Dearest readers, It’s been a while. It’s been nearly four years to be precise. Four fun filled and fruitful years have past since I last shared my ‘fresh out of drama school’ whoops and woes with you all.
When I look back at my old musing and scribbles, I smile at my ever-hopeful glee and cringe at my cringiness. When you’re new to the business and things aren’t going exactly to plan, it’s very easy to feel lost when you’re serving your thousandth customer of the day or sat in a call centre booth with your head in your hands.
I once played the bitter out-of work-actress very well. I played her in said restaurants, call centers, soul destroying promo jobs and even dole queues.
Four years later, I feel like the leading lady.
My main frustration used to be that I wasn’t getting the opportunities for people to see my potential. But what changed me was realizing my true potential. Call me the cliche queen for that line if you like, but the change really did make a difference to the path I chose to take. Ok, I’ll give you ‘the path I chose to take’ as another hideous cliche. And, actually, maybe the ‘leading lady’ line earlier. Sorry about those.
Time changes everything (strike three in the cliche list…this is getting silly now). In four years I’ve grown an inch, shed a stone (puppy fat), holidayed in eleven countries and moved house three times. I’ve learnt to cook rather than live on takeout, wrote a play, joined the world of twitter (@Annekaharry and @BOBandBLONDE) and learnt to write in hash tags… #awkwardselfpromotion.
But my greatest achievement and by far my best move was getting a job in telly.
I think a lot of young actors are scared to get a ‘proper job’ because it might get in the way of the dream. I know I felt like that for a long time (I also found it insanely difficult to get a ‘proper job’) but persistence won over. I’ve been working at the BBC for over a year now, and it’s opened more doors than Alice came across in Wonderland. I’ll tell you all about it in another blog, but for now this one is really to reassure anyone running around with those plates of food or listening to phones being slammed down in their headsets all day long: there are other jobs out there that can actually propel your career rather than get in the way.
Take the risk. Apply for that job you think you’d enjoy and excel at but you’re too scared to take in case your agent calls on your first day and offers you that casting for a poorly paid schools tour of the Midlands (that you couldn’t possibly turn down) just in case it might lead on to scoring you a part at The National… somehow. Aim for that job in a creative environment and enjoy a real pay cheque.
Last weekend I had a new set of headshots taken and I purposely broke all the rules I came out of drama school chanting. I ditched the ‘obligatory’ round neck black tee for my washed out denim shirt and let my hair be as wild as it is on a daily basis. Because that’s me. I don’t worry about constantly impressing the people in the biz anymore because I work with them now. And I know they are human beings.
I’ve seen people walk into casting rooms and the unappealing smell of desperation lingers on after them. I’m no longer desperate — I’m just being me.
And that my friends, is the cliche I’m going to leave you on.