Did you always believe you would succeed as an actor?
Umm, that’s a tricky question. Yes, I guess is the honest answer, but there are reasons for that. Firstly, my dad was ‘in the business’ as a singing teacher and had a lot of experience teaching very famous people and dealing with all the things that brought. So, when I told him about my want to go, he had a very frank discussion with me about how it would be and whether I would be able to handle it. It didn’t deter me, I just saw it as a challenge and that was it. Secondly, I had the incredible fortune of meeting a particular director doing a national youth theatre production. Meeting him was the game changer as he taught me humility as a performer, introduced me to people SO much better than myself and started me on the path of work ethic, which is hugely important in my career. There are loads of days where doubt comes into your mind and I question what I am doing, but ultimately belief in my success has always been there otherwise I wouldn’t have pursued this career or put myself through what it takes to get here.
When did you realize you wanted to be an actor and why?
I grew up around a family of performers and did it as a child for fun but I never knew I wanted to be an actor at school. I was a show off (some of your teachers will vouch for that) but never even considered it because it wasn't "cool", I guess. I was a sportsmen through and through. While I was at college I fell into a pretty rough spot and wasn't attending and was getting in trouble and my sports stuff was becoming more difficult as I was 18 and it’s not free to do anymore etc. I followed a girlfriend into a show that my family were involved with and really enjoyed it. From there, I started doing more shows and finding my childhood love for it all over again. I remember sitting with my mum when I was asked to leave my college and talking about what I should do with my life...and in that conversation thought "well I like acting!" so decided to apply to drama school. The rest is history.
Was drama your favourite subject? If not what was?
No! In fact I hated it. Wasn’t interested in it as it wasn’t one of the ‘cool’ things to do. Plus I didn’t really get on with the teacher (sorry) so that really put me off. PE was my favourite. I loved the teachers and I excelled in it, so it felt like more of a break than a lesson! Competition has been one of my main obsessions in life.
Does ADHD affect your acting?
It can do. The main problem it causes me is with my focus as I am very easily distracted or if I am tired it gets a lot worse. Luckily I have found that acting is one of the few things that actually engrosses me and makes me want to learn and get better. One of the symptoms of ADHD is that you get hooked on one things or obsessed by it. Acting was that for me. Calms me down. Also being allowed to be a bit weird or different, not having to ‘conform’ or follow exact rules seems to channel it better too.
How have the Vodafone adverts changed your life or did you already have acting success?
I am lucky as an actor in that I have had some success, yes. Nothing of huge note, otherwise you may have already heard of me or recognised me from something, but I am very proud of the work I have done, especially in the theatre. Vodafone has been a blessing, simply put. It has completely changed my life as it has given me the financial means to not have to work in other jobs alongside my acting career or worry about much in that department. Always nice. It has also started to give me recognition within the industry as my face has been all over billboards and the TV for the last year so people recognise me a little when I go for auditions or if my agents talks about me to people, or just in the street! Which is nice, but very weird. It’s also been a great experience learning with this job as the shoots are very intense and long, plus you have to be able to adapt and stay patient as the client and production don’t always know what they are wanting so they shout a lot of different things at you so you have to respond, deliver fast and not get frustrated. I struggle with that sometimes, but it’s a vital skill to learn. Plus anything is practice and practice at your job is always good.
What else have you acted in?
I have had a little success all over the place. I started in theatre and have done huge productions all over the world. I did a musical in Toronto – Canada, and a trilogy of plays in Austria plus theatre in London, of course. I was the lead in a film shot in Brighton called Home for Christmas which was in the cinema, plus a small part in a film called ‘Dough’ that has had great success everywhere except the UK…so far. It’s a start and I’m proud of all my credits, hopefully they will continue to grow and get better and better.
Is dyslexia an obstacle in your acting career? Are there any other obstacles?
It’s testing but it’s not an obstacle because it’s so widely regarded as normal in my industry. The obstacle is only in my own frustrations with it. I wish sometimes I read better or could get engrossed in a book…I can’t, but that’s ok. As in most professions I think the main obstacle is yourself, but for me it definitely is. I can be very stubborn and get frustrated easily so I have to overcome that and look at all the good things and remember all I AM achieving, never what I’m not and to not beat myself up over the small things. Just keep going. Press on.
What do you owe your success to?
The people around me. I am lucky enough to have an incredible family that have cared even when pushed to the limit, and friends that keep me level and keep me going when I drop a bit. Though I have to mention 3 people outside of that. 1 – Mr Simon Potten who was one of my teachers and my mentor at Oakmeeds. He’s was insanely tough on me but always treated me with respect and stopped me falling down a really bad path early on. 2 – Jonathan Goodwin. The director from the youth theatre. Changed my mind set and truly set me on my path. 3 – My acting teacher at drama school, Vesna. Crazy but one of the most incredible and exciting people I have ever known. All three of these people saw more in me than I ever did and chose to push me (against my will) towards what I could achieve and not to just take the easy route. It took me a long time, but god am I grateful.
Are you working on any new projects now or have any coming up? If so what?
I am currently in New York City! I’m here working on a play just off Broadway and have signed with an Agent and a Manager out here which is very exciting indeed! Plus, still working with Vodafone on their future campaigns…for now at least.
If you could give one piece of advice to other dyslexics that are struggling, what would it be?
It truly doesn’t mean you are stupid or less smart than anyone else. I am very dyslexic and have to read for me job! 1 in 4 actors are dyslexic and it’s widely accepted in my profession as just something to deal with. So deal with it. Not knowing until I was 22 was really hard but as soon as I found out and had a reason for my struggling, it just made sense and I tackled it head on. Don’t make excuses, but own it and if you need more time on your work or whatever, ask. If you can’t read a word or don’t understand it, ask. There is NO shame in that because you are taking ownership of it and if people laugh at you then that’s their problem, you are learning and doing what YOU need too. That is what’s cool. Trust me. I constantly ask what words mean or get help reading certain things. Remember that EVERYONE excels in some places and struggles in others. So, I might not be good with words, but can you sing in front of 2,000 people? I hope that makes sense.