This isn’t my normal kind of post. I made this blog to be a positive little escape of the internet, and whilst it is that, I wanted to let my readers in on my personal life and where I’m at a little bit. This may contain trigger warnings for some people, and uncomfortability regarding the #MeToo movement so don’t worry if you’re worried about reading this one, a new one will be up soon!
This has been one of those posts that has been in the back of my mind for months now but it’s never quite felt like the right time to post it. And then two days ago, I had to visit a set to help my boyfriend with his Drama School thesis, and actually saying to people that acting isn’t for me anymore aloud made me realise that I really have made the right decision for myself and I’ve never ever felt happier and more in control. I’m nervous to be posting this.
I had always wanted to be an actor ever since I was younger, it was always my ‘thing’. Sure I was good at writing, I loved reading and the outdoors, but I convinced myself that acting was what I was born to do. I studied Performing Arts at college, and when I was 18 I was cast in my first professional role onstage. From this, I met a lot of people and work spiralled to other work, I got one of the best agents in Manchester and found myself wide eyed and auditioning for things like Emmerdale, and Doctors, and doing independent films. From the constant tapes and travelling, always waiting for footage back, the pain of finding a job flexible enough to give you time for auditions but also enough hours to pay your bills – believe me, it isn’t easy. But it had always seemed worth it to me.
Soon I found a darker side to the industry, and though it’s unfortunately common in most industries, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Let me say that I have so many stories and amazing memories of working as an actor, but I also have memories that I’d do a lot to get rid of, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
It first started with getting scripts through, always full of nude or ‘lingerie’ scenes for absolutely no reason. Then I was sent more where I quickly realised that the films they were making weren’t ‘acting’… I’m talking real none-simulated sex. I was disgusted. One day, after I had successfully sold the temporary rights to a play of mine, a director I’d met through that was casting a play for a huge festival, and invited me to audition. It wasn’t until I’d nearly arrived that I received an email saying that the location had changed – from the theatre, to his house. The audition scene involved kissing, and after forcibly pushing for an answer, I soon was told that the kiss would be with him… and that there was no one else there. As you can imagine I got myself the hell out of there. When attending my play, I was showered with how ‘hot’ I looked, instead of how well-written my play was.
At 18 years old, on one of my first ever projects, I was sexually harassed for months and months by a man in his late 50’s, despite making it perfectly clear that I wasn’t interested. I’m not sure how much detail I can give but it was truly one of the worst times of my entire life. When I finally couldn’t cope anymore with the incessant messages about not loving my boyfriend and in fact loving this man, that I was giving him so many signals and he knew that I wanted him, the constant rewrites of sex scenes between us that I refused to do as he admitted openly to it being deliberate, the crazy messages to my mum with photos of me that I didn’t even know existed, and finally finding him in my bed on set, I reported him to the director. Nothing was done, in fact he managed to actually turn the tables by spreading lies about me instead. I found myself bullied even more, by others associated, and ‘fat shamed’ online as an 18 year old already going through enough. Never ever will I allow myself to be treated so badly. It’s taught me self-worth and a life lesson about true friends, and who to let in.
From having a broken rib, to being made to film for 7 hours up a mountain with no heating or indoor breaks in barely there jeans, and getting pneumonia for two weeks, I have so many stories. One of the last films I ever did involved a sexual violence scene, I was dreading it enough so you can imagine how it felt being physically restrained by wire in the middle of random public surroundings surrounded by only men. Immodestly dressed I was told I had ‘nice tits’, and ‘I’d rape her’ by cast and crew. This post wasn’t meant to scare any girls but believe me when I say that these events were not isolated incidents. All I ask is to anyone reading this, please be careful with who you work with. If work isn’t through your agent, often on Casting Sites things aren’t monitored or safe guarded. Always do your research, and ask to see their previous footage that they’ve made. If they don’t have any, I’d personally avoid it just to be safe, and always follow your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not. If my heart had still been in it, believe it or not all of this wouldn’t have put me off, but the truth is, people change, and I did.
Meeting a Literary agent with a script that I was so proud of, about a family of innocents executed for witchcraft, and being told to make it like ‘a modern day Harry Potter knockoff’ because it was more ‘cashable’ was far more crushing than being rejected by Emmerdale to play a chav. Having a play of mine professionally performed, and a screenplay of mine picked up by a film company, is one of my proudest ever moments. Megapixel Productions also filmed two shorts that I had written, of which I starred in, and when watching it back I was more proud of my words than my actions. Whenever I read a script, for me the most exciting part had started to become seeing what someone had written, rather than the thought of actually doing it. I slowly got excited for whenever ‘wrap’ was called, and I realised that I didn’t find this fun anymore. What once used to give me such a high, just made me feel silly. I joined the agency, and then my blog back in August and didn’t expect anything from it, never mind the thousands of readers I’ve gained in such a short amount of time. Through scriptwork, photography and blogging, I soon realised that I could find my creative outlet in other ways, and that acting didn’t have to define me anymore.
I have loved being an actor at most times, I’ve made some crazy memories and friends, met the love of my life, I’ve played my favourite two literary characters, travelled all over the UK, and I’ll never ever regret it. It’s shaped me into who I am today. I’m still honouring roles that I’ve been cast in, but I’ve never felt more excited about the future. Instead of worrying all the time and stressing, I feel so in control. Ironically I’ve never been offered as much work as I have now I’ve quit but it just isn’t for me anymore, and that’s ok.
I attended an applicant day last week in Birmingham, and went to a Criminology lecture and seminar and I’ve never been more excited to learn something in my entire life. Yes I was older than most of the applicants but it didn’t bother me. If anything I felt more prepared and excited to learn. I’m studying this because I want to study this, not because I feel like I have to. It’s so interesting and different, and I truly believe it’ll make me a better writer and person. As of September I will be studying there, living with my boyfriend, alongside writing and blogging and I really can’t wait. I’m so ready for the future. I’m determined to get another play published and performed, to take my blog to new heights and to throw myself into a whole new world of education. I have never felt so empowered.
People change, and it’s ok. It’s exciting. Life is never a fixed narrow road, if it was it’d be boring. Here’s to the unknown, excitement and new adventures!13