PLEASE MEET TALENTED YOUNG WESTERN AUSTRALIAN ACTOR & MODEL -
1 Please tell us a little bit about your background;
A: I’m one of six kids - so growing up as a kid it was yell or not be heard! I was the most quiet one in the family though and spent most of my time in my room as I hated conflict (and still do!) - even silly little things like fighting over who was next to get on the computer. We moved around a lot and because I was such a shy little thing, I found it really hard to make friends. I never really had any until I was twelve and we moved to a new area where we stayed for the rest of my schooling.
2 You are an actor and model. Have you always wanted to be in entertainment or did you aspire to be something else when you were younger?
A: I always WANTED to be – but I never thought I had what it took TO be. I had very low self-esteem and lacked confidence in my abilities. I did really enjoy writing and always wanted to be an author. I was interested in psychology in high school but didn’t think that I’d get good enough grades to study it (again, with lacking confidence). I actually did end up getting the grades that would’ve got me into the course, but the path I went on led me to where I am now, so I wouldn’t change it for a thing!
3 Is anyone else in your family or relations in entertainment?
A: In short, no! I’m the only one that has gone that way in the family.
4 Have you had formal training in both your skills?
A: I studied education at university and was a drama major so I did plenty of acting study through that and that study improved my confidence and encouraged me to look into it. Before I’d never considered it even though I’d loved drama (and been in the top achievers of the class) in high school. That’s also what led me to modelling as I wanted to get some interesting shots for my acting portfolio. I still feel like a complete newbie when it comes to both, but I’m learning so much as I go!
5 Are you professionally managed or do you represent yourself?
A: I represent myself. I’ve had modelling and acting agency representation before, but never really gotten a lot out of them. There’s some sketchy people out there that will take advantage of others wanting to achieve their dreams – charging ‘fees’ to sign up and so on then not delivering any work. So I’ve been pretty sceptical, but I would love representation further down the track.
6 What have you acted in to date?
A: The acting thing kind of took a backseat to full-time work and at the moment I’m more focussed on the modelling thing. I did quite a few student films and some amateur when I was studying amateur theatre, but haven’t looked into in a few years now due to time constraints.
7 What and who have you modelled for?
A: I only took up modelling last year, but since then I’ve been published twice in Zoo Weekly Australia as a featured competition entrant and had a one page article in Chulo magazine (an American publication). I’m currently taking part in an online competition called Playboy Miss Social, which is a non-nude international competition. I’m in third place at the moment which is very exciting!
8 Have you worked beside any well known names?
A: Not yet!
9 What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
A: I love shopping (which is an expensive hobby, let me tell you!), going to the theatre, going to the movies, checking out live music, heading out with friends for a few drinks and a dance - and I really enjoy eating out too and other things that get you out of the house but back to bed at a decent hour during the week!
10 Have you ever been bullied?
A: Yes, both in primary and high school. I remember one particular incident in grade 4 where a group of girls in my grade cornered me against a wall, got right up in my face pushing and prodding me, and chanted ‘Casper the ghost’ at me. It might sound rather funny, but my memories of the experience certainly aren’t laughable. The teacher sat me down to talk to me about it (I’m not sure how she found out) but I just brushed it off and said they were only joking.
My worst week of my entire schooling life was a result of being bullied by the ‘hot popular boys.’ It was in grade 12 and I’d been at a party that one of the popular boys held at his house the weekend before. A rumour went around the grade that I’d asked a guy to have sex with me at the party (I’d never done more than kiss a boy before). After having some of the boys whispering things to me and laughing at me in one science class on the Monday then having friends coming up to me at lunch saying they’d heard such and such about it from so and so, I faked being sick for the next three days so I didn’t have to face them. Going back to school on the Friday made me feel physically sick! Thankfully by then it had all but blown over and I just kept my head down and ignored any comments that they made.
Even since taking up modelling, I've learnt that some people don’t grow out of their bullying ways. I’ve had people comment on my photos and profile things like “Is she serious? She thinks she can be a model? What a joke!”, “Ew, redheads are so ugly!”, and my personal favourite “She looks like a frog on fire.” Yep. All I can do is laugh it off. They’re entitled to their opinion, however ridiculous it might be!
11 Whether you have been bullied or not, do you feel that the governments and schools around the world are doing enough to try to combat this problem?
A: With kids joining social networking sites at younger and younger ages, there needs to be more education in place to educate children about the serious consequences that cyber bullying in particular can have – as well as any form of bullying. They also need to know what powers they have to take action if they’re being bullied, who they can go to for help and what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour online. I think one of the major issues with dealing with the issue of bullying is that so much of it goes unnoticed.
As an ex high-school teacher, I’ve seen how nasty and underhanded kids can be and it really is sometimes hard to uncover bullying. Those being bullied are either too afraid to speak out or just want to brush it under the rug and pretend that it isn’t happening - like I was in grade 4 when I myself was bullied. I was afraid that it would encourage the girls to taunt me even more if I ‘dobbed’ on them so I kept my mouth shut, just as I did in high school. No way in the world would I have even thought about going to the teacher about the boys in class!
I don’t necessarily place the blame on the schools for not dealing with bullying for those reasons, but something definitely has to change.
12 What further do you feel the above could do to either decrease this problem hugely or eliminate it altogether?
A: I think education is the way to go, as well as a zero tolerance policy within schools that might encourage those being bullied to come forward and feel confident that action will be taken. Harsher penalties for students that are found to be bullying others, even criminal charges being laid in cases where things turn physical.
I also think parents need to open up the channels of communication with their children, rather than remaining oblivious to things that are going on under their noses. Restrict children’s access to social networking websites and technology (honestly, does a ten year old need an iPhone with access to the internet?).
13 On a personal level, what would you like to do to help in the fight against bullying?
A: When I was studying, I was a part of a program called 'First Year Survivors', which roleplayed scenarios that first year students might encounter and encourage them to brainstorm ways to deal with these issues, then we’d act out their solutions to see how they worked. A similar idea, going into schools and roleplaying scenarios and how they might be best dealt with or who they could talk to would be a great project I’d love to get involved in.
Even just sharing my story and showing others that everyone experiences bullying at some point in their lives I'd like to think could be helpful.
14 What advice would you give to someone who is currently experiencing this nightmare?
A: Talk! Don’t just suffer in silence. No situation is completely helpless and there is always someone that can help you. Know your options (either personal contacts such as family, friends or school support networks, or look online for support) and make use of them.
15 What is on your agenda for the rest of 2014?
A: I work full-time, as well as a weekend job and am currently focussing on a few different modelling projects that I’ve got going. I’ve got a very exciting audition coming up this weekend for a well-known reality TV show so fingers crossed you might see my face on television later in the year!
16 Do you have a special message you would like to share with the world?
A: Particularly with modelling - where people are judging you based solely on your physical appearance – you learn that no matter what you do, you can’t please everyone. Some people will be incredibly vocal about their dislike of you, or criticising you for whatever reason. Especially on the internet, where you don’t have to say it to someone’s face, people are more likely to say things that they probably wouldn’t say to your face.
As cliché as it might sound, those that matter won’t mind and those that do mind don’t matter. Not everyone is going to like you, but you don’t have to listen to what those haters have to say! It’s so much easier to believe the negative rather than the positive, but don’t let it get to you.