Casting Directors – The 1000 piece puzzle (almost) solved! Part 2
A few weeks ago I posted Part One which outlined my top five tips for approaching casting directors and how best to show yourself off in castings. However, in Part Two I thought I’d point out more of the basic and obvious things we can do which perhaps we don’t always bother with.
1. Do your make up and do it well. I don’t mean pile it on! I mean take the time to make up your face properly. If you are on camera, you are being recorded, and you are being recorded because they are going to watch it back later. Perhaps they will show the client and this will be the first impression they have of you. You do not want to look washed out, you do not want to appear tired or hungover and you do not want to appear anything less than your best (unless the part demands that of you). Even men should think about hiding those dark circles under their eyes and giving their skin a light covering of foundation. Making the most of your looks will only ever serve you well.
2. Assume the casting director has no imagination. Dress appropriately for the role, for instance, if you’re playing the role of an office worker, wear a shirt. Don’t go too over board, don’t dress in a wedding dress if you’re going for the role of the bride! However, perhaps wear a floaty white dress, do your hair well and make your make up natural. Going for the role of a hooker? Wear red lipstick and high heels. Going for the role a rock star? Wear skinny jeans! It’s basic, it’s simple and it does work. They see you walk in the door and they see the character in you therefore, they see you in the character. Don’t go and spend a load of money on clothes just for an audition though; but in the auditions where you can make this extra effort, do!
3. Have some questions ready. Think about your character, the story, your impressions and imagine yourself on set, playing the role. Ask appropriate and thoughtful questions which show your interest, enthusiasm and passion for the project and the role. It’s a smart way; a far less desperate and subtle way of standing out.
4. When auditioning alongside other actors, it is easy to let them throw you off. Also, when you have someone reading in, they often don’t give you much to bounce off of and that can throw you too. However, you have to prepare yourself mentally for this before you go into the audition so that you are ready for the worst case and still able perform at your best. When it comes to other actors, obviously you have to respond and react appropriately. However, in an audition you can afford to be a little selfish and give the performance you feel that they are after. Give a little but also be confident to take and shine through the actor alongside you. When it comes to an unhelpful reader, just…fuck it! Give it all you have, pretend in your head you are performing alongside the best actor you’ve ever worked with and give the performance that you would deliver on set.
5. Take the pressure off. Don’t tell yourself that each audition could change your life. Don’t allow for so much to ride on each thing. Just, tell yourself you simply have an audition. Do the best you can and the second you walk out, try to forget about it. The more you focus in on the detail and how much you need/want each role, the more pressured, the more stressed and the more frustrated you will become. Casting directors pick up on this too. This is a hard one because it is so easy to feel like you’re banging your head against a brick wall and of course you are allowed your down days. However, try to find away to take it all in your stride and turn it around. It will be different for all of us, but think about what would work best for you and put it into practice.
Got any advice and thoughts of your own? Please share! And break a leg at your next casting.
Casting Directors – The 1000 piece puzzle (almost) solved! Part 1
I’m not claiming that I have all the answers or that I know exactly how to “nail” an audition! However, over the last year I have taken to being the “other side” of the camera and played the role of Casting Director on several occasions. I cannot stress enough how invaluable this experience is for a performer! Not only do you get to see things from entirely new perspective, you also get to watch all the “classic” audition mistakes which we all fall foul to from time to time. Sometimes to witness a mistake is the only way you really understand why it is wrong. You can also flip this too; sometimes to witness someone doing it right is the only way you understand why it works. So I’ve come up with my Top Five Tips which should give you the best chance possible no matter who the Casting Director is. Some of it may seem obvious, some of it you may practice and some of it you may think sounds crazy. However, I urge you to have a read of each point and be really honest with yourself about the way you approach your career.
- It all starts before you walk in the room. How many of you out there apply for work yourself and send out a generic email to everyone that kind of fits what “they” need across the board? Well stop. Keep your emails short and to the point but make sure it is 100% tailored towards the role you are applying for. This IS time consuming. This IS boring. This IS worth more than you know. Obviously the Casting Director knows you are always actively looking for work. However, they don’t want to feel like 1 in 100 and this email has been fired out over and over for all sorts of roles. You need to get yourself through the door so being interested in the project, the role and indicating that you’ve got passion and an extra “spark” can do you no harm.
- Stop being so desperate. This is possibly the hardest one because most actors are desperate. We want to work, we want to perform and we need to earn some money. However, desperation is like fear; you can smell it. Being over-the-top polite and overly smiley and overly, “Yes Sir, no Sir” is actually doing yourself a dis-service. Firstly, you are not being yourself therefore, the Casting Director doesn’t know what it would be like to have you on set and secondly, it looks as if you never work which instantly turns off anyone before they’ve even watched your performance. I’m not saying be cocky, but be cool, calm, collected and confident. If you believe in yourself and the Casting Director can see that, they start the process expecting the audition to go well and pay extra attention to your performance.
- Don’t be lazy. If you are sent the script and sides. Read them, learn your lines, know your character. Look at the context of your scenes and know the relationship your character has with the other characters in the scene. You don’t always get the script but you often get the sides and you should try to become as familiar as possible. There is no excuse in the eyes of the Casting Director.
- Enjoy the audition. Be at ease and relax. The more relaxed you are, the more the casting director gets to relax and enjoy your audition too.
- Post-audition – don’t chase. They won’t forget about you and you sending an email just to say, “thanks for the audition”, doesn’t really serve much of a purpose. Just believe they will come to you.
Top Ten Things I’ve Learned From My Mum
As it is the day we all celebrate our Mum’s and take the time to thank them for all they have done and continue to do for us, I have put together a list of the top ten things I’ve learned from mine. Today, I want to share that with her, and all of you of course! (list in no particular order…)
1. Make Mistakes: It is the best, fastest and often the hardest way to learn. However, the mistakes you make teach you about yourself, make you human and help in your future.
2. Fall in Love: No matter how many people hurt you, how scared you are of having your heartbroken, or how many men take you for granted. Don’t build a wall around yourself, don’t push people away and don’t shut yourself down.
3. Be Forgiving: No one is perfect, we all make mistakes and being unforgiving only makes you bitter. You cannot judge anyone for their choices without stepping into their shoes. So if someone seeks forgiveness, forgive. If someone doesn’t seek forgiveness, forgive them anyway, in your heart. That last one is harder to do than to write in a sentence!
4. Don’t be Afraid to be Alone: Don’t settle, bounce around from relationship to relationship or stay with someone who makes you unhappy. Being alone can be liberating, fun and goo for your soul!
5. Be Kind: To those you love, to those who have been unkind to you, to those who least deserve it and to those who deserve it the most. Be kind to yourself and to your family (even when you really want someone to take all the bad stuff out on!)
6. Never Give Up: On yourself, on your dreams or on others. Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t/won’t achieve something. If you believe you can and you work hard, you’ll get anywhere you want to go. If you are passionate about anything or anyone, do all you can to make that feature heavily in your life and don’t give up until you succeed!
7. Life is not Fair: I don’t mean by telling me that nothing will get handed to you, opportunities don’t come knocking and money doesn’t grow on trees (although she did say that a lot!)! I mean by preparing me for being kicked back, rejected and missing out, despite all my best efforts. Sometimes, life isn’t fair. You just have to take the rough with the smooth and hope that everything happens for a reason.
8. Travel: There is no better way to broaden your horizons (literally)! It makes you independent, opens you up to different cultures and ways of life, helps you grow as a person and it is amazing fun! Besides, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
9: It’s Good to Talk and it is good to Cry: A problem shared really is a problem halved and you’ll never feel better until you’ve let it all out and had a good cry! You don’t have to feel silly, weak or childish. You don’t need to ask anyone’s permission to cry. Asking for help is welcomed and just needing an ear to chew (not literally) is OK too.
10. Respect Yourself: I mean this in every way! Don’t smoke, eat your 5-a-day, don’t sell yourself short (or cheap!), drugs are pointless and protection exists for more than one reason! If you respect yourself, others will respect you too.
If you follow my “photo of the day” you’ll know I was recently whisked away to the beautiful, historical and captivating city of Rome. I have always wanted to go and it was even more important I looked good for this trip because I was away with a boy! The trouble was, I had no idea if it was going to be hot or cold, wet or snowing, if I needed smart clothes or casual ones etc, etc. With strict weight limits on luggage these days and extra charges for checked luggage, I was determined to take only what I needed so I could carry it on.
We’d be walking a lot, seeing sites, climbing up Spanish Steps and so on, so I needed to be comfortable and practical in my choices but I also want to look chic! I first thought about my feet; Rome is notoriously hard on the feet with cobblestones commonplace throughout and sites a good distance from each other. I decided on my comfortable and stylish grey Jones Bootmaker shoes and a pair of heels in case I felt brave one night! The best thing about my Jones Bootmaker shoes are that they go with so many things. They dress down dresses, look casual with a pair of jeans and even add a cute touch to mini-skirts. You can wear with them with tights when its cold, little socks when its warmer and the whole time be smiling away because your feet don’t hurt for a second! Therefore, those are the exact items I packed to go along with them. You may very well be thinking it is a little odd to plan my whole long-weekend away’s outfits around shoes…but it really is the most important thing to get right on a city break.
During our time in Rome, we went to as many places as our feet would carry us and doing it all on foot meant we really got to explore Rome’s historic streets and found ourselves immersed in flower markets, military parades and quaint Italian Piazza’s.
You can’t come to Rome and fail to see the Colosseum. It really is a “must” do and it is just as impressive on the inside as it is on the outside. It is captivating to look at and being able to go inside and walk around brings the history to life. I found it quite haunting to imagine what it must have been like for the Romans at that time, especially for the Gladiators who risked death each time they fought. They were mainly, criminals and slaves who were up against wild animals like bears and lions (who’s skeletons are now displayed)! I wish you could actually go down further into the depths of the amphitheatre as this may help give a more realistic sense of scale and perspective. My tips for here would be to get the audio guide rather than a tour guide, this gives you the freedom to explore on your own time and although the guides are English-speaking, they are not native English and were very hard to understand. Also, when it is busy outside, take a walk round to the other side to see the Colosseum from a different angle and perspective. You may also get better photos here! Also, if you are a memeber of the EU, you get in for half the price too which is a bonus so take along your passport or driving license!
We also made sure we went to Vatican City on the Wednesday so we could see the Pope in the flesh! Neither of us is particularly religious but I thought we should go as we were there. This experience was probably the worst thing about the day as you enter a very modern “Church” round the back of the St. Peter’s Basilica and it looks just like a school hall, packed with people and I had to watch the TV screens provided to see the Pope anyway! However, Vatican City itself lives up to its reputation and is beautiful, vast and very well looked after. If you go all the way there, you must make sure you go into the Sistine Chapel. It is really quite amazing, far more so in life than people are ever able to describe. Entry to the Museum is worth it but make sure you know what you want to see before you go because there are over 200 rooms and it would take 7 years for you to see everything on display! All tour guides here are native English and they know what to show you and how to get about so I think they are worth the expense! All religious sites in Rome require for your arms, chest and knees to be covered so make sure you go prepared if visiting in the summer.
From here, I’d recommend walking down to the river and crossing the famous Ponte Sant’Angelo (bridge with Angel statues on it!). It is very pretty and on a sunny day, provides the perfect setting for a romantic stroll. You can walk to Piazza Navona from here too and grab a beer in the local restaurants, check out the market and be entertained by endless street-theatre. After you’ve rested your feet for a little while, stroll across to Piazza della Rotunda, a small square with one of the most amazing sites in Rome, the Pantheon. It is free to go in and look around and they invite you to prey with them for the religious among the tourists twice a day. I won’t spoil it for you, just make sure you go!
You’ll often be told when visiting Rome that the Spanish Steps are a “must” but I wouldn’t kill yourself going. They were just covered in students eating their lunch and the volume of people around there is quite uncomfortable. Walk past and see them but I would not recommend spending ages walking up etc, there are far better things to see! This could be said too of the Trevi Fountain although this is really beautiful and I think should be seen but I wouldn’t recommend lingering. We did as we were told and bought ice-cream from their famous shops and threw 3 coins into the fountain for luck! It was lovely but very, very busy and if you ask me, there are nicer places for ice-cream in Rome!
My Top Ten Valentine Dresses
Hello All! A rather late, Happy New Year and SORRY for being so terrible at blogging lately. I damaged my hands a while back and was asked to keep my typing and computer usage to a minimum HOWEVER, I am bursting to show you these cute dresses so, here they are…
Valentines day is quickly approaching and regardless of your “relationship status”, it is nice to spend the day with that special someone or the special people you love. I always dress a little bit “valentines themed” and there are some gorgeous dresses out there to chose from this year. I have selected a mix of casual and formal, red and pink dresses that would look suitably adorable whatever you are doing! Also, if any men are looking for gift ideas, these should help give you an idea. Happy Shopping!! X
Faux Eyelashes Made Simple!
If, like me, your meamorphsis from a Day Look to Night Look consists of refreshing your eye liner, glossing your lips and vamping your hair then I beg you to try something new . With party season in full swing and as New Years Eve is just days away, there is no better excuse to make more of a statement and I promise you, it takes far less time than I ever imagined.
Your eyes are the key to adding that night time glamour and no mascara accentuates the eyes like faux eyelashes! I used to hate them, I thought they looked too false and heavy, but over time, the creators of faux lashes have perfected their design and now they look far more natural and the biggest bonus of all, application has become easier and quicker than ever before.
I tried out Eylure Naturalites Evening Wear - available from Boots, Very and John Lewis. It took me less than two mins for each eye to apply the thin layer of glue and get the lashes in place on the eyelid. I then finished the look off with some smokey-eye make-up, which takes no time at all and adds a touch of drama! Very quickly I had a complete, glamorous night-time look and I felt sexier and more “vampy” than I normally do!
Give it ago and let me know how you get on!
On my first day in South Africa I took myself off to a craft fair just on the edge of Cape Town. I always love wondering the stalls, seeing what people make, observing what others purchase and anticipating that one special find! I was kinda hoping for something “Super South African” and what I mean by that is something with a fantastic animal print or African inspired jewelry…
However, what I did find couldn’t honestly be further from it but it’s still awesome! Feathers are very “in” right now but I’ve never been about following trends too much. Yet, I do think there is something quite lovely about feather fashion, it is soft, feminine and makes a real stand-out statement in your hair.
The Little Hattery caught my eye right away! Their stand was brilliantly colourful and their eccentric designer and her bow-tie wearing dog were hard not to notice. I loved so many of her little hats, fascinators and masks that I spent about an hour browsing her collection and trying on various…no make that most of her stock! Every single one is handmade and 100% unique in style. No one will have the same one as you!
I settled on a white and baby pink fasinator that was simple yet has a cute, flirtatious effect. However I also snapped up a very striking black and white one with animal print feathers that satisfied my desire for something that would remind of where I bought it.
I didn’t stop there…I also picked up a delightful little hat with fuchsia pink flowers and pearl detail. I couldn’t resist! As their website says, “Life Should Always Be Fun!” and these hats certainly add a fun, playful touch to any outfit! I going to team mine with my favorite Little Black Dress for a party this Christmas…photos to follow I promise!
Check out their website for your own one of a kind signature accessory! www.thelittlehattery.com
I am off for some adventures in South Africa this week and I was looking for something to keep their summer sun off my face! I’ll be doing lots of “stuff” outdoors and seeking out the shade in the heat of the day will probably not be that easy. So I went in search of a sunhat to help solve my dilemma! I thought that the chic thing right now was to go with the large, floppy style hat in bright colours so you looked classic but with a modern twist. It is all about the eyes in hats like this; a smoldering look from behind the brim at your man across the table…So I figured this wasn’t for me seeing as I am going away with my Mum! Also hats like this can own you, overpower an outfit and don’t always “go” with everything you wear. If it was just a beach/pool, sun, sea and sangria holiday, I’d be tempted. But it doesn’t suit the environment so that idea is out!
I then came across this gorgeous straw boater displayed delicately in a shop window in my hometown of Christchurch. With its over-sized flower detail, modern boater shape and neutral colour, I fell instantly in love. However, straw doesn’t “give” and I was worried it might be uncomfortable to wear but I was pleasantly surprised and snagged this bargain for a mere £6! It is ideal for my trip and will work with pretty much any outfit. Check out more of their range at KiKi’s Boutique.
It is party season once more and many of us have several events to juggle which means we also have several outfits to plan. It can be expensive to keep getting new hot, on trend dresses to dazzle the crowd in so I’ve come up with a few tips to help make an old outfit look fresh, to make the same outfit look different and to generally just rock the party season like a pro!
1. Switch up your Shoes! To give your outfit the edge, team it with some really bright heels. That simple change can make the most casual of ensembles a little more glam. Wearing the same Little Black Dress you wore last year? Bright red heels or cute detailed shoes like these from Kurt Geiger will really make you stand out!
2. Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize! Bright, bold, over-sized jewelry can dress up a simple dress and give it some added flare. However, you might rather just accessorize with an embellished bag as it gives the same results.
3. Don’t Crash Diet! Instead make it all about the outfit and find a dress that flatters your body. Crash dieting only makes your first drink go straight to your head and you feel low on energy all day.
4. Dressing for your Body! It is probably the most important factor of them all. If you have legs to die for or a cleavage to make Christina Hentricks envious, make sure you find a dress that shows off your very best feature. This will give you a confidence you’ll radiate all night and you’ll turn heads wherever you go.
6. Remember Facebook! A dress can be see-through or underwear shows through and you don’t notice until it is too late. Snap a picture of yourself before you go out to prevent any regrets later!
7. Always have a Back-up! You can never be too careful. A zip might break, you might feel bloated or a sequin could come loose. Having a plan B is always a good idea and saves a big panic on the day.
8. Pick a drink and stick to it! There is nothing worse than feeling like you made a fool of yourself the night before. Pick a drink at the beginning of the night and keep drinking it. Mixing just gets you more drunk quicker and makes you feel like hell the next day!
9. Hot Hair! There is a saying that your hair is your biggest accessory so make the most of it. Practice before the event so you don’t stress out on the night and play around with different styles. Also pick a hair-do that will best show off your dress. For instance, a strapless number often works best with a chic up-do.
10. Most importantly, have fun! Mingle with friends and strangers alike. Keep conversation light and relaxed. If you look and feel fantastic, your confidence will run through to every aspect of the night!
Do you have any hot tips?? Let me know!
Keeping things Chalet Chic…
I have always found that dressing fashionably and keeping warm, don’t always go hand in hand. I think this is especially true for women because wearing lots of layers and covering up from head to toe can sometimes take away our “edge”. However, this season, the fashion world has decided that bright bold colours are IN and the oversized slouch look is still the way of the future.
In particular, I’m talking jumpers and cardigans, those items that can look bulky and unflattering have been designed to look effortlessly chic and fun too. With the high-street and designer stores alike embracing different textures, daring colours and cutesy animal patterns, your comfortable and practical clothing can now say as much about you as your cute outfit underneath. The fashion world call it “Chalet Chic”, I think of it more as a Classic Winter look. I grew up with my parents wearing this sort of thing, I even used to laugh at them for it, now I think they were just ahead of their time…
Here are my Top Ten Picks for an affordable yet stylish way to bring your winter wardrobe right up to date.
Disney does Couture – did you know?!
I’m massively excited about this weeks blog post because I get to talk to you about accessories I really love, that you can never have too much of and that make a real statement too. I have always been a Disney Princess fanatic. I was lucky enough to be a child when The Little Mermaid and Beauty and The Beast were out for the first time with their magical songs and iconic animation so I’ll always have happy memories conjured up whenever I think of it. However, as I got older, it was more difficult to carry this love through to my style. A Snow White tee-shirt suddenly didn’t look quite so cool! Yet that is when I discovered that Disney had solved this problem the way they solved many of my childhood ones…Say hello to Disney Couture.
It’s been around for quite some time now yet still has a fairly small but dedicated following. First off, the quality of the product is, in my opinion, flawless. Often I buy cute accessories like this and bits break off or the clasp breaks because they’ve been made of far cheaper material than I was lead to believe. Yet if you spend £55 on a necklace, you know it will last you. I’ve had this necklace, above, for over a year and it still looks good as new.
However, what really sells it to me is the detail that’s been put into it. When you open up the locket, you see the Alice in Wonderland Melting clock with a rabbit as the hand and it’s cute message to you make you smile. All these little things show there was a lot of thought that went into the design and no corners were cut.
Last Christmas I was also given a sweet Tinkerbell necklace with interchangeable charms which I often wear to make an outfit more playful and youthful.
I personally think there is something for most girls here and these make ideal Christmas gifts (hint hint!). Here are a few of my favorites…let me know yours! Disney Couture also sell rings, bracelets, earrings and charms from a rang of films in a range of styles.
A few online stores sell Disney Couture but I’ve found this place to be the best:
A Sika idea for Christmas!
More Sika Designs for you this week as I show off this rather delicious number I purchased for the Christmas season. It is just such a special dress for me because of the bold pattern, the classic cut and quirky details. I’ve worn it out only once so far but it turned heads from both men and women wherever I went and I received countless compliments about it.
I feel so elegant wearing their dresses and although they aren’t for everyday, they make a real statement at a party or special event. This is my perfect dress for Christmas because of the seasonal colours, the playful bow and high collar. I love the big red flowers, I think they are what really makes this dress stand out.
If you are looking for something special this Christmas, head over to their website. They can custom make dresses to suit your preferred cut and fabric and they even make adorable dresses for little girls!
To achieve this look I added a black Tutu underskirt, black shear tights and black heels. I also did my hair with a 50′s quiff for a playful way to complete the look. Do you like?!
I am feeling very lucky as I find myself struggling to pack for my two weeks of winter sun in Egypt. I have been cast as Leah, a woman on honeymoon, in the first of five short films shot by Realm Pictures as part of their Underwater Realm project. Eek how exciting this all is but …Eek…what to pack, what to pack! I am already WELL aware that I will be the only member of the cast and crew giving this so much thought. However, I want to feel comfortable, look good and fit in around Egypt so I feel it deserves some of my attention.
First off, what to wear to the airport and on the plane. This is particularly tricky in winter as I don’t want to freeze this side or boil on the other. So I opt for a casual blue dress, teaming it with a thin cardigan and throwing my leather jacket over the top, both of which can be removed once I’ve arrived. I also threw on some tights which can be removed and wore flats that worked for both bare leg and tights! Problemo solved.
Secondly, I hate strap marks from the sun at the best of times, but being filmed meant it was all the more important I didn’t get any. I got myself onto ASOS and thanks to it now being winter here, picked up some very nice bargains on strapless bikinis in their winter sale…Oh hell yeah!
Next I wanted to make sure I had clothes that covered my legs and chest should we go anywhere that this would offend. Again, the winter sales came through for me and I got myself three lovely maxi dresses from French Connection, ASOS and Vero Moda that worked like a charm and looked stylish. I also threw in some wide-leg floral trousers I got in River Island as they are cool to walk around in and look feminine and stylish too.
As a way to accessorize, I packed a few pretty headscarves as they look good and for practicality…they keep my hair off my face!
Check out what I got up to over there in the blog dedicated to our week of filming!
I’ve never been much of a makeup junkie. I love creams and lotions that make my skin feel and look great but I have always felt makeup has threatened that skin-feel-good-feeling. I also never learnt how to apply it properly. What foundation suits my skin tone? How do I and why would I use a lip liner? How do I get the eyeliner to go on straight?! As you can probably tell, I am a little hopeless. As I’ve aged though, I’ve experimented with a few things and makeup artists at shoots have kindly offered advice and answered my questions.
However, I can’t help but feel the natural look works best. I’m not saying not to wear makeup, just that less is often more. To achieve it is easy and the low maintenance of the look makes it desirable to anyone with a busy life!
First off, find a good foundation that you love and stick to it. Go around all the makeup stands in Boots or Selfridges talking to sales teams, trying the makeup and seeing what feels best to you. My only sweeping foundation statement is: it needs to be light-weight. Anything that sits too heavily on the skin will not only look like a mask of makeup but it will clog up your pours and stop your skin from breathing. Foundation needs to be yellowy in tone to help conceal imperfections and even out your skin tone. You’ll know you’ve found the right one when it seems to just disappear into your skin upon application.
Secondly, apply eye makeup that is earthy in tone. Browns, beige, gold or plum for shadows and brown or charcoal gray for liner. I also prefer a brown mascara because it makes your lashes look your own, not false. Of course, you could always skip right to applying mascara if you want to keep the makeup really light. However, I think at least a bit of liner helps your eyes to pop.
Thirdly, put a small amount of blush on the highest part of your cheekbone. To choose a blush colour that is natural, find one that is the colour of your skin after you exercise!
It is up to you if you want to bother with lipstick or gloss but to achieve the look below, I just applied a nude lip with a bit of Vaseline over the top.
Simples! All in all it should take no more than 5 minutes of your time and you’ll look fresh, alert and natural.
When I get ready each day, I have a few little rituals I rarely don’t do. There is the daily all body moisturise, cleanser,toner and facial moisturise, the GHD styling of my hair, application of eyeliner and mascara and…oh of course, the putting on of clothes!
It is impossible to leave the house without doing all of these things and they are now second nature to me, I have become so speedy at all of them, I’m usually ready before the men in the house. However, one thing I am also religious about is wearing matching underwear. I used to think I did this for the effect it had on my boyfriend, but when we broke up, I remained in this routine. I tried not to, but felt less attractive somehow, less comfortable.
I also can’t stand when people can see my underwear through my clothes. In few circumstances, this is fashionable and acceptable but more often than not, it just looks a little…cheap. I have spoken to lots of women about this and they all tend to agree that having a bra-strap on show or patterned bras showing through thin t-shirts is something they feel embarrassed and frustrated by. Sigh…
So how do we solve it? Well here is a list of Do’s and Don’t that should help!
1. Find out your correct size. There is nothing more uncomfortable or more unflattering than an ill-fitting bra. Any decent underwear shop provide this service free of charge and it takes less than 1 minute so there are no excuses!
2. Get a range of styles. This allows you to have a bra for all of your outfits and means you can make the most of your assets. For instance: the balconette bra looks great wearing a low cut sundress but shows up under t-shirts and looks less flattering than a full-cup bra.
3. Get a range of colours. If you are wearing Black and have a white bra on underneath, the chances are the whole room knows. Black under red rarely works and white under white never works…make sure you purchase a nude set too! I could go on but I think you get the point, you need to cover all your bases!
4. As sexy as they are NOT – T-shirt bras are handy as hell. Get a black, a white and a nude and knickers for each. These are great on those days you feel you need comfort over style. They also never show up under blouses/t-shirts/tanks etc.
5. Found a set of underwear you love? Buy more than 1 of the bottom. When I shop, I try to purchase at least 2 of the bottom, often they vary them and offer a thong, or a pant, or a french knicker. It means the set lasts longer and the bra can be worn more than once each week! You own less underwear this way but it allows you to always match.
6. Get a great strapless. It is a lot more attractive under tank-tops and strappy-tops and means the eye is directed to the right place…not to your bra straps.
7. Feel Sexy!
1. Spend lots of money on underwear you don’t know will fit. Make sure you always try Bras on in store.
2. Have straps on show when you don’t need to. It is never the way forward. Got a low cut back on a dress or top…there are brilliant solutions to this problem out there! Don’t settle.
3. Wash bras too often in the machine or in really hot water. Often just a rinse in the sink will do it. They last so much longer this way!
4. Let a man tell you what’s sexy. You decide and you stick to it. Wearing the right underwear makes a real difference to how your clothes sit on you and how you feel about yourself. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean its not the most important part of your outfit…
Good Places to shop for bras are La Senza, Marks and Spencer and Figleaves. I personally prefer M & S. Their bras are sexy, comfortable and reasonably priced.
I rarely leave home without it…
…A Pashmina of course! I honestly can’t put enough weight behind the power that the Pashmina holds. For a start, its stylish, but pushing that aside, it’s many practical uses make it a wardrobe essential in my eyes. Here’s a few things I use mine for…
1. Well first off…it is a scarf so…I use it for that.
2. It makes a plain outfit that bit more interesting. Jeans and a blazer isn’t exactly super exciting but throw on a bright Pashmina and we have something a little extra.
3. They add a touch of sophistication to any cocktail dress. It is a cheap yet effective tactic.
4. In turn, they help to take the edge off of the chill on a night out.
5. They work wonderfully as a blanket when on a cold plane – and lets face it, planes are always freezing!
6. Heading to the beach? Throw one around you!
7. I like to use mine as a blanket too on those days when I have an impromptu picnic!
If they aren’t seven reasons to make sure you go out a buy one I don’t know what are!
Advice for New Acting Grads…and old ones!
As a fresh wave of graduates joins the flood of Actors already out there competing for roles, I can’t help but think back to last year when I graduated and joined the “real world”. One thing acting school does not (and probably cannot) prepare you for is just how tough it is day in, day out.
Most of us leave with our degrees in hand having trained in our art. We feel hopeful, excited and optimistic that we will be successful and make a career out of it. Most of us have been told how tough it is, warned of just how much competition there really is out there, heard the realities of the ongoing expenses that the business demands. Most of us “think” we are prepared for it. Being told something and experiencing it are incredibly different and no words can really prepare you for the emotions that go hand-in-hand with these harsh truths. None of us would even bother if we thought for one moment we couldn’t overcome all the trials and tribulations. All actors must have absolute belief that we are talented, we are what “they” are looking for and maybe, just maybe, we will get the part!
And I’m not saying that we won’t. But there are thousands and thousands of super talented actors sadly out of work growing frustrated and tired. So, I have put together a list of tips for any recent Grads who might feel a little lost now they are “out” and ultimately, on their own.
- Don’t wait for work to come to you. If you are lucky enough to have an agent – awesome. If you don’t, this is not as “terrible” as you are led to believe. You have hundreds of small theatres, pub theatres and studios willing to let young creatives take over the space and put on a night of theatre for little money or even a share of the ticket price. This can be done fairly cheaply and it’s a good opportunity to invite along industry folk who you want to work with. A perfect example of how successful this can be are Made From Scratch. A theatre company set up in 2009 by two graduates from Rose Bruford who has regularly showcased new writers, directors and actors around the capital. They started out small putting on Scratch Nights – a short play or a collection of short plays and monologues but two years later they are off to Edinburgh Festival with their first full length play.
- Don’t under estimate Social Media. Get out there; join forums, even the most unlikely of websites such as LinkedIn can connect you to hundreds of writers, directors and other actors all looking to collaborate. Working with people on fresh new material is incredibly exciting. Make sure that across the board you are saying the same thing about yourself, all your credits are up to date and your images/showreel are the same. You are a brand; it is part of your job to brand yourself across all forms of social media professionally and consistently. Twitter, Facebook, Ideastap as well as CastingCallPro and Spotlight all connect you to people just like you and tell you industry information!
- Know your Industry. Find out when that musical/TV series you are dying to star in is casting and independently of any agent you might have, write the Director or CD an email or a letter (yes letter!! Think how many emails they get…letters are quite novel!) and express what character you are interested in, enclose your CV and Headshot (and CONTACT info). It will probably produce little reward but…what if that one person reads it and wants to see you. You have nothing to lose so do it! Also as a side note: keep your emails/letters short and to the point. They do not have the time to read your life story. In addition, tailor each letter, express praise for something you know they recently worked on etc.
- Pay Attention and Know what’s going on. You don’t have endless funds but you can get some cracking deals on theatre tickets if you do your research! Go and SEE theatre, watch that independent film, read interviews, reviews, take an interest in those who are casting or about to start working on their next project. We have the internet, The Stage, countless journals and blogs. There is no excuse not to know what is going on.
- Never Stop Learning. Keep your training up; movement, voice, being present. I’m not saying we “forget” but under the pressure of an audition, if these things are no longer like second nature you may just “forget” to perform to your best. There are countless reputable companies offering cheap workshops for actors to get involved in and keep refining their skills. (Social Media sites regularly advertise these)
- Talk to each other. So you’ve heard about a casting of a play…do you know anyone you have worked with or went to school with that could play one of those roles?! Talk to them and send them the details… next time, they might just return the favour. Remember, we are all competing but that’s no reason not to let each other know about things and help each other out. Also as a side note: just because your friend is doing well, doesn’t mean you aren’t. You are on different paths and acting in a turbulent business. Be happy for your friends when they are doing well, they will find it much easier to be happy for you when your turn comes.
- Always Attend Castings. We have all been there when we have received instructions to attend an audition and we look at the breakdown and go…erm…this isn’t my casting. To be honest, that isn’t your job to decide. Do your best with the material you’ve been given, go there with confidence and give it your all. You never know, you may just surprise yourself…and the casting directors.
- Look after yourself. You are going to get stressed. You will have times of immense frustration. Make sure you sleep well, drink lots of water, moisturise your skin, maintain your hair/nails/figure. It sounds so silly but you have no idea when you will be hired, you need to make sure you are always ready to perform, ready to audition and ready to be seen. Keeping control of yourself (your brand) will make you feel more in control of your career. You don’t want the fact that you look shattered to be the reason you don’t get hired. Also, stress and frustration can easily spiral into depression if you lose sight of your goal and feel sorry for yourself for too long.
- Be Realistic and Stop to take Stock. Don’t get upset and frustrated because it hasn’t happened yet. Every achievement, no matter how small is still an achievement. It means you’ve got yourself out there, been proactive and hopefully helped your career. So many times we are thinking about that next show, or the audition we have coming up after closing night or “that’s a wrap” has been shouted we forget to give ourselves a small pat on the back. Of course focus on what is next; but also stop and take notice of what you’ve achieved. If you’ve had a whole day of sending out CVs/Headshots and researching what’s casting, you should still see that as a small achievement. So many actors sit back and wonder why people aren’t knocking on their door for work; at least you’ve been doing something.
- Remember; If you quit today then I guarantee you would have made it tomorrow. Keep with it for as long as your dream is alive. If you realise this career if not for you, that is one thing; but if you’re sat, reading this, unable to imagine a life without performing…remember that phrase. It will pick you up when times get tough.
All that is left to say is…Break a leg! Let me know your thoughts on this blog – you can find me on Twitter @k8hollowood and if you have any questions or queries, I’d love to hear from you.
One Year in the “real world”
It’s been a year since I graduated and I can’t help wonder…what the hell have I achieved in the last 12 months? I was so excited to get out of uni and throw myself into “real life”. I wasted no time at all and moved to London as soon as I could, managed to land a fairly well paid job in Mayfair that would be flexible when it came down to auditions and managed to keep my interests in live music and unsigned artists alive!
Ugh how optimistic.
In the 12 months since being in London, I’ve bounced around homes, lived with family, the flatmate from Perv Street and boyfriend plus various friends along the way. My supposedly flexible job turned into a nightmare that consisted of being bored, being bullied daily and guilt tripped anytime I took advantage of the “flexible” arrangement we’d agreed. My interest in music was as alive as ever but my ability to attend gigs and festivals faltered with ever growing exhaustion and lack of funds. And ACTING… what happened to that?? Apart from my daily performance as Happy Office Manager (which trust me, even I can admit I wouldn’t have won any awards for!) and the inevitable “how successful are you” conversations with strangers; I have hardly done anything! It is not for lack of trying at all, but holy shit (!) it is fricking tough! Tougher than anyone ever said and just trying to be an actor is a full-time job.
So. A year down the line. What have I achieved? Hmmm…I have this overwhelming feeling that I am a failure. The sensible side of my brain tells me that, of course, that is stupid. I have performed my own play in London this year, been involved in putting on an unsigned music competition, made some incredible new friends, discovered a lot about myself (and started up this blog)! However, the emotional side just focuses on where I still find myself; am I really any further forward than I was on my graduation? I certainly feel just as lost and unsure as I did a year ago although I’m probably wiser in some areas.
I guess I just need to keep doing what I’m doing and plugging away. Hopefully this time next year I’ll have something more to write home about…!
Being The “Other” Woman
I was having a few drinks with the girls a little while ago and we (inevitably) got onto the subject of men. We discussed all the usual dramas in a scene typical of Sex in the City (with wine instead of cocktails) when one blurted out that she had started seeing a married man from her office.
I sat back and listened for a while to all the usual excuses…why she thinks her situation is different from most and why he really is a “lovely guy”. And as I watched her doing her best to make us see her point of view I couldn’t help think that, for the first time in my life…I am friends with The “Other” Woman.
She is a kind, fun, outgoing girl who would be there in a flash when times got tough for any of us. I didn’t judge her but I felt overwhelmed with a mix of surprise, concern and disappointment. I just couldn’t get my head around the fact that she thought what they were doing was OK. She certainly felt it was only him who should feel guilty and her morals suddenly became incredibly ambiguous.
I reminded her of when previous boyfriends had cheated or left one of us for The “Other” Woman…how that made us feel, how we hated that woman…but she didn’t seem to “get it”. She was utterly convinced their situation was unique and special.
Naturally she was defensive. But the three of us laid out the facts as plainly as we could and I thought I’d share…in case you have found yourself in a triangle or…you are thinking about it…
1. Every woman who is The “Other” Woman thinks that their situation is unique, thinks they are somehow different. Often The “Other” Woman doesn’t see themselves that way and why?… because they are the woman none of us want to be, we all despise and we all think we will never be. However when you discount the excuses, reasoning and slanted view you have, every “unique situation” has the same core elements.
2. Men who cheat are selfish and show no respect for the woman they are with. These are not the kind of men you want to be involved with. Men are especially good at compartmentalising their life but it’s scary when they are too good at it. You are in one box and his wife is in another…and who else?
3. Still The “Other” Woman six/seven months down the line… this man is comfortable with the set up as it is now. If he really loved you and he respected his wife, he would make his choice and be happy with it. But he isn’t making a choice, he is happy just plodding along and he gets want he needs from both of you.
4. These men think they are good people. They are very good at justifying their actions and are unable to see they are in the wrong.
5. Holy! The sex is good, right? Guess what…it’s because the situation wrong! – awesome dysfunctional sex. When you’re The “Other” Woman all you feel for the man is heightened and exaggerated because of the situation you are in. You want each other all the time because you have to pretend you don’t to everyone else. You are in a secret club with only each other and that is exciting and sexy. In the back of your mind though…you will start to wonder what are his feelings? Will he leave one day? Who is more important? Is it just a matter of time? Is he sleeping with her? Blab la…all of this and more will play on your mind and on your heart.
6. Don’t you want to be his number one?
7. But he moans about his wife, doesn’t he? She doesn’t understand him or listen to him or give him enough attention. Men will always carry a little boy around in them and the ones that cheat are the least mature of them all. How easy for him to think that you do all of the things that his wife doesn’t. Do you wash his pants? Or cook him dinner? Are you raising his children? Live a “normal” life in a balanced relationship and see if things don’t go the same way…marriage and long term relationships can get stale. You are not the answer…not the long term one anyway!
8. Would you ever be able to trust him? If he did leave her, if he really was in love with you, honestly, wouldn’t you just be waiting for it to happen to you?
9. Are you really that happy? Is this what you wanted from a relationship?… Is this how you saw yourself?
I was pleased to learn a few days ago that she had ended it, she realised we were right and that what we had said was out of love and not because we judged her. However, I have to admit I am slightly…wary now. It has left a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth. I am a firm believer that whether your the one doing the cheating or the one the cheater is cheating with…you are betraying a basic moral code and acting selfishly and thoughtlessly. If you are willing to do that, can anyone trust you? And isn’t that an incredibly sad thing?
Round One, Week Four: Shoreditch, Songs and Sundresses
Well first off, today I quit my job in Mayfair. The whole thing happened in a rather peculiar way and I start the night off feeling a little uneasy. Its the final four acts in our shortlist of 16 so I’m hoping for a good turnout and for a few drinks! The Music League kicks off its first of two nights at The Hoxton Pony in Shoreditch, a popular after-work watering-hole for under 25s so it’s already heaving. I track down Sophie and our TML Photographer (and my good friend Matt) and tell them about my day…they congratulate me and get me a beer…the peculiar feeling starts to lift! Jonathan arrives and we all relax as the bands sound-check and do a little more people watching!
Tonight I’ve gone for a white and black summery dress as London’s turned up the heat. Its one of the first things I bought from Dahlia and one of the dresses I’ve had the least chances to wear. What I really love about it is the detail on the back, it has a horseshoe shape cut out with black thread going round it. To cinch in the waist it has a back velvet band under the bust and the underlining stops just above the bust allowing for skin to show through the lace at the top. All these little details are delicious and make the dress really special and alone, it is a standout piece.
The night was crackin’ and I’m sad to say goodbye to 8 of our 16 bands. However, next week we have Round Two to see which of our bands makes it through to Winterwell Festival. Come on down to The Hoxton Pony to party like its 1999!!
Round One: Night One – My Comparing Antics and Outfit!
This week I was thrilled to be presenting for The Music League at the The Shoreditch in…erm Shoreditch! The first round of the competitions has 16 acts taking part and the first night delighted us to the musical stylings of the Greenwich Tea Party, Dan Shears, Will Robert and Tape. Never heard of them?? That’s OK…you’re not supposed to as this competition is all about unsigned up-and -coming talent.
Sophie asked me to compare alongside the wonderful Jonathan Rodden who I’d had the pleasure of spending three years of drama school with. We’d figured that our improvisational skills would kick in and all would be brilliant but perhaps we should have prepared more than just our outfits as our presenting left a lot to be desired! It was a hell of a lot of fun though and I got to hear some cool music and hang out with some very nice people in the process.
I also got to debut in my new Dahlia dress which I’m madly in love with. The orange is a really playful colour and certainly reflected that side of me here! I teamed it with a cute little black cropped jacked I got in Nordstrom when I was in Florida last year and black heels to sexy it up a little. I also cinched in my waist with a black belt covered in silver studs just to show off my figure a little more. I kept accessories down to a minimum as I love the Peter Pan collar with its sweet bow detail and didn’t want to take away from it. I felt really good in this outfit and I think Jonny and I look like a great team (even if we didn’t perform like one!)
Now, what to wear next week………?!
Moving On: Homecoming…
As I make the relatively short 2 hour journey back to my hometown, I feel the stresses of London life lifting. I find myself thinking of the last time I made this trip, remembering how I felt, remembering how it was all such a blur and that I just wished I wasn’t making the journey alone. As I turned the corner onto my road, I could hear the gentle crash of the sea against the shore, I looked out at the view that I used to see every day, its beauty, its calming effect on me and wondered…why the hell have I waited so long to come back?!
My Mum is simply amazing and could not do more to make a fuss and welcome me home. Its breakfast time and she’s cooking me pancakes (my favorite), singing along to her Dirty Dancing CD and I’m watching the sky change all sorts of colours as the sun comes out from behind the Isle of White. I’m struck again with the question…why have I waited so long to come back?!
The magical thing with living by the sea is that the view is essentially the same but it’s almost like its alive and its constantly changing, reflecting the weather, the seasons and the passage of time. As I have grown, my view has also grown and its something I have always taken great comfort in. Whenever I am away from the sea for too long, I miss it, I need to see it, breathe in the special sea air, see the open space and I have always, always said how much I appreciate the view I have from my home. I have never, ever stayed away for so long. I went to university in the local area, lived a mere 20 minute drive from my family home and although I always knew I’d move to London, I didn’t think I’s spend months without coming home. So… why? Why have I stayed away?
As I walk with some friends down to Mudeford Key and I snap pictures of the sunset in the spot that I have always called “Proposal Point” I finally accept the answer to my question. The reason I have stayed away for so long is because…everything here, everything about home and all I see when I look around are memories. There is an empty hole, that was once filled with a guy whose photos are still all over may room, whose clothes still hang in the wardrobe and whose shaver still rests on my sink.
I was struck with the realisation that we lived far longer as a couple here, “back down South” than we did anywhere else. Memories of our life together are far more prominent here and by being in London, I have escaped from that and been able to move forward. Being back home was like stepping back to months ago, when we were together, happy and unable to imagine not being “us”.
We spoke on the phone and I ended up in tears, telling him all the things I’d been remembering over the last few days. He was surprisingly understanding and related to all I was feeling, sharing with me his memories and moments since we split that have caught him by surprise.
I am far too sentimental for my own good and see “moments” and “times” in all corners of my home and I think I knew deep down, I’d struggle with coming back. When I was home before, I saw through blurry eyes and didn’t look around at the reminders quite as I do now. I think I also felt that if I’d come back before now, I’d have ended up wanting to stay. I needed the time to pave my own path in London and build a life for myself, make friends and discover new interests.
Although I realise these reminders won’t just “go away”. I have now at least faced up to them once, and hopefully each time I come back, I will contemplate our life together less and just live mine as it is now. I guess I just need to give time, time but know that it is also normal and healthy to remember.
Valentines Day Dresses
This year, I find myself alone for the first time in years on Valentines day. My good friend and even better actor buddie, Jofre, was taking part in The Secret Cinema and invited me to come along as a way to take my mind off it all. He drops in a few days before that it is fancy dress 1950′s style and I start to panic…What the hell am I going to wear?
In last minute situations such as these, I turn to another good friend… ASOS. First off, I knew I wanted to wear red. I absolutely HAD to wear red. I filtered down my search and trawled through the hundreds of dresses the site has to offer. With limited funds, time and choice, I went for a simple Vera Moda dress which was 1950′s style and wondered what to do…
When it arrived I grabbed my black Tutu, slipped it underneath and just like that, it started to come together! I teamed it with Nude heels to make my legs appear longer and finished the outfit off with a black belt to tie in the black Tutu and went off for my night of interactive theatre (which by the way, is fantastic and you must go!)!
I then went again a couple of nights later, this time wearing a simple black dress I forgot I owned and a long fur coat I had just been given. I still think I prefer the red dress but both looks made me feel and look the part. Which one do you prefer??