An actress speaks: Thought process

by Hayley Mcfadyen

As actors we are always working towards some kind of personal goal: whether that’s Film, TV or Theatre, we all want to act, but what we want to act in is specific to each of us. Working towards a goal non-stop is hard and you need to be mentally prepared for it. Sometimes I burn myself out and I’ve only just started to get to grips with how to make sure that doesn’t happen. I don’t think that I’m an advocate for positive thinking all the time, no-one is, but there are things that help me that others may benefit from, or at least resonate with.

After an audition/self-tape I tend to think about it all the time, analysing it over and over again, wondering if I impressed them, over thinking my outfit choice, really stupid things that are not important, I massively over-think with lots of things, maybe too much at times.

 It’s important to always be improving yourself and sometimes thinking about it can highlight things you could do differently next time, but there is no reason to overthink it once it’s over. When it’s over it’s over.

After an audition there are various things I do. Sometimes I go and do something different to take my mind off it. I will try not to think about the possibility of getting the job or the feeling in my stomach if I don’t get the job; I just fill my day with something else. I enjoy people watching, I think most people do. I like sitting down and having a good coffee somewhere where I can people watch. Sometimes it’s nice to take the focus off of yourself, especially when the audition was so intense. It is easier said than done, yes, but I find that it helps me to not feel so consumed by the audition, and allows me to actually have a day to myself. If that doesn’t work and I find myself thinking about it and I can’t distract myself I allow myself 10 minutes to think about it non-stop – think about all my worries – but only for 10 minutes. Once that time is over I challenge my thought process to stop thinking about it and move on. If either of these exercises fail, then I turn to writing. I will either free write or try to concentrate on actually writing a more organised piece. The writing helps get your thoughts out of your head and on to paper, plus it creates some work out of your anxiety. Some of my best writing comes from feeling anxious, from writing in the moment without thinking too much.

One of the biggest obstacles we all face as actors is rejection. It can either push us or hold us back, depending on how we deal with it. Everyone is different in their response to it. I have found it varies depending on various circumstances: what was the job or how I felt at the time. I personally find that believing that some doors close for others to open helps me rationalise the rejection, and also trust that it wasn’t meant to be. You are not going to get every job you audition for, obviously, and sometimes that rejection makes you work harder, because it makes you want the next job even more than the first. If I get something too easy I don’t appreciate it as much, I also fear that if it happens too often I can get lazy. This means that the job/audition isn’t challenging me. I like to work hard, I feel like most people get a buzz off of working hard, and I think after a lot of rejection, it is a much better feeling when you finally get something. It feels like you have earned it, and also deserved it.

Being female amongst an abundance of other females – all striving to find great roles out there – can be hard. Especially as our job can be a lot about comparing: we are constantly being compared to other actors, that’s part of the auditioning process, but we also constantly compare ourselves to others. I am definitely someone who looks at people and thinks ‘I wish I looked like them’, and that is so bad! I should never wish to be anyone but myself, but I feel like I am always comparing myself to other people, always wanting what I haven’t got, rather than appreciating what I have.

It is hard to stand out, when every other actor around you looks the same in some auditions. But that is why you have to figure your own thing, which takes time. I haven’t exactly found mine yet, there are still bits I need to figure out, but I am definitely heading in the right direction and know what twist to put on a script to make it different to me. Working with Lee has allowed me to find my take on a script, to not just do it like everyone else, but like me. Every actor out there is different in their own way; if Jessica Barden played Christine in the film ‘Ladybird’ it would be completely different despite the script being the same, because she brings her own uniqueness.

I find that I have this tomboy side of me, this part of me that’s laid back, to the point and masculine in some way. This is where I would enjoy playing gritty roles, maybe even dark ones. I believe this is unique to me as I can switch it on with any script, even if the script doesn’t naturally read for this casting. I don’t think that I have it all figured out, but I do think that we can get wrapped up in wanting to be someone else, or wanting to be like another actor when really – that is the opposite of what we should be doing. The industry needs new and fresh people with their own take on a script

About Hayley: An actor, poet and co-founder of House of Rhymes, a spoken word and live music evening based in London. House of Rhymes took on Vault Festival at the beginning of the year and sold out, along with its two other events since being created. Hayley has performed at the Cockpit Theatre, Tristan Bates Theatre as well as the Lyric Hammersmith as part of the 2019 Evolution Festival. Hayley is currently writing her own play, as well as collaborating with artists to create some sounds for her spoken word, striving to create tracks, in the hope that people will resonate more with poetry.

An actress speaks: Pressure

by Hayley Mcfadyen

I personally suffer from the pressures of most things around me in life, not just acting and the overwhelming industry itself. Pressure can benefit us and push us, some of my best work comes from being switched on. But it can also cause problems which don’t need to be there. Pressure mostly comes from myself. I have very high expectations of myself and sometimes if I slip up or mess up an audition I am the only one that I disappoint. Only now have I come to terms with the damage it can cause when you overwhelm yourself with pressure, and over time the more I have relaxed the better actor I have become. 

As females I think we have quite a lot of pressure to deal with. It is very easy to compare yourself to other people, especially with how we look and how the media can portray us. As actors how we look is – unfortunately – key to what roles we play, not all, but some.

Casting types are there for a reason, the director wants to tell the story, writers have an image in their head that they want to fulfil and that’s okay. However, it is also okay to not fit that. If you are too tall or not the right size it is not the end of the world, I think it’s important to know what roles you fit, and not buckle under the pressures of fitting everything. This helps the feeling of being disappointed, there are some roles out there which I may not be able to play and never be able to play, this can be for all sorts of reasons, some older roles can have great depth which I like, however, I need to be patient until I can play those roles, focus on the things that are in your control right now. On the other hand I definitely feel like we can alter areas to fit the role, Alicia Vikander trained really hard for her role of Lara croft, her tiny frame was transformed into muscle so she could do her own stunts in Tomb Raider. There are definitely things everyone is capable of if they put their mind to it, and we don’t always have to play our casting types, we can escape that box if we believe we can do it.

I think one of the biggest pressures I face as a female is saying yes, and feeling obliged to do things, rather than being comfortable with it. Everyone has a personal limit and a comfort zone and to come out of it you need to feel comfortable, that comes above anything else. I am a very open person and I am usually very good at coming out of my comfort zone but there have been times when the boundary has been crossed and I wasn’t honest and it bothered me later on that I never said anything at the time. As actors we are constantly putting ourselves in vulnerable situations, going into auditions, meeting new people all the time in different places.

It is important as a female to be streetwise and be careful when walking into rooms. Sometimes you may not even know what the audition entails until you walk into it and you need to be confident with your boundaries. If you feel discomfort for whatever reason, just because you are in the room doesn’t mean you can’t ask questions, most people would prefer you to speak up than do something which you’re clearly not comfortable with or confused about. Obviously every situation is very different, and what I say does not relate to all of them, but what I am trying to say is to be more mindful of yourself, you should always be feeling comfortable and happy with what you’re doing. This will also in turn create a better performance because you are more relaxed and comfortable to play. 

Another pressure which I have only discovered recently is the pressure of questions. Questions from all kinds of people outside the industry. What we do in our own time is personal, what jobs we have in the pipeline we don’t always want to say, superstition and all of that. Therefore I find that I am constantly dodging the conversation with people about how my auditions are going or what I am up to.

Maybe this is just me, I don’t know, but I do think some people will resonate to some parts of what I am saying. This industry is hard and we wouldn’t do it unless we loved it and sometimes taking on such a big challenge can create pressure to prove to people that we can hack it. Sometimes not having anything to say to people that ask me questions can get to me, try not to let that happen, you know yourself and what you’re doing in terms of your craft.  Sometimes keeping things to yourself is okay, I personally don’t like to jinx things. It sounds silly, but I hope other actors will understand this: when a job is really exciting you don’t always want to talk about it incase it doesn’t happen, you don’t want it to become real until the very last minute. Keeping things to yourself is okay, don’t feel pressure to always divulge. 

About Hayley: An actor, poet and co-founder of House of Rhymes, a spoken word and live music evening based in London. House of Rhymes took on Vault Festival at the beginning of the year and sold out, along with its two other events since being created. Hayley has performed at the Cockpit Theatre, Tristan Bates Theatre as well as the Lyric Hammersmith as part of the 2019 Evolution Festival. Hayley is currently writing her own play, as well as collaborating with artists to create some sounds for her spoken word, striving to create tracks, in the hope that people will resonate more with poetry.

Black Actors in a White World

by Samuel Nunez

Upon writing this piece I am reminded of Michael Kiwanuka’s song “I’m a black man in a White World”. It’s why I altered the title slightly but I feel that it will cover more than being an actor. Acting is what I do, not who I am. The mood reflects the same spirit of the song. To be a black male, in a white world is to be upbeat with your energy, your rhythm. Bringing to the surface your joy, artistry and effervescence whilst hiding your internalised pain, the understanding of injustice and that target on your back that you’ve lived with for so long.

I’ll preface this by saying that I can’t speak for all black people or the “community”. I can’t speak for all black men. I haven’t met all of them, don’t know their experiences or their opinions. We are far and wide in this world. I can’t speak on what it is like to be a Black Woman, however; my voice, my presence, my standing can and will be used in support whenever and wherever I can. I hope that this piece is received within the context of my intention which is to lend my voice on issues that I feel we as black people have all faced at some point in our lives. I can only comment on my life experiences, and the conclusions I have drawn, some of which are highly likely to be shared experiences from other black people but i can’t be sure. I speak on what I have found and understood to be true about being in these spaces and also how I have tried to navigate this.

I can say that it is lonely, it is difficult at times, rage inducing at certain points. It is the refreshing relief when an ally appears and a definitive sense of safety when you can finally see yourself reflected in a room where you alone once stood.

To be black in the West, particularly if you are black and in a position of power, influence or even if you’re just visible enough to stand out from the crowd, automatically thrusts you into a representative or ambassador role for your entire race (and gender). The “black community” if you will. Whether you want to be or not. Your presence becomes the cornerstone of how other people who look like you are judged through the lens of the observers. Your actions have great ramifications and not just for yourself. This is heightened if you are the only one, a situation that i have found myself in more than once. I feel that this is the curse of being a “minority” in all walks of life. And somehow if you’re black, and more recently if you’re Muslim (or look Muslim, which….what?!) the watchful eye feels amplified. Muted celebration for your success. Heightened derision and anger for your transgressions. You’re watched with caution or fear, with judgemental intrigue. There is a detachment, the othering and the isolation of an entire race of people. Tarred with the same brush. To be black, is to be “other”. An afterthought. It boils down to this: there is never room at the table for you. You don’t have a seat, a plate, hell you barely get the menu.

To be Black in a White World is to be told that White Privilege isn’t a thing when you see it every single day. It’s the privilege of existing without constant harassment. It’s the privilege of existing without watchful eyes, it’s the privilege of existing without the tag of criminal or its existing without “threat” being the first thought in people’s minds when they see you. This isn’t a paranoia. It shows in people’s attitudes and their behaviour with their interactions with you. An example of this is me walking down a street in a town near Oxford and having people see me, get startled and hurriedly crossing the road holding their precious belongings. It was even more comical when a man would stand in between me and whoever their female companion who was with them at that moment, puffing their chest out as of they were a bouncer. None of this caused me physical or mental anguish. But it serves as an example. These were not isolated incidents either. The watchful eye was ever present that day.

To be Black in the West, is to constantly be reminded that you are the ‘other’ regardless of the situation. I’ll give a general example. It’s the name Thomas Edison living on but the name Lewis Latimer being left out of 90% of the conversation. When it comes to the lightbulb both had incredible impact, Lewis Latimer’s contributions (one could argue) have had a greater bearing on the world today than Edison did in that although Edison did invent the lightbulb, Latimer invented the filament meaning that the light could last longer than Edison’s paper filament. Both are incredible feats. But one got glorified and the other left behind. This is an example of two things. 1) Racism from the past. 2) How past racism affects us now.

It’s through following history and understanding history that I have come to see the UK with the eyes I wear now. We can talk about the Windrush Scandal being a demonstration of Tory Britain’s view on black people but we need to also remember that it was the Labour Prime Minister at the time who wanted to divert Windrush to West Africa because they didn’t want them here in the first place. That feeling of being unwanted remains. That feeling that you are judged separately, more harshly or with different goalposts than everyone else around you is constantly being confirmed. It is the feeling of being targeted.

Growing up, I knew this to be true and have done for as long as I can remember. It starts at school. It starts with being accused of cheating in your math class because you constantly get the highest score in your maths test, not by the students but by the teacher and being made to take the test again just to be sure. Because you “looked guilty”. It starts with being held back at lunch time because your table was talking too loudly during class but then the rest of the table get to leave with the whole class and its only you kept behind. Because you ‘need to learn your place’. Its the being called “ni■■■r” and “c■■n” and being beaten up everyday in year 3 and not being believed, but when the blonde haired girl tells her parents and you have to threaten to bring the press down, suddenly action is taken and the students are asked to write apology letters to you. The trade-off being that now you have to be on your best behaviour, because 98% of the teachers at the school are watching you like a hawk and calling home every time you speak too loudly in class, because you dared to speak out about the school doing nothing about the racism. My mum kept those messages on the answer machine until it broke, just so she could remember how I was treated. This treatment in Primary School, coupled with the necessary but endless preparatory talks from your parent(s) of how to survive in this world laid the groundwork for a survivalist mentality. I have a specific set of skills for surviving in a space that is predominantly white, these skills I exercise every day. If you want to know what they are, imagine you’re in an animal enclosure with a bear. Keep calm, no sudden movement, lower your voice, be reasonable etc. I think most if not all Black people do. Our collective superpower is this phrase:

You need to work twice as hard to get half as far.

It’s a staple in many households. It’s a black proverb. To be black in this country is to know that many times you can be better at something than someone else but your skin colour predetermines how far you can fly. It’s not just a quote from @santandave, it’s a lived experience.

This othering leads you to become a target which leads to the feeling of injustice. At every hurdle; you could become the spokesperson for a whole diaspora, you could match a description, you could be confirming a comical stereotype or, ‘acting white’. The phrase “you act/talk/sound white” is one of the most damaging phrase I have heard in my life. It has always been directed at me when I showcase my wide ranging vocabulary. I used to read so much as a kid and learnt so many words because if it. I used words a lot more than I do now. I loved words. It was a conscious (wrong) decision to stop doing this somewhere during my late teens and early twenties. I definitely wasn’t as headstrong as I am now. This phrase is insidious. When a black person is told they are acting white, in my experience, it’s usually because their intelligence is on show. It’s usually meant to mock, deride someone. The white part being the intelligent part. The non-white is somehow to be devoid of intelligence. It’s an immediate lessering, diminishing of a whole people and the inherent racism from such a small phrase is staggering. It’s because of this phrase that a lot of my mum’s generation (who emigrated here) actively gave up their accents adopting a customer service voice. My grandmas generation, for the most part, didn’t. My generation, well, we adopt an English, African and Caribbean (from all the islands) Patois, as well as their customer service voice. And I love it.

Ultimately I think being (a) black (man) in a white world is restrictive. You have to small up yourself. So many times I’ve had to walk through my day to day on eggshells, constantly considering my presence and its effect on others and God forbid one day I allow myself to express myself freely.

Anyone who knows me knows I am one to go off on tangents. 

This article is meant to focus on life as a black actor and I haven’t as yet, so I’ll give it a go. 

*Sidebar first. Can we get rid of BAME. ‘Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic’. It compounds the “othering” of non whites by making it seem like we’re one big collective homogeneous group.

As actors, we always want to put the best foot forward, we all dream of picking dream parts to play to further our careers. We all dream of creating that masterpiece, being part of something bigger than ourselves. Pure Magic. As black people, we also have the added pressures I’ve mentioned above. Representing all black men when we lend our bodies, our minds, our creativity to a project. Promoting a stereotype or general conception. Or, not being black enough. This last one I reckon many, many of us have heard more than once throughout our career. “Can you act more, i don’t know…more <insert synonym for Black here>?”  We have to think about how we are promoting ourselves and how that reflects in the wider world. We understand that our presence creates a narrative. At least, I know that I think about that. A lot. It’s walking into the audition room to read for the role of “thug 1”, “drug pusher”, if i was in America “pimp”. For other demographics it’s the defining role of “terrorist” for the third film in a row. It is tiring. But it links to one of my first observations, there simply hasn’t been space at the table for black stories, or black voices that tell our stories or blackness in general. Unless it’s another movie about slaves. Sometimes i feel like it is wasted energy and it detracts from my ambitions and my goals in my actor life. It’s working twice as hard because showcasing who you are isn’t the accepted narrative, but perpetuating a stereotype is. I know that in the last few years I have started to shed this hang up! I know that it has come through having to navigate predominantly white spaces that has made me a lot more conscious of it though.

The criticism I constantly hear is that “black people make everything about race” or that we’re playing “race card”. When people see your blackness in a negative light and have done for the majority of the time you have been alive, it becomes a point of survivability, the need to defend it. When we feel like we’re being attacked because of our skin colour, then yes, we defend it. And the more we defend ourselves and bring light to our oppression the more likely we are to gain allies in this fight, but the more likely the bigoted ones will reveal themselves.

But there is a parallel conversation to be had too. I think it is important to look for the best feeling-thought at every moment. At the same time I talk about the negative things, I also look to and seek the positive outcomes. For which there are many. Unless you’ve been oppressed, you will never understand the euphoria you feel when you see someone who has been oppressed just like you, for the same reasons as you, succeed. To be a black man in a white world is to know that there are other people out there experiencing the same things that you are. When Issa Rae said “i’m rooting for everybody black” i understood instinctively what she meant. I always have. From the youngest age, when I first understood how negatively I was being viewed because of my skin colour, I understood how important people like Will Smith were. I remember how Serena and Venus were treated early in their careers. As I got older I started to seek out the likes of Mr Sidney Poitier and Mr Denzel Washington. The success of these men, their presence along with many others was the cornerstone for me wanting to do this craft. This is the parallel conversation. They may not be able to speak for me but their success inspired me. Their presence gave me hope. Their presence inspired a generation of black men to seek out greatness in this industry. To see someone like Sidney be at the top of his game at the time that he was, you know he had to be good. The lack of space is as prevalent now as it was back then. I remember my older sister telling me about her time as an actor in the 90s and the problems she faced then, being a black female performing Shakespeare and the negative reactions she got just because of her skin colour. Assumptions perpetuated by stereotypes. Stereotypes perpetuated from movies that were our only access to do the craft we love. They used to talk of breaking down walls in the 80s and 90s. Those walls are still there. Just look at Viola Davis. She is the top actress (in my humble opinion) and yet in comparison to her white counterparts look at how she is treated. Where is the respect?

It is changing. Taking its time but it is changing For me as a young black man living in England, seeing the work of Lenny Henry CBE, Noel Clarke, Ashley Walters, Sophie Okonedo CBE  (when I first found out she was British I flipped out) and countless others was great. But looking back, I know that they were only a few in a sea of talented individuals. But now we have this new generation that are an inspiration.

I am so proud that the younger British generation have people like Leticia Wright, John Boyega, Damson Idris, Daniel Kaluuya, Micaela Coel, Michael Ward and so many more that have emerged since my late teens and my twenties. Hell, I look up to these people. I was so proud when Idris broke into America. This generation of Black British Actors are cleaning up. And they’re good! They’re really really good! They are using their platform to inspire and tell stories, perspectives that weren’t told before, and have literally ripped up the narrative that black movies don’t sell. More and more there is space at the table. More and more we know that we can make our own table and succeed. Tyler Perry’s film studios opened up an avenue in my mind that I didn’t even know was blocked.

To be black, male or female, when you see other people who look like you doing well it is second nature to root for them. Because you know that with their success, you can succeed too. That unspoken camaraderie is so powerful. It’s the opposite side of being the spokesperson for your entire race. When you do good, and when we support each other, it can lift us all up. It is a little as ‘the nod’ and as big as being in that person’s corner, loudly supporting whoever you can whenever you can. It’s celebrating our cultural and national differences but social similarities. This celebration, comradeship, that’s community. This is why it is important to note what happened when Anthony Joshua spoke about supporting black business. Did you notice the immediate hate he received?

To be a black actor in a white world now, is to seek out a brotherhood for yourself, a support network and build each other up as best we can. Isolated togetherness. To be a black man in a white world is to know that when you succeed, you shine a light, a beacon for countless other black men, to blaze a trail and to open doors for others’ success. When I hear the phrase “black community” I think of a Support Group for Black People. I witnessed this first hand this year when I was lucky enough to attend an event called A Social: For Artists of Colour organised by Yolanda Mercy. It was small. It was powerful. And it had a profound effect on me. Covid stopped round 2, but I’m hopeful it will come back around. It is so important to keep this positive momentum going especially since this industry is going to be in need of rebuilding. It goes without saying though, that none of this is about hating white people. It would be remiss of me if I didn’t say that I have so many white allies in my circle of friends with whom I have created so many wonderful things. This isn’t about excluding them. It is about empowerment and making sure that there is space for all of us.

To be a black man in a white world is still dangerous, but to succeed is to be fearless and be a beacon for future generations. I think for me, the sense of community came from the persecution and targeting that we all as individuals have faced in our lives. We are wide ranging, differing in culture but what we all have in common is that our black skin is seen as a threat. Worldwide. I put “community” up in quotes because of this. But I shine light on the fact that this same persecution has given rise to abundance of strength, creativity and powerful people in this industry and in other walks of life too. When we support each other we can only grow tall. But we are tired of being seen as the enemy and we are tired of having doors closed in our faces. We are the ‘small’ axe. I am so happy and feel so blessed to be a black man. The injustices make me more determined to succeed. Watch us fly!

About Samuel: Samuel has been melanated since 1991. He is an Actor, writer and a part time Philosopher among many other things. He is currently preparing to tour the UK from Mid August – Late September as part of musical Shakespeare Troupe the Three Inch Fools where they will be putting on A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Samuel is currently writing is own play(s) and is also collaborating on a project that aims to speak about mental health.

As a helping hand, his book recommendation list contains but is not limited to:
‘Black, Listed’ by Jeffrey Boakye
‘Natives’ by Akala
‘Brit(ish)’ by Afua Hirsch

An actress speaks: Dealing with self-doubt and being female in a competitive industry

by Hayley Mcfadyen

Not having confidence is something which I have only overcome in the past year or so. I think as actors, people can sometimes have a preconceived perception of us. Yes, we are very confident in our craft, but that doesn’t always mean we are confident in ourselves day to day, it does take time. I used to struggle with trusting my decision on jobs, auditions and roles, however in the same breath I had to do those jobs and experiment with roles to realise what projects I actually wanted to be involved in. 

Being confident before going in the room is a personal process, everyone is different with how they deal with nerves. I think because I am in a lower range of the 20’s I am usually auditioning for people much older than me, that can sometimes cloud my judgment, because I get in my head and start to worry that I am too young or inexperienced in some way, even though they are the people that have invited me in to the room. I am also usually auditioning for male directors. I find that this can sometimes be intimidating and has made it harder for me to connect as a female actor. There are lots of variables that can stop you being your most confident in the room.

I personally handle this by making sure I know my script and role inside out, this helps me to feel secure. Lee’s classes have enabled me to tackle a script efficiently and know my stuff before I go in. There are a lot more females in this industry and it is very competitive, knowing your script will automatically make you feel more secure, being an organised individual, feeling like my script is embedded in me allows me to feel completely at ease and more confident to play. Everyone has different techniques that work for them and you need to experiment to find out which one works for you. 

Another obstacle I sometimes face are the roles I want to play. We are so lucky at the moment because there are so many parts out there, so many amazing roles at our fingertips and picking the right job for you is important and it definitely takes a lot of confidence to be honest with yourself on jobs you feel unsure about.

After training with Lee, I now have such a good understanding of what roles I can smash out of the park and what roles I know are not right for me. I have discovered a lot about myself whilst training and through that I have figured out that one of my strengths is being firm and to the point, without being bitchy, I have been able to identify the difference between them and now they have become separate casting types that I feel confident with. On the other hand, having the confidence to test yourself is important, to try roles that are different.

During training I have found it hard to tackle certain scripts; as a female I struggle with my vulnerable side, because I never want to seem weak. I have only come to realise this by comparing the script to my own life and how I respond to it. I find that free writing helps me to put my thoughts onto paper and clear my head, I tend to do this after a situation has happened, it opens my eyes to how I react to people and scenarios, which is key to any script. Poetry is a game changer for me, I personally think reading poetry can make you realise so many things about yourself, I have found that I resonate with a lot of poems and that helps me to feel better about things that I struggle with, along with putting things in perspective. Focusing more on myself and using that in my craft has helped my confidence massively, it takes a lot of courage to admit your flaws and work on them. 

There is definitely a lot of anxiety in trying to always be working as an actor, which is maybe why sometimes myself and other actors take on jobs for the sake of just having a role to play. We strive to be acting everyday, it’s something that pushes us. However there are always things to work on individually if you’re not working on a job. As a female I want the confidence to challenge stereotypes and be different in my roles. Someone like Jessica Barden has taken on roles which are such a niche and I like that, she has challenged the usual roles females play and given each one her own twist. I aim to make sure each role I take on is specific to me, it has my own print on it. This takes time and training. I find that doing things individually, taking the time to read scripts and experimenting with my casting types independently gives me the confidence to play around before throwing it into an audition.

Ultimately, everyone is in the same boat. Use the people around you, work with what you’ve got, use the time out of a job to your advantage. 

About Hayley: An actor, poet and co-founder of House of Rhymes, a spoken word and live music evening based in London. House of Rhymes took on Vault Festival at the beginning of the year and sold out, along with its two other events since being created. Hayley has performed at the Cockpit Theatre, Tristan Bates Theatre as well as the Lyric Hammersmith as part of the 2019 Evolution Festival. Hayley is currently writing her own play, as well as collaborating with artists to create some sounds for her spoken word, striving to create tracks, in the hope that people will resonate more with poetry.