What kind of career’s advice did you get as a young woman?
I’d say I received three bits of career advice when I was young. Firstly we had a computer programme at school where you answered a series of questions and it suggested a career (I think it was called Kudos?!). Mine came out as Florist! At the time I was not impressed at all as I’d already decided what I wanted to do and I didn’t see it as an ambitious career. Now I actually think I would quite enjoy it! It’s creative, active (compared to my current office job) I love flowers and I like the idea of helping people to make someone’s day! The other advice I was given by my parents who were both teachers was “don’t become a teacher” but also follow you dreams, you can be anything you want to be if you have talent and work hard.
What did you want to be when you left education?
I wanted to be a professional performer, ideally in the West End.
Did your mother work?
Yes. She didn’t go back to work until I was around 2 (and my brother was 4) I think but then only part time as a supply teacher. She later became a special needs teacher and worked mostly from home.
Love & Relationships:
Do you think getting married is important?
I always wanted to get married so I guess so. I think it’s fine if people don’t want to get married and its not for everyone. I guess my parents happy marriage meant I always just thought I would get married one day. Being married to my husband does feel different to being in a relationship. It has made me feel like we are our own team, our own family unit in a way I didn’t feel before we got married. This has been enhanced further by having our Son.
What did you dream your future partner would be like when you were a little girl?
This obviously changed a lot over the years. When I was really little it was probably Prince Eric from the Little Mermaid. Handsome, romantic and brave. Then as I got older a sense of humour was firmly added to that list. A romantic, poetic, creative, funny, sporty, musician. Oh or Ronan Keating from Boyzone! 🙂 Haha
Is your relationship with your partner the same as your parents’ relationship?
Yes I guess it is quite similar actually. They do lots together and are best friends but they also have their own interests and hobbies which is a lot like us. The thing I like the most about their relationship is that they are still really silly together! They still joke and mess around and laugh a lot which again is a lot like us.
How like your mother are you?
I’m told and would probably agree that I’m a mix of both parents but probably more like my Dad overall. I think I’m like my mum in some ways. We share a lot of similar mannerisms. A stranger once worked out we were mother and daughter having met us separately because we told a similar story using a lot of the same hand gestures etc. She always says that I’m more grounded than her. We are both quite sensitive and wear our heart on our sleeve. I guess I am like her in a lot of ways.
What are your hopes for any daughters or young women you know?
I don’t have a daughter but if I had one I’d hope for a safer world for her. A world of genuine equality across the board. I would also hope that she is able to escape a lot of the body issues that I have faced and that would be something I would be hyper aware of if I have a daughter in the future. I would like her to feel confident and supported and able to be anything she wants to be.
Do you bring your son up the same way as your daughter? Do you think boys and girls should be brought up differently?
I’d love to say that I would raise a daughter the same as a son but I don’t think that would be true. When they are really small I think the lessons are the same but I think the pressures on boys and girls are different as they get older. On that basis I think the way they are raised would be different.
Expectations and Dreams:
Who are your heroines and why?
When I was young my heroines were Darcy Bussell and Sylvie Guillem and a girl I knew at my dance school called Danielle. She was beautiful, intelligent, kind and a wonderful dancer. She went off to stage school in London a number of years before me and that was my dream so I always felt like she was leading the way. The thing that I really loved about her was that she was different to the other girls at my dance school. She wasn’t all jazz hands and fake lashes, she wasn’t loud and super confident. She was more reserved and quiet but so talented! These days my heroines are my closest friends. Also there is a female scientist that I used to work for at the University. I wouldn’t necessarily use the term heroine but I definitely respect her a huge amount on a professional level. All the things she’s achieved as a scientist in a hugely male dominated environment.
What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
Hmm….I guess moving to London when I was 16. I’d grown up in a very small village in Lincolnshire and going to stage school in London was my dream. Going from my loving family home in a tiny village to living on the 13th floor of a YMCA hostel in a big city was a huge life change. I still remember the moment that my parents car went out of view round a corner leaving me alone outside my new building. I was so excited to be there and to start collage but the moment they disappeared I remember thinking shit! Now what!
What drives you?
My family, love and relationships. Taking care of the people in my life.
What are your values?
Be kind, be generous, help others. I think people should be free to love who they love. I think education is important and empathy is vital.
What is your biggest achievement?
I’d say having our son.
How old are you?
What has been your favourite age to be and why?
I’ve always said 19. It was my final year at stage school, it was all performing, non stop shows and rehearsals, I was enjoying London life and was old enough to feel independent. But now I would say 32 is my favourite age. I’m loving life at home with our baby and looking forward to the future with my little family. I’ve got a smaller, group of really great old friends and some new ones and exciting plans in the pipeline for the future. I’ve also found post pregnancy that some of my former body image issues have lifted. Not gone, but the focus has shifted and that’s been really liberating!
Do you think it’s better to be young now than when you were young? (Or better now than when your parents were young?)
It would be interesting to be young now as there are perhaps more opportunities now but to be honest I wouldn’t want to be young now! I think with modern technology and the instant upload of photos and information that it would be harder to be young now. Modern technology is amazing and can do brilliant things but being young was hard enough without there being a constant public photographic record of it!
What are the pros and cons of being a woman?
The open nature of my relationships with my friends. The way we talk and laugh and support each other.
Being able to carry my son was the most amazing feeling! (aside from the sickness and the sore hips and…..etc etc :). I know not all woman are able to do it and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to due to some health issues so it was the greatest gift!
Pressure to look and be a certain way
I feel like the world is more dangerous as a woman
What have been the biggest challenges in your life?
Leaving home at 16, picking myself up after an unsuccessful audition and going to another one, dealing with issues with self confidence and self image. Living in London on £12k a year! 🙂
Self-image – Body or Looks:
Why do you dress the way that you do?
I’ve had some body/self image issues in my life. This has really influenced my choice of clothing. More recently I’ve been influenced by health issues giving me a really bloated tummy and then also some baby weight. When I was young (say 15-21) I was super confident but even still the way I wanted people to view me infkuenced my fashion choice. I never wanted to be viewed as a girl who was vapid or superficial. I also wanted to know that if…..I wanted to climb a tree or whatever that I could do that without worrying about what I was wearing so tended to opt for flat shoes and jeans, more tom boy style rather than heels and short skirts. The body issues I think largely are due to my time as a professional performer. I wouldn’t leave the house without a full face of makeup. Casting briefs are image lead- must be this tall, this short, this dress size etc. I remember auditioning for a music video and I got cut from the first round. I stayed to watch to see who got the job. I was hoping that I’d see a line up of incredible dancers that made me want to be better, train harder. Instead I was faced with a line of extremely pretty, extremely skinny girls with fake tan and six pack abs who couldn’t dance. They got the job based on their looks, not on their ability. I remember speaking to my brother at the time and he said well, lose a stone and get a tan if that’s what it takes. I was already very slim at the time and thought no! I want to get work because I’m talented not because I’m skinny! That was the start of the end for me and professional dancing.
What would be your musical soundtrack?
That’s a tough one! Depends on the mood I’m in or part of my life the soundtrack was for! Something from Details by Frou Frou in general, Heartbeats by Jose Gonzalez or Real Hero by College and Electric Youth. Or something from my musical theatre days like…..Defying Gravity from Wicked.
Do you have a life’s motto?
My husband hates his job and when he leaves in the morning I often say to him don’t let the bastards get you down! Haha!