Phewee its February! A whole month has swooshed by and we're sailing straight into 2016, full steam ahead. I've seen a few 'where did the last month go?' And 'Wasn't it just Christmas?' Statuses pop up. Well, the month did travel through the continuum of time and Christmas was ages ago - so much has happened since!
A few weeks a go I sat with one of my fabulous #positiveposse to discuss our 2016 goals. We had done the same thing. Split the year into months and given each a theme or a starting point for a goal. We decided great minds think a like and went on to talk about how each month we were going to put the wheels in motion for a particular move in our careers and lives and I realised it makes everything so much easier to manage.
Even though I have relaxed massively over the years still at my very core, I am an over thinker, always having a whole bunch of things whizzing through my head at once. You know when you win at Solitaire on the old Windows 97, the cards multiply and come bouncing at you? That's my brain. One of my home girls used to help me simplify it for me putting my life in phase - that once I reached one phase I could make a change and move on. That system is what got me through the final year of uni!
So thinking about these two things I hatched a plan. That each month would be focused on one thing that will elevate my life. From Theatre month to Travel month and Family month too I would create a year that focused on evolving step by step rather than panicking that I wasn't where I thought I should be at that moment. I even found a pocket diary that matched my mentality. Every Day Matters by is now with me at all times. With weekly tasks to bring joy into my life and a few pages at the end of each month to look back at what Ive learnt and I am grateful for means I don't have to feel like time is whizzing by. Because I am filling each day with something fun or amazing, something that is moving me forward. Rather than having a list of 100 things to do and not knowing where to start.
January was my month of Workshops. From casting director sessions, to physical theatre classes and working with motivational TV and film directors I began the year with focus and determination. Not only that but I met some fab new fellow actors who too are making now their time! Being surrounded by like minded people is important for self development. You can see in others what you see in yourself and learn more about not only the world around you but who you are and what kind of performer and person you would like to be.
And once I've got my goals down in writing it gives me another sense of drive. Seeing what I want to achieve written down in my own swirly handwriting is so much more powerful to me than just saying 'Oh I would quite like to do this.' Ticking things off and writing little notes of well done to myself in my planner shows me the progress I am actually making.
So I urge you not to worry about the empty days gone but fill the days coming with exciting possibilities that will carry you forward. Share your goals with you #positiveposse and see if they can help or you can help them as having teammates makes the ride even more fun. Put you life into manageable chunks, some may see things in years others take time to do it week by week, you may feel more comfortable not planning too far ahead and just living day by day. Which ever way it works for you don't let the next 28 days (we got an extra one this year!) go to waste. Put your goals in writing and you may surprise yourself how far you go.
When I moved to London I had one friend. One. I thought we'd pop round each others house for cups of tea, meet in the city centre for cocktails and just frolic around the wondrous city. Then I realised how bloody massive London is! I came from a town where there was two pubs, one hourly bus and a college, not even one café Nero. You could walk to the next street over and be at your best mates in two minutes. London however, as well connected as it is, is full to bursting with well stuff. But that means its full of new opportunities. And new friends.
Growing up I thought I struggled to fit. I was bigger, louder, more determined, more headstrong than most (all!) 15 year girls in my area. It took me ten years to realise its not about fitting in. Its about being yourself. And loving her (or him - you do you!) because they are the person you are always gonna have to live with. I didn't move to London with the intention of making friends, that may seem harsh but let me explain - I went with the intention of putting the best me out there to the world and whomever wanted to hangout was more than welcome to, as long as they brought good energy with them. I aimed to always present a positive energy, be honest, focused, caring and supportive - to myself. I then promised myself that is how I would treat others. Think of how you talk to your best friend, you support, compliment and love them - that is exactly how you should treat yourself because no matter how fantastic your best friend is only you have the power to change your own life. And you do that by changing your mindset to a positive, open one.
I have walked away from 'friends' because of the way they treat themselves because in turn they then treat me in the same way. Pessimism, negativity, bitchiness - its not productive to anyone. I will only actively chose to spend time with those who make me feel good about me and when I feel good I can make them feel good about them. Its basically the opposite of a vicious circle! A loving line if you wish.
And because of that I am now surrounded by the ultimate squad! I was a girl who was invited to parties just to be ridiculed I now spend time with hilarious, hardworking, supportive people who make my life brighter. They are my #positiveposse! From workshops to performance jobs to play readings to those fun little money earners in between I have met people who's energy just brings light and happiness to the world. Then when I go home my two girls are exactly the same, their joy makes me smile and their unwavering encouragement lets me know that even though they've seen me cry, tantrum, argue and moan they have love and belief in me.
So if you do anything this year create your own #positiveposse. Those people who make you feel good and who you want to make feel good about themselves too. You'd be surprised by the change in your day to day living when you receive little messages of support, funny quotes from moments you've shared together, insider info on shows you want to see or be in, even just pictures from way back. You have a spring in your step and a song in your heart knowing that you are loved at that overflow of love can be shared with others. I make sure I make time to have the odd #powerlunch with my crew, to hear about their amazing plans and goals and to laugh about the last time one of us did something wonderfully bonkers. You won't mind changing on to four different lines to see them or even going on trains , planes and automobiles for a cuddle because no money can buy the love and support your #positiveposse can provide.
Popping bottles, kissing loved ones (or strangers- I don't judge!), dancing until the early hours - I hope everyone had a smashing new years eve. Now all the new year, new me statuses are popping up. I'm no hypocrite, I've done my fair share of them in the past. Until I realised the last digit on my calendar changing doesn't mean I should too.
Everything in life is a choice. What you're gonna have for lunch, who you're gonna marry, where you're gonna live. It is down to you to choose. Sometimes it doesn't seem like we have a choice, or that one option is scarier than the other but there is always another option.
And the wonderful thing about choices, we can make them at anytime. It doesn't have to just be at the start of the year. We don't need confirmation from the calender to say 'yep, now you should quit your job and pursue your dream' or 'yep, now book that one way flight to Goa'. You can do it whenever you want! Isn't that incredible!?
I had no New Years Eve plans. I was working both New Years Eve and New Years day so planned to do a bit of yoga and get an early night. However due to a squiffy housing situation, friends of a friend put me up, they had a couple of pals round and we all sat, drank and chatted, discussing how much we had changed and all of our plans for our futures. Two were starting or had just started new jobs, a few were planning the cities of Europe they want to visit, another pair were discussing their plans to move to the city. I was surrounded by aspiration, hope and joy. Just before midnight we strolled up to Alexandra Palace, a bottle of Prosecco in hand, and watched the city erupt in colour and light. People played music from their cars stuck in traffic, someone set off roman candles on the pavement, the roads were full of life. So was I. I felt ready for anything.
But my choice to evolve had been made months before that. I decided to live a positive life back in the Spring, began relearning Spanish in November, I have a new job every couple of months, learning new skills and meeting new, incredible people. I wait for no man - I find ways to better myself whenever I feel life needs a shake up, not because its a leap year.
The world is full of spectacular opportunities. They won't just arrive on the first of each year or month, they could come out of nowhere or from weeks of planning. But when they do come, grasp them with both hands, breathe your unique way of life into them and enjoy every second. You don't need to be a 'new you', you right now is amazing and capable of anything. You may not see it now, you might not even realise it this year but when you do, live the life you want and love it.
For my last blog of 2015 I was gonna do a big round of my year like I did last year - you know that really long list of ten mammoth paragraphs about stuff I liked in 2014. Then I thought no lets do something a little different. So I wrote a rap about my year. Then realised I am not Eminem and left that hidden in the dark depths of my blog book. As I've been blogging pretty regularly I've had all bases covered this year and if you don't know what I've been up to you're more than welcome to have a little read over Christmas break - I get up to some funny shenanigans sometimes! So no list, no rap, just two little words to sum up my year:
Thank you to those who have faith in me. Who when I've lied face down on the living room floor having an 'I wanted that job' tantrum, listened to me whimper down the phone, cheered when I've achieved amazing things, made sure I got in the Uber at 3am, held my hand, held my hair and held my heart. Thank you.
I have surrounded myself with a #positiveposse this year. People who believe that there is wonder in the world, that they are capable of greatness and who just love to smile, dance in the street, sing on the underground, make yummy treats on dreary days, donate to charity and generally just spread joy. Most of them are people who I have met this year but who's energy is just vibrant and a pleasure to be around.
And also to those who have been by my side for years. Thank you for never giving up on me. For being miles away but still at the end of the phone at the drop of a hat. Who knew me before I decided to change myself and my life, loved me then and love me now. I wouldn't have made the crazy decision to pack up, move counties and catch my dreams if you hadn't told me 'You can do it'. Thank you for always being there. You endured the heartbreak and I am so happy to have you here for the celebration.
Thank you for the little things; helping me get work, helping me get drunk, helping me get over upset, helping me learn lines. Every person has touched my life and taught me something this year for which I am eternally grateful. Even those who I haven't met but have inspired me, Lisa Nichols, Ashley Graham, Carly Bawden, Parris Goebel, Michaela Coel, Tina Fey, Leslie Knope, Kimmy Schmidt (ok those last two are fictional characters but seriously they are my role models!)
2015 has been a test run, a maybe I can do this, lets see what happens, oh wow that was great, I wanna do it again, kinda run. 2016 is the full throttle experience! I will only do what makes me happy. Some people think I'm crazy for it, I think they're crazy for not trying. Most importantly next year I'm going to make time for love. The things, places and people I love. To enjoy them and every experience because I am so thankful for every one them.
Thank you 2015, you've been a banger!
Ok so this is one if those posts I've gone back and forth about. I've written a few drafts in my blog book but never been brave enough/crazy enough to post it. But then their comes a time when all the humble bragging thoughts will just burst out and I'd lose it on some poor stranger when they ask that ridiculous question I get. So to answer that question: I don't know why I am single.
I don't mean it in a conceited way I genuinely just don't know. I don't chose to actively not be with someone but then I don't make the effort to seek someone out. I haven't had any clichéd experiences that have altered my path, no awful boyfriend that's put me off men, I'm not an extreme feminist tarnishing all men with the same brush. Male or female I take everyone as they come, giving them the chance to show me their true self and then I decide if I want their presence around me.
At 21 I thought I was with the guy I was going to be with forever. A lovely, family man who maybe had some skewed priorities but was a good person - in three and a half years together we had three arguments. But our lives were going at different paces in different directions and it came to an abrupt but amicable end. It hit me hard as I feared being alone but that was now two and a half years ago. It is the only relationship I class in my history as serious.
There have been guys I have frequently spent time with since and some I thought could progress to more but no proper relationships occurred. I believe that if I am with someone it is for the long haul so I'm not really an active dater. Things like plenty of fish and Tinder are terrifying to me. I know of some great success stories from both but I wouldn't feel comfortable showcasing just a snapshot of myself then worrying meeting face to face and thinking I am not what they were expecting. We all know which angles work best for us in selfies but spilling a glass of wine over your date because of your clumsiness or allowing your snorting laughter to echo through a fancy restaurant are genuine fears for me so I just leave it all be.
When I meet guys I'm honest. I let them know my career is imperative to me, that my family is a mixed bunch, that I am not a stereotype so please stop calling me Team Lightskin. I know who I am, where I am going and what I want and I will let you know that as to not give any false ideas. This probably comes across as intimidating which I find quite funny. I used to be intimidating to guys because I was a bit of an unladylike beast; bigger and stronger than most of them. I wasn't seen as an option especially during school and college. I was an awkward, ill presented, all singing, all dancing nutter - not exactly a swipe right. Now I have confidence and determination and, rather than my looks, those factors are my barriers.
In the past few months I've had 'How can someone who looks like you be single?'. Ok so you think I am attractive, firstly thank you I appreciate your opinion, secondly that is just your opinion not all straight males in the world which slims down my options. And I'm picky...I mean selective. The amount of times I've spoken about my past boyfriends, showed a picture of them and got 'oh I assumed he'd be bigger/black/muscly' - WHY!? Because I need a tank to match me?! I am not narrow minded when it comes to looks, my brother says I have no type and its true. I am more often than not attracted to someone that can engage my mind - who can converse with me about any number of things and make me laugh. The best date (the first date) I ever had was when we went to an all you can eat - yeah that's right I'm not one of those girls that hides from food on dates - but we ate maybe two things and were the last to leave the restaurant as we chatted straight for four hours.
So to go back to that question, I really don't know but I'm not worried. Granted I said to a friend when she asked the other day 'I don't know, I kind of just want someone to have alone time with and go to Thorpe park with'. And its true, to have someone to share those moments with where its just the two of you making memories in the world. Having a partner in crime is great but I know our paths will cross when the time is just right. I don't want to rush it or settle. I love my life and want to meet someone who loves theirs so we can combine them and create something incredible. Yes I'm 26, no I don't have a boyfriend, finacee, husband, children but I have faith that I will find the most incredible man who will be able to answer the question with 'well its because you were waiting for me'.
Hercules has and will always be my favourite Disney Film. I was never a Disney princess kinda girl, I didn't like how all these girls were waiting for a guy to get them out of a sticky situation - I mean I like a good nap but Aurora love, that was a bit much.
But then Hercules came along and it was the first Disney film where I felt I could relate to a character - the feisty, funny, fuller figured Muse (yet I aspired to be the Muse with the amazing hair. I feel I have now achieved that life goal.)
I leant towards Pocahontas for a while but I was aware she was Native American and I was not - and my hair would never be that straight and effortless, the amount of times I get a curl stuck in my eye, even when its not windy...
Then in my twenties Tiana came along but she was a frog 90% of the time. Anika Noni Rose is a goddess but seriously...a frog? Mama Odie was my girl in that, a single, independent woman who ran her own business and owned her own place, albeit a boat in a tree. But Muse number 5 is still my number 1 Disney girl.
As a child I didn't think I was that aware but now looking back I see the realisation - I didn't see myself in the media. Until I grew boobs most people would say I most looked like a young Michael Jackson. I wish that was a joke. I remember refusing to pee on a nine hour flight back from America because in the queue the lady at the front turned to everyone and said, 'oh let the little boy go first'. I was wearing a Minnie mouse jumper, lady! The only girl I kinda felt like was the yellow power ranger but knowing little about afro Caribbean hair at the time I was pretty sure I couldn't grow braids like that. Or ride a motorbike.
I was an afro headed, dumpy, vaguely tanned kid who would sing o herself in the corner of the playground during lunch. I was too boisterous and competitive during playtime - if the game was tag, in my mind I was playing rugby league for New Zealand. I wore glasses and wasn't the fittest, needing an asthma pump during the winter months. I was doomed.
Then that kid grew up. I still am finding it difficult to find myself in the media though. So I'm gonna put myself there. The main reason why is for my niece (and any other daughters and nieces that may enter the picture). I don't want her to scramble for options of who she can relate to, I want her to be inspired by girls and women who look like her and also posses the personal traits that can allow her to lead a successful, happy life. My sis in law sent me a picture once of my nieces hair all in kinks and waves after they had braided it because she wanted hair like mine - last time I went to the hairdressers I asked for hair like hers! She's gonna be tall and lean and stunning and she's supee ethnically diverse. If she were in the industry she could be mixed, Spanish, Italian, Latin American, Greek, the list goes on, because she is the future of the world - a multicultural wonder.
I want to be a role model not only how comfortable I am with my looks though. There aren't a lot of girls who hit my main four features of being, tall, curvy, curly and mixed but if they see me and feel like even only one speaks to them, fantastic. But I want girls to see that AND someone who is reaching their goals. I want them to see a woman who has a university education, who has educated others and still wants to learn and teach daily. Black and mixed woman characters aren't always the strongest or smartest in the media. Often single mums, often rowdy, often living on estates - not always, all hail Viola Davis and Gugu Mbatha Raw - they aren't often aspirational characters. I am going to be those aspirational characters and a hopeful, inspirational person.
The future is becoming more mixed - I was with an Iranian guy when my 75 year old Nan sat me down and said 'Think about your children, their lives will be hard'. I retold this to my mum and she said 30 years prior my Nan said it to her too.
Times are changing. Slowly but surely and I am going to be a part of that. I have to be. I wasn't built like this, with a brain like this, a body like this, a heart like this, to sit on my butt and let the world go by. I was put here to show everyone that they can be anyone they want to be. Disney films are great, full of wonder, love and magic. Make your life a real life Disney movie and be the inspiration for the next generation.
Final note: I also wish this as well for my two intelligent, gorgeous, hilarious nephews. They too should have strong, hardworking role models to look up to as well. They're lucky they have me then 😉
We all fear something, it's natural. my fear is slugs, even typing it makes my skin crawl. Actually that's more of a phobia...
My fear is probably falling from great heights, it just doesn't seem fun. But what if I flipped my fear on its head, strapped on a parachute and chucked myself out of the back of a plane? It could be the most exhilarating experience of my life!
I have come to learn that fear is all relative depending on personal mindset and perspective (woah, that made my brain hurt a little). What I mean by that, is that things may seem scary but what matters most is how you face fear and make it something worthwhile.
These days I embrace the fear or uncertainty - I actually kinda thrive on it. The not knowing what is happening next in my life but just having faith and feeling that it will be great. I am fuelled by the need for more, by the fact that I have to keep my eyes open and my ear to the ground (not literally, that would be a bit weird. But possibly a good idea for some conceptual street art....) to be present in this industry and life in general.
Some of you may be thinking 'But how do you survive?' and/or 'Do you not have a steady job?'. Well no I don't. I make connections with great companies that require my skills as and when, then I save and am smart with my money. Its risky but has worked so far and I will continue to make it work. Some like stability, I like spontaneity.
Now don't get it twisted, I'm not one of these ones that shouts 'BUGGER IT! I'm moving to Chile!' Well I did I pop off to Spain that time.... But I often make impulse purchases. Just not the kind most 20-somethings do. My last impulse buy was a ticket to see wonder.land at the NT on Press Night. I saw a tweet about, I bought a ticket. That came from the life account. I have two accounts, see. One is rent and bills, one is for life. I am only allowed to spend from the life account if the R&B account (aka the Usher account) has enough to pay off what I need to that month. Then I make it rain all over the theatre and workshop circuit from the life account!
I did the stable life for a couple of years and it was pleasant enough. Knowing where you're living for the next few months, when you're being paid and how much, do make for a rested mind. But I had a restless soul. Handing in my notice to my teaching job was one of the scariest things I have ever done but that was probably because it was the most liberating. I was fortunate enough to have my parachute on when I took that leap. A parachute in the form of a loving, caring, (even if they didn't quite understand my madness) support network. They held my hand through the worry but are still with me experiencing the joy I feel now.
That's the fun thing about facing your fear - the feeling after. I would say 9 out 10 times, I've faced my fear its been amazing. The one time it doesnt I just learn from and move on. But those nine times wildly surpass that silly one. Like singing in public for the first time in 6 months when I highjacked Dean John-Wilson and Scott Alan's concert last month. Or when I quit uni at 19 with absolutely no plan for my life. Or when I did my first show at uni and let more than one person touch me at once (another previous fear of mine...I am such an oddball). Each one gave me such a liberating feeling afterwards that can't be replicated, because in that moment I was doing what my heart wanted to do, I was free.
I love the quote:
'What if I fall?'
'Oh but my darling, what if you fly?'
You will never know the answer until you strap on a parachute and jump out of the back of that plane...
I love spreadsheets. Love 'em! I have them on my laptop, on my phone, sometimes I even draw charts out in my notebook simply to organise things clouding my brain. I fill them out when I see shows, when I go to workshops, when I do my monthly ingoings and outgoings - the whole shebang. It all started when I was teaching. Having to keep track of a couple hundred students, their grades, their behaviours, their development, spreadsheets meant one never slipped through the cracks. I could filter that bad boy and know that Joe Bloggs in 8T got a B last term which had upped from a D the term before so I could then write great things in his report. Spreadsheets mean I am on it!
When I was at uni I was all over it too. And not just for myself. I was happy to organise music folders and files, cast lists, playlists, song suggestions. There is so much information in the world that sometimes you need to grab hold of it and put it in alphabetical order on Excel. I did however, think that when I left education my spread sheeting days were behind me. I was wrong. Those days were just the dress rehearsal...
I have noticed there seem to be three kinds of performers I've come across in regards to preparation: uncaring ones, lucky ones and prepared ones. The uncaring ones I pay no mind to, they may have spent a pretty penny training but don't seem to have the dedication and I am sure will find their passion in another profession. The lucky ones are inexplicable, their like a phenomenon you see on Dynamo - you know there's some sort of camera trick going on but you just can't work it! Then big up the prepared ones!
I recently went to a workshop with a fantastic TV Casting Director, who's main point from the 3+ hour session was 'do your homework and be prepared'. I go to these workshops to gain the knowledge I was unable to gain from university, for whatever reason. They have also shown me the spectrum of knowledge the acting community has in regards to how it actually works. That is why I spreadsheet all the information I gain from the workshops: Who they were with, who hosted them, their contact details, how they prefer to be contacted, what I performed, feedback (if any) And additional notes.
It is invaluable. It allows me to be prepared for when we meet again so that I don't go in there like a rabbit in the headlights (which I never do as I'm just so happy to even be having an audition!)
I also have one for shows I have seen, who the stand out cast were and the creatives, where it was, if it had or was going to transfer - I believe having your finger on the pulse is vital. It may seem like overkill but as they say knowledge is power and the more I gain the more then I can also share with others.
I'm part of a variety of FB groups for performers and I notice a lot of questions coming up, often repeat questions from new people to the profession, asking for help. Now I'm pretty fresh myself, only been out of the joint for 18 months but I feel the practical knowledge I have gained in that short time surpasses anything I learnt during my 3 years of training. I am happy to share that knowledge with those who want to join 'the prepared ones' crew as it saves people from some of the scathing and sometimes quite upsetting responses I see on SM. There are those out there who seem to like to put others down when they ask about how to approach casting directors, agents and the like - as if the fact they don't know means they are unworthy of being in this industry. That is not the case, we all started knowledgeless and had to gain that from education and the help of others. My uni told me I should contact agents during showcase season - they didn't teach me how (cue a highly embarrassing email sent to my course leader about our completely incorrect approach). So I researched, I learnt, I organised myself and I'm doing quite well. I'm not saying I've found the holy grail but I've found a style and system that works for me.
Research is key - Google is a wonder and a lot more proactive and helpful than the small yet vocal minority of those who judge others for not knowing how to contact TV and film CDs or who casts the Footloose tour. There are those out there who didn't train at 'named schools' or maybe who did but don't have an agent so are striving for their chance and hustling their butts off. To those people, I applaud you. Your hard work will pay off, you get out what you put in so keep doing your thing!
And I will always help those who want it. This week alone I'm showing a friend my workshop spreadsheet, another pal is peeping at my agent spreadsheet and I'm transferring my handwritten CD research to a...you guessed it! Spreadsheet!! I'm not gonna spoon feed these people but I am going to show them what works for me so then they can apply the aspects that work for them. In such an over populated industry you've got to learn to up your game and if that involves nerding it up from time to time - nerd away!
I actually wrote this fortnights blog back in June but didn't post it as the time didn't feel quite right. However this past couple of months I've been having some what of an identity crisis and this popped back up on my radar.
With the increase of reports debating cultural appropriation and a rise in race related mistreatment, I've been feeling like I'm meant to pick a side. In 26 years I have never felt that way and even recently sat up editing the shade of my skin in my headshots wondering if that's the reason why my audition schedule has been quiet...because I'm not quite white or black enough. It's been a sucky feeling to have.
Then I found this in my blog book. And everything refocused.
I've touched on this subject briefly in a couple of previous posts (for those of you who regularly tune in) but now feel comfortable to actually poke the hornets nest. Guys, I've got to break it to you - I'm mixed race.
Lets get the FAQ's out of the way:
1) My dad is Caribbean decent, from Barbados to be specific. No I have never been.
2) Both my parents are British - so to that boy who shouted at me at Bexhill carnival when I was 11, I can't go back to my own country, I'm already in it!
3) Due to my mum having blue eyes I too have blue eyes - genetics, go figure.
4) Yes my hair is all mine, always has been always will be. I don't have the time, patience or bank balance for a top notch weave. I'm not Beyoncé.
5)Yes I tan and yes I can get sunburnt - we all need that factor 50 sometimes
6) My brothers and I all have the same parents. I haven't a clue why we're different shades. Once again, its those pesky genetics.
7) I am proud to be mixed race.
Mixed race, Bi-racial, dual heritage - whatever you want to call it, I'm it. Having two good looking parents, one black Caribbean, one Caucasian equalled this mish mash of a human being. I get the same questions, often, but I have come to sort of like it - I'd rather people ask and know instead of judge and assume. Especially those who haven't come from integrated communities, meeting me can sometimes be a shock. Mainly because I don't know all of Jay Z's albums, have never smoked weed (not even a cigarette), have a (slightly skewed) Sussex accent or witnessed a drive by (genuinely was asked that once!). I'd rather chat about who I am and where I'm from when asked than have stereotypes laid upon me.
Growing up mixed was tricky. My brothers all looked like chart topping musicians (my big brother blagged being Kanye West in an Ibiza nightclub) and/or athletes and I did not look like Rihanna! However, especially being a singer people assumed I should sound a certain a way but I didn't. I'm more Audra McDonald than Jennifer Hudson. I spent my life trying to conform to a stereotype and I just wasn't very good at it. That being said...the industry I am in my looks play a significant factor. I have been turned down for roles purely because I am not the right shade. However I have learnt no longer to dwell on those moments but to focus on the moments when my tanned hue was just right.
Then came the day I thought - oh bugger it, I'm just gonna be a good person. I'm not gonna try and be like Whitney or Queen Latifah, Jordan Sparks or Leona Lewis, I'm just gonna be me. Be my own bonkers, unexpected, fun loving person. If I go to a casting and I'm just right: FANTASTIC, if not oh well and well done to the person who did - this one was for them, the next will be for me. Yes there are casting brackets and breakdowns that could want something open and vague or someone precise and specific but the wonderful thing is, each person in those brackets brings something different to the table regardless of their skin colour. I bring lots of random skills besides my looks and I'm going to have fun building my career and showing my unique qualities and seeing what the future holds.
I could spend my days worrying about the guy on the street who shouted out 'Hey team lightskin, you looking good today'. Team lightskin!? When did I become part of a team? Am I representing my team right? Am I the right kind of light skinned, light eyed girl that guys want?
Or I should I represent team me. The tall, curly haired, happiness spewing, clumsy, dedicated, hardworking, passionate, nerdy goon that I am.
As it is I'm near enough a giant. My heritage is just a tiny piece of this 5'10 frame. My soul is who I truly am.
Happy Monday Sunbeams!
Everyone and anyone can be a sunbeam - that ray of light bursting through the grey of a cloudy day. I know a lot of my pals get affected by the Monday feeling, having a couple of days off then going back to work but with my sporadic schedule some days I don't even know what day it is! However I notice the statuses and tweets that aren't the cheeriest they could be so I've made a Monday Motivation playlist 😊
Every morning, yes EVERY morning I put on a get-up-and-go jam and dance around my room. I have always had trouble with sleeping and nightmares which in the first instance of waking could lead to me having a rather sucky day. Rather than letting things happened hours before affect the hours ahead, as soon as I open my dusty eyes, I grab my phone, power up my Spotify, scroll through my playlist and put on one heck of a jam to get me out of bed with a spring in my step. My playlist consists of about 60 songs but these five are my certified winners:
1.Happy - C2C ft Dean Martin
Its in the title! I first hears this song after seeing Keone and Mariels choreo on the Urban Dance Camp YouTube since then its been a firm favourite on my sunbeam playlist.
2. Crush - Lyons and Pakchar ft Mykal Kilgore.
Mykal Kilgore is without a doubt one of the best vocalist of this generation. Paired with the talents of NMT duo Lyons and Pakchar on their MT/Pop/R'n'B album #Love, this song speaks to 14 y/o me so loudly I just have to wake the neighbours wailing to this in the morning.
3. Bad Blood - Postmodern Jukebox ft Aubrey Logan
I had to put one of my 10ish fave PMJ tracks on here but it was just so hard to pick. However the range on this woman, sprinkled with PMJs classic jazz transformation and a trombone literally chucked in for good measure this one has to make the list. When did you ever think you would hear a sassy woman sing a Kendrick Lamar rap this incredibly?
4. Kiss - Prince
My second favourite song in the entire world (Kiss from a Rose - Seal is number one if you were wondering) this song can make anyone feel crazy sexy cool. I usual like to go full hairbrush mic mode, strutting up and down my room in my pants and t shirt. Prince, you incredible artist, you - they truly don't make them like they used to. (P.S. excuse the weird video....Prince is too cool to have his original videos on YouTube - just enjoy the music!)
5. Get On Your Feet - Gloria Estefan
Purely for its usage in Leslie Knope's political campaign for city counsellor (Parks and Recreation - possibly the greatest TV series ever, get to know) just calls you to get out of bed and seize the day.
(And of course, every good album has bonus tracks. Or do they? I haven't bought an album in years! Anywho - any upbeat number that has anything to do with Lin-Manuel Miranda would pop up here. Its All Happening - Bring It On and 96,000 - In The Heights are personal favourites, especially when you're a #rapgod like me.)
What are your Monday Motivation tracks, sunbeams? Any the same as me or have I missed some corkers? Music is such a powerful tool in effecting your emotions so let it start your day with happy feelings.