ME FOR THAT TV SHOW'?) That bit that hates having no control, or little control.You hold your breath waiting, it's like you slightly don't begin your life because you think... well, when I'm working, then I will buy a house, get engaged, have babies. You (even though all the self help books tell you not to) somehow end up putting life on  hold. I believe I have made every effort to live, to enjoy the process, get on with my life... Because you grow used to the chase, the journey. You get accustomed to it. Accustomed to this being an actors lifestyle. You actually get stagnant from it. But the scariest thing for me is that you start to accept the no's, more than you expect the yes's.

I want to live my bloody life. Enjoy it. I want a lifestyle (and I don't mean cocktails at 10am on a rooftop... well...) I want a lifestyle that I have been told forever and ever in some form or other sub conscious or otherwise way, that I cannot have. Or that it's difficult to have or who do I think I am to have... 

Brene Brown talks about the gremlins of 'shame' that we all have. On one side there is that voice I have always had in regards to acting and anything I might do, which is 'Your not good enough, you are not a real actress, you got lucky before, you could NEVER do a Meryl' and that is always balanced out, when you talk those Gremlins down, when you ignore them and shut them up, with a good ol helping of '

Who do you think you are?

Who do you think you are to want a extraordinary life? Who do you think you are to think you can act, book a job, and spend time wanting and chasing something that truthfully (the Gremlins tell me) I don't deserve.' I have been tainted with feeling that anything I might think I can do, or I am good at, or is worth doing is perhaps too much, too selfish, too obtrusive, too arrogant, too undeserving, too obnoxious, too self righteous, too try hard, too sensitive, too defensive, too dramatic, too complicated, too extraordinary, too bloody everything...

I went to LA...I definitely spent too much. I bought a few too many cocktails. I Shouldn't have bought that skirt that I will only wear once or that foundation that only matches when I have a tan. I should have pestered casting directors and sat on Scorsese's door step. That time Spielberg walked past me I should have asked for a job making him chai tea with extra lean, no fat almond milk from those special golden almonds. I should have been more confident aged nineteen and believed in myself way more.  I should have not felt small, or made myself smaller. I shouldn't have acted irrationally when I didn't book a job. I should have been kinder, nicer, funnier. More assertive, less aggressive. I shouldn't have sat around doing nothing. Those book ideas I should have written them. Script ideas I should have filmed them. That money.  I should have saved it. Jeremy kyle? How did I waste so many days, months watching it? There are so many shoulda, woulda, couldas in this industry, for the acting job, for the career I wanted.

Someone said to me... don't go to LA if it's an excuse to give it up, if nothing happens. She was right. It is easy to do that. Because god forbid you had a bit of 'extraordinary' God forbid the world saw you trying and it didn't pan out the way they thought it might. But what if it was to discover all of these fears and put them out there so perhaps they are no longer scary any more. 

It's good to finally say out loud I don't think I want acting enough.

I have realised the real reasons why I do want it and have discovered it is definitely OK to not just want it for the love of the bloody craft (

For that I can put on a show every week with my friends and perform it to my Mum and Nan. So I guess this letter is to the fear that I wasn't good enough and to the thoughts that always crept in when I thought that I was!!!