Back In The Day…
I was a bit of a performer growing up, always doing impersonations of my family and performing in school plays. I always dreamed of being an actress so when I was 12 years old, my Mum took me to an audition for a 5 year theatre arts scholarship at John Curtin College of the Arts (which is where Sam Worthington studied!). They really liked my audition so I got a call back and the audition piece was Shakespears monologue All the World’s a Stage…quite a mature peice for a 12yr old!
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
I rehearsed that monologue over and over again, in front of absolutely everyone! Then when the day came for the audition, I was so nervous I almost puked before I went on stage!
About 2 weeks later I remember riding home from school thinking “this is the day I find out if I get in”. When I got home there was a letter with my name on it sitting on the dining table and all my family were huddled around the table waiting for me to get home and open it up. And I remember being sooo nervous yet excited at the same time. I quickly opened it and thankfully it was a letter of acceptance and that’s where my acting journey began!
I disliked school a lot but LOVED all my acting classes and received straight A’s the whole way through my scholarship. When I was in year 8, my brother and sister were in year 12 at different schools, and I remember being so jealous. I couldn’t believe I had 4 more years of being stuck in an institution! I was a free spirit from a very young age.
When I was 16 one of our acting teachers, Helen Godeke, asked us what we wanted to do when we finally left school. Before anyone got a word in, I yelled at the top of my lungs “I WANT TO MOVE TO SYDNEY!!!” And that I did 2 years later.
When I was 15 I started to do a bit of modelling work, much to my Mother’s consternation. This is a pic from my very first photo shoot…
My Mum was a very successful model back in her day, and knew how hard the industry could be and was much more in favour of me pursuing acting than modelling. But I wanted to be like Mum! I thought (and still do) she was the most beautiful woman in the world 🙂
Mum hated modelling even though she modelled for 12 years like myself! My Grandma forced her into it when they were living in Singapore (my Grandpa was a Wing Commander in the Royal Airforce and was posted there). Grandma entered Mum in lots of competitions which she almost always won…
This pic was shot in Sydney for a Cyclax campaign and launched Mum’s modelling career In Australia when she was 20…
As a graduation present, Mum sent me to the prestigious NIDA in Sydney when I was 17 to do a two week summer course. I had a blast and fell in love with the big smoke! My Mum thought I’d want to audition for the 3 year course, but the idea of being in an institute again was not appealing, and I had it in my head that I’d be able to ‘make it’ on my own. As much as I still loved acting and had ambitions of being a movie star, I had gotten a taste for modelling and wanted to travel and live the model life for a while.
I don’t have many regrets in life, but pursuing modelling instead of acting as soon as I left school and not auditioning for either NIDA, VCA or WAAPA, are definitely two things I wish I could go back in time and change.
Moving to Sydney at the tender age of 18, knowing no one, was both terrifying and exciting! My agency was Vivien’s, one of Australia’s longest running and successful agencies. I joined them in Perth once they opened an office there (my Mum was one of Vivien’s first models, so it seemed fitting :-)).
Vivien had a ‘model house’ in Vaucluse – an affluent suburb in Sydney. This house became my base for almost 2 years! Lots of fun times and shenanigans went on in this house…especially since it was for women AND men! It was the perfect house for a lot of us models who were going on interstate and international modelling trips, as we didn’t have to pay rent whilst we were away as there was almost always a bed free when we returned.
For a good 10 years, I travelled a lot to Asia. This was my most successful market…for some reason I always found it difficult to land regular work in Australia, yet the Asians loved my look.
The Actress Within..
I slowly started to get back into my acting along the way, taking several acting classes and workshops in Sydney and Melbourne and eventually got an acting agent. Although I always received accolades for my work, I felt very self-conscious a lot of the time and worried far too much about how I looked. On a subconscious level, I believe this was because I had been a model now for several years which is an industry based on how you look! I, at times, became too worried about looking silly instead of getting caught up in the moment of the scene. I always did and still do my best work when I am completely and utterly in character and in the moment…as every actor does.
Around this time in my early 20’s I started to grow a love for health & fitness. I’d always been a bit of a gym junkie, and with my Mum’s holistic influence, started to become more conscious of my health…to a certain degree! I did party quite a lot during my years in Sydney, let’s be honest, but I was always conscious of the effect it was having on my body…and this made me feel uneasy. When I was about 24, I did entertain the thought of becoming a personal trainer as a job to do ‘on the side’ but it didn’t end up happening…yet!
Stay tuned for part 2 where I get to the core of why I finally chose to pursue a career in health & wellness!