When I moved back to London in February last year, I bloody loved being funemployed. I got to explore London, see all my friends I hadn’t seen in months/years, go to the theatre, cinema, go on nights out. I truly was a lady of leisure and I was having the best time. It was fun.
Except when I’m not.
Over the years, since giving up on my salaried muggle job and leaving Belfast in 2009, I have filled the gaps between acting jobs (and plugged the gaping hole between acting earnings and London outgoings) by taking on paid employment of various kinds, with varying levels of financial compensation and, indeed, emotional toll.
I can count on both hands the number of acting jobs I’ve had since drama school, and I can count on one hand the number of paid acting jobs I’ve had since then. I’m embarrassed and frustrated by my lack of movement in this profession. In fact, when people ask me what I do, I say that I’m pursuing an acting career; rarely, do I say that I’m an actor because I feel that would imply that I’m a working actor, or at least someone auditioning on a regular basis. If I’m being truly honest, am I even really pursuing an acting career?
They probably cover it at some institutions already, but one thing my three years at drama school didn’t teach me was the importance of a good resting job. Some might argue that such an idea is counter-intuitive – obviously you’re going to have a career that doesn’t necessitate anything but acting work. Or you’re going to quit within the first six months. But for 99.7% of those graduates that make a go of it, that isn’t the case.*
I’m not. Jesus, I’d be shit at it. I had to retake my Maths at GCSE and anything to do with finance makes me sweat. But it just sort of…popped out one day. Every time I tell someone that I’m an Actress, I get asked a few particular questions. And I know, from speaking to other Actors, I’m not alone. So, I thought I’d share my top 5 questions I get asked, with you. Just to make you feel like you’re not suffering alone.
Here is a photo of me, in June 2010. I am wearing a green Karen Millen dress complete with matching heels that my Mother bought for me, I have had my hair professionally blow dried for the occasion. There I am, proudly clutching my 2:1 BA(Hons) Acting from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama – with absolutely no fucking idea what was supposed to happen next. If you look close enough I’m sure you can see the panic in my smile.
Wait, I can explain…