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Lisa's Story

I chose Lisa 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 collaboration is about finding beauty in the wildness. Both in nature and within ourselves. This kind of natural beauty is seen as “Imperfect” in this world of “Perfectionism”. For me nothing can be perfect, or everything is, as everything just is how it is. We are so quick to focus on our imperfections but don’t focus on all the things we like about ourselves and others. Judgment is inevitable with our human brains, but I think it is possible to focus this judgment in a more positive way than judging people and ourselves based solely on imperfections.

"“Grow through what you go through” 
I was born in Derby (...came out of the womb an animal lover...sensitive and wanting everyone/thing in the world to be OK) to a white British mother and a Sri Lankan father.”
I had a great childhood! Happy, healthy and full of love. I was aware of being mixed race, but didn’t think much of it...If anything it was cool, interesting and different to be able to say “My Dad was born in Sri Lanka”. But my dad grew up here in England and overall I had the same upbringing as anyone else in my village. We were just a regular, British family. I didn’t recognise that my Dad, brother and I looked different to my mum’s side of the family or the community around us, being mixed race was just my normal and I loved (and still love) both sides of my family. 
I was close to my parents, I loved my younger brother Dan, I loved all of our many pets and our old cottage home. I loved singing, dancing and performing for whoever’d watch and I had a small but very close group of friends I felt very comfortable with. Life was full of live music, family friends, reading books, watching musicals with my mum, family walks in the countryside, playing musical instruments with my dad, ballet classes and lots of dressing up. Me and my brother spent our days as Power Rangers, Jedi or running from dinosaurs in Jurassic Park (...aka. our garden). Nature, music and stories really shaped me as a person. 
As I neared my teenage years (along with the usual pre-teen issues like ‘big school’ and bullying) life got a bit tougher for my parents and they found themselves in some stressful situations. My sweet little childhood bubble was bursting a bit. As much as they tried their hardest to not let this affect me and my brother because they’re great parents, it was impossible for it not to. And so began my relationship with anxiety (...although I was too young to know that’s what it was at the time). I’m a naturally hyper and unfocused person, so mixed with anxiousness, worrying and overthinking I began to develop some bad habits that would bite me in the ass later in life. 
I also started to become very conscious of the fact that I looked very different to all my peers and everyone I saw on TV at the time. Even though I’m half white I don’t really look it (my features aren’t caucasian) and so I began to feel very different. Having a white mother and growing up in a white neighbourhood meant I didn’t have a brown female to look up to. 
I’ve always been a hard worker and high achiever, but I struggled to focus on my exams by the time I got to secondary school. With a very short attention span I was always better ‘doing’ than ‘studying’. I’m intelligent, but studying from a textbook was not my forté (I can’t sit still and have a terrible memory!)...but creative stuff...that I can do! And although I couldn’t remember anything or concentrate on one thing for long enough to get exceptional at it, I was able to do lots of different things well. Play multiple instruments, sing, dance, sew, draw, write, pick up languages quickly....’Jack of all trades, master of none’ is how I unashamedly and proudly describe myself! 
We had no money at the time so I started working at fourteen years old to make up for the fact that my parents couldn’t help me financially. I needed to be able to pay for my dance classes and, more importantly, do things with my friends! At one point, aged seventeen, I had two weekend jobs alongside going to school. It was very stressful, but it taught me a lot. I may not have finished school with grades as good as I’d have liked, but I had life skills and a great deal of common sense! I’m very proud of my work ethic and independence. 
Leaving school I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. My parents have always been so supportive of me and wanted me to do whatever would make me happy. I loved the idea of being an actor but wasn’t confident enough to do it. So I took a year out and worked in a bar in Derby and at Pizza Hut in Loughborough. I then did a year-long dance course in Liverpool. From there I moved back to the Midlands, taught dance. Moved to London, taught dance. Moved back to the Midlands, worked a 9-5 in an office for a few years. Then ran a weekend performing arts school for kids. Then worked in Lettings for a bit. But nothing stuck. Nothing felt right. I couldn’t lose this idea in the back of my head of being an actor. 
And so eventually I bit the bullet and decided to take the leap. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but I was going to try and make it in the entertainment biz! 
But around that time my mum was diagnosed with stage four cancer. And after over a year of fighting she sadly lost the battle. It was devastating. 
She may not have ever gotten the chance to see it, but I did go on to make a career of acting and although it’s taken time, a lot of confidence building and I still feel very much at the start of my journey...I am very proud of what I’ve achieved so far. There are ongoing challenges, especially regarding stereotypes, but we push through and keep going. 
I now live in a little home in the countryside, surrounded by nature (my mum would have loved it), I’m in an amazing relationship and we have two cats who are our babies (soon to have chickens as well!). My brother lives close by with his wife and their beautiful daughter. I’ve worked with some beautiful souls through the years who I’ve remained close to and I’ve had great experiences. My mental health has been a long journey and is something I’m still working on, but I’ve really prioritised it the past few years. I’m also learning to embrace my culture and my beautiful mixed background again. 
I chose the word ‘imperfect’ because humans aren’t perfect (I’m certainly not!) and life isn’t perfect. Life is wild and messy. Life throws us curveballs and challenges and forces us to grow. It can sometimes feel like a constant uphill battle! But there is also beauty that can be found in imperfection. Imperfection can mean wildflowers, weeds and muddy feet, it can mean forfeiting financial security and material things for time and freedom, it can mean being able to help others through grief because of your own heartbreak and loss, it can mean going against the grain...not living the ‘perfect’ cookie-cutter life, but following your dreams instead. 
Embracing imperfection, embracing our differences and not comparing ourselves to others is a definite work in progress for me and something I try to remind myself of as much as possible. Along with the shit, there is and has always been a lot of good in my life and I’m very grateful for that.
I am Imperfect
More information can be found about Lisa’s charity at
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