I may describe myself as a lot of things, a large portion of these being self-deprecatory in nature, but under no circumstance will you ever hear me call myself an ‘actress’.
When I care to reminisce, my memory would happen to play tricks on me and you will hear me say that I always wanted to be an Artistic Director but this is simply not the case. I toyed seriously with a few professions in my adolescent days: Police ‘Person’ (always a ‘PC’ PC); Make-Up Artist (a fact that makes me want to vomit embarrassment on sheer remembrance, especially when coupled with my disgusting and immature mantra “pain is beauty”) and lastly and most secretly, an Actress.
To quote an unfortunate lyric: ‘I want[ed] to be like Grace Kelly’. Conforming to all the stereotypes, I used to watch myself squeeze false tears, as I rehearsed tragic monologues for the benefit of the bathroom mirror, and routinely subjected my family to tedious dramatic readings of the Evening Post. I wasn’t half bad at all this acting malarkey, my claim to fame being that I got 100% in my GCSE and the prestigious ‘Drama Award’ of Downend Comprehensive – Oscars eat your heart out. Very soon after this, however, I would lock away my dreams of an acting career and pretend it had never been.
“You’re never going to be an actress – but you’d be a great director.” Just one little sentence from my drama teacher after an audition and it was curtains for me.
This sentence doesn’t even look that bad now it is written down but at the time I was devastated, and any stage presence that I may have possessed, was knocked right out of me. I bet if I asked her about it now she wouldn’t remember saying it. And I also suspect, she meant it to be a compliment, however backhanded it came across. From this point onwards, I’ve been plagued with stage fright and a crippling self doubt that leads to a truly cringe worthy performance. Although I remain grateful that every precocious bone in my body was broken by this lady, it’s still a shame that I lost the ability to do something I enjoyed so much by so thoughtless a comment, albeit a blessing for everyone else, I suspect.
My reaction to this titbit of criticism, through the sharp focus of retrospect, does tell me one thing however – I really was never going to be an actress. But from this little seed my obsession with becoming a director grew; we are told that every cloud has its silver lining. And I’ll let you into another secret whilst I’m in the mood for confiding; you’ll be glad to know that I haven’t given up on all my pipe dreams. Recent events have me holding renewed hope that I may one day make it…as The Stig.