PLEASE WELCOME YOUNG ENGLISH ACTOR - ANOTHER VICTIM OF BULLYING WHO HAS NEVER TOLD HER STORY BEFORE
1 Please tell us a little bit about your background.
A: I am 24 years old; I graduated East 15 Acting School in 2013 with a First Class Honours degree in World Performance. I grew up in a small city called Peterborough, which is located in Cambridgeshire, England. I have a very supportive family and great group of friends, who all play a massive part in the reason I am following my dream. I try to live life with a smile on my face and I love to make people laugh - you could say I was the class clown.
2 You are an actor and have been in film & stage crew. Have you always aspired to be in the entertainment industry or did you want to do something else when younger?
A: I have always aspired to be in entertainment. I have been acting since I was 5 years old, I played Tom Baker’s 'Doctor Who' in an adaptation of 'Sleeping Beauty'. Obviously it wasn’t the role of a life time as I mainly ran out on stage with a coat and scarf that were too big for me, but it gave me a feeling that I can’t really describe and ever since I have loved to act.
As well as acting I have also worked backstage in amateur productions and professional productions since I was about 13 and I would say I have an equal love for both on stage and backstage work.
3 As an actor, have you had any professional training?
A: Yeah, I had the great opportunity to study a BA (Hons) World Performance at East 15 Acting School 2010-2013. Where I was able to study not just traditional acting styles and techniques but I had the opportunity to study many different acting styles from around the World such as Balinese Character Dance, Indian Dance, Brazilian Playground Theatre and many more. I couldn’t believe it when I opened the letter of acceptance - it seemed unreal that I had been given a chance to study at a CDS Drama School.
4 Are you professionally managed or do you represent yourself?
5 Have you acted alongside any ‘big’ names?
A: I haven’t acted with any big names, but I have worked backstage for a couple.
6 Who and/or what are your inspirations?
A: My inspiration, I would say, is just to be able to live comfortably off an acting career and not have to have a second job to pay the rent. I know most people reading this would properly be thinking “Oh yeah don’t want to be famous?”…well I am not going to lie - if the opportunity ever came round I wouldn’t say no, but I am not in this industry to be known - I am in it cause I love it.
As for my inspirations, there are many actors/ actresses that I adore such as Tom Hanks, Jonny Depp, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, etc but my main inspiration is Julie Walters, and this may sound corny but if I could be half the actress she is I would be over the moon!
7 Is anyone else in your family or relations in ‘showbiz’?
A: Not professionally let’s say. My Great Uncle used to direct a ‘Gang Show’ every year, which I was a member of for around 7 years. Then there’s my Granny who is a Wardrobe Mistress at an Amateur Dramatic Society, which myself, my Mum, and my Sister have helped out in.
8 Where do you see your career in ten years’ time?
A: This is always a question I find hard to answer - I would love to say established, comfortable and on the right path. But you never know what might happen…actually, no, let’s be positive - I will be established, comfortable and on the right path!
9 Have you ever been bullied?
A: Now this is question I knew would be hard for me to answer as I have never spoken about it before. The quick answer is - yes - I wish it wasn’t but sadly it is true. However I was not bullied by the conventional “secondary school kids”. I think I kind of skipped getting picked on by choosing to be the class clown, cause, well, how can they make fun of you if you’re making fun of yourself? Although when I was in year 6, so around 10/11 years old because I misheard something a dinner lady said, she decided to come into my class room after lunch, offer me a red card in shape of some underwear (we had red cards as a form of discipline), and say, and I quote: “Tanya this is because you are pants, you will always be pants and never amount to anything”, and that has always stuck with me which is why I always doubt myself.
The people I was mainly bullied by, however, were complete strangers, which is why I think I have never spoken about it because I was ashamed. I have been bullied verbally and physically all because of my size, people shouting odd comments down the street, out the car windows. I am over weight - yeah, I know - I don’t need reminding. And when I say physically bullied I was never beaten up, (although I have been kicked a couple of times) instead I have been spat at, from behind and in the face on a few occasions and I have had an ice cold bucket of water chucked over me from someone’s bathroom window, with the following words “That’s to help you cool down fatty”, which was right near the back gate of school, allowing me to hear for the next few weeks murmurs at school of people saying “that’s the bucket girl”. There are many other accounts, but I won’t go into them now.
10 Whether you have been bullied or not, do you feel the governments and schools around the world are doing enough to try to combat this problem?
A: Personally no. The way my school dealt with it was ‘if you weren’t in school, or all participants weren’t in school uniform then it is nothing to do with us’.
11 What more do you feel the above could do to try to either decrease this problem hugely, or eliminate it altogether?
A: This is something which is quite difficult to answer. Probably to have someone you can talk to, someone who won’t make you feel ashamed of asking for help, someone who won’t fob you off with a sorry excuse of why it is nothing to do with them.
12 Is there anything, on a personal level, that you would like to do to help in this fight?
A: I would love to help fight bullying; I wouldn’t know what to do, or where to start. Apart from asking people to keep an eye out for it, don’t ignore it, if you see someone you don’t know being bullied an encouraging word from someone else can make all the difference.
13 What is in the pipeline for Tanya Dunford for 2014?
A: I have quite a bit of storytelling in the pipeline for this year, and I have an idea for an event that is brewing.
14 Do you have a message you would like to impart to the world?
A: Hard work always pays off, but don’t forget to take a little time to relax with family and friends.
15 Is there anything further you would like to add?
A: Not that I can think of, apart from thank you for reading, and sorry if I bored you.
16 Would you please add any and all professional links you would like included here?
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