I chose Ellie for the V.O.W Project after my mum worked with the girls on the Alist and I was excited to meet people that I heard were good vibes that I wouldn’t have crossed paths with ordinarily. Showing that we can all find connections with one and other when we look and share.
For me this story is all about believing in yourself. Others can believe in you and see your potential but if you don’t see it, motivation isn’t the same.
"Being the youngest in my family, it can sometimes be difficult to get a word in. Especially when your family is filled with strong, opinionated women (now I’m not saying this is a bad thing at all, I love it) however sometimes you just shut up and go with the flow because it’s just much much easier than arguing. ”
Not to say I’m not opinionated myself, I am. But the thing is, when your decisions can be so easily made by others when you’re growing up, you may never gain a sense of your own identity and opinions. I’m generally a very easy going person too and being a pushover is something I’ve been guilty of in the past. I followed what I thought was right for me based on what my family wanted or, in fact, what I thought society expected of me.
I’m generally smart. Not like doctor or lawyer smart, but I work hard when I need to and I’ve always done pretty well when it comes to education. Because of this my school would try to influence me to go to university. Now I was pretty adamant that I wanted to go to drama school. I’ve always loved theatre and acting however they didn’t see that in me and were still fairly insistent that I attend university.
Looking back, this was a time I was confused. I didn’t want to
1) Spend a shit tonne of money on a degree I didn’t believe in and
2) I didn’t want to study drama at uni.
I remember asking my drama teacher about drama school but he wasn’t enthusiastic which made me think maybe I wasn’t good enough? And maybe I’d better defer that dream entirely. Fortunately I was in an amazing youth theatre that was run by the most amazing man, Rory.
He cared for all of the group like we were his kids and couldn’t have been more encouraging. The problem was, I had already written off the chance of ever becoming an actor because it seemed like a completely unattainable path.
I kept up acting as a hobby, but that was all it ever was.
This resulted in me taking a job in a corporate company. The reason why I took the job was because it (in fairness) was a good opportunity. The money was pretty decent for an 18 year old, there were opportunities to grow within the company and I liked the idea of working in London (mainly for the post-work drinks but hey ho). The problem was, I was really setting aside my actual dream and now looking back, I wish I hadn’t wasted that time. However I had no self belief. I worked there just over 3 years. I earned pretty good money for my age and I was doing better in my work than some of my colleagues 10 years my senior.
Whilst I was still working full time, my friends and I put on a play in a small pub theatre in London. This was where my life took a big u-turn. Rory (the lovely youth theatre owner) came to the play and brought along his friend who was a casting director. She saw me in the play and asked me to audition for a Netflix series. I was shocked! Me?!? Nevertheless I went to the audition and booked the job.
Booking that job made me realise, hold on… I could actually do this. This is attainable. I’ve just booked and filmed a Netflix series. I haven’t been to drama school, I don’t have professional training but I just booked a fucking Netflix series?! What the hell!! Things were going well.
Fast forward 5 years, I’m 23, my boyfriend (who I thought was the love of my life) has broken up with me and I haven’t booked a job in months. 2019 was hands down the shittiest year of my life. I was getting auditions left right and centre but booking absolutely nothing, not even getting a recall or feedback. My self belief was rock bottom, everything I thought I had going for me was no longer serving me and I felt like I had no purpose.
Since then the world has changed and we have all had to make our own way through this historic time we are living in (I’m referring to the pandemic obviously). However the only blessing I can take from the pandemic is I’ve had a lot of time to think and reflect on what I want and what serves me.
I read The Secret during lockdown and it completely changed my mindset. Since then, I have been practicing a new way of thinking on a daily basis. This includes believing in my abilities when it comes to acting. Despite all the negative and anxious thoughts, I can now push through and shut them down because now I believe.
I believe I am worthy, that I am capable and that I will be successful. I have control over my life, I know that whatever I desire is valid and brilliant - actually! The voices I hear in my head, my mum (sorry mum), my old school teachers, my friends saying that I should consider another path or I should have a back-up plan play over in my head but I now know to prioritise MY feelings over anything else. Not saying that I don’t listen to my friends and family or that I don’t appreciate their opinions but I whereas before I might had gone with what they say, I now know that I need to follow MY heart and believe that I can do what I set out to do.
Having the power of self belief is all I need to keep me going. It allows me to be capable, powerful and generally a boss bitch! Who doesn’t love that feeling??
It hasn’t been easy and somedays it would be much easier to give up but on days when I’m strong, I ride that wave and soak up every ounce of belief because it fuels me to be the best and happiest I can be.
The charity I have chosen is The Bancroft Players Amateur Dramatic Society. This is my beloved youth theatre back at home. I am forever grateful for all the memories and support Rory and the whole team have given me over the years. I know they will continue to do that for many other kids, whether they are aspiring actors or just need friendship and somewhere where they feel accepted.