I'm an artist and actress based in Auckland, New Zealand.
When I was a high school teacher, I remember giving one of my students this advice when she wasn't sure which subjects to take:
"Do what you're good at and what you enjoy and you can't go wrong."
Since those days (Christchurch in the year 2000), I've had to make pragmatic decisions about the work I do (we all have bills) but the advice I gave Ursula is something I live by, even more so now than then. I became an actor in 2003, landing an incredible gig on Shortland Street a year later and leaving the classroom behind. I stayed there for until my character, Dr Sarah Potts, died in 2014.
Looking back, the end of that "job" (ie lifeline, purpose, meaning) was devastating. In the aftermath of this catastrophic loss, the process of grieving and rebuilding changed my life for the better in so many ways. I grew up a lot and I'm tougher yet somehow more open to life. It's built my character in ways I really like, in ways that now support me. To many people I'm that chick off Shortland Street but when I look at myself in the mirror, I see an artist.
I make a living from creativity and artistic practice, mixing acting work with voice-overs, doing theatre and TV, turning design and photography hobbies into legitimate businesses with room to grow (if I want to invest the time). I have gone back to my artistic roots through the yearly practice of 100 Day Projects and by enrolling in year-long Painting studies. This kind of life can be complex; it requires courage; it builds resilience.
At the heart of my way of life are continuous, overlapping projects. Some are "jobs", many are contracts I write myself. All are born of curiosity and most are the result of a bloody-minded determination to reach back into my past and rescue my artistic self. Other people join sports teams or train daily at the gym; I make things (but could do with sweating a little more, to be honest).
During the last decade, I spent a lot of time and energy trying to feel better by reading self-help books and talking about what I thought was "wrong". When I started making art again, I realised that personal development and the kind of transformation I sought is best come at from the side. "From the side" means you undertake a practice you enjoy and through commitment to it (daily if necessary) and by staying with it, even when it gets really hard, you grow. Life doesn't necessarily get easier, but it can begin to feel simpler, more profound.
I offer creativity coaching to like-hearted souls, so reach out if you want the artistic equivalent of a personal trainer.
I'm insatiably curious and I love to think, especially about big things like how creativity changes our life, the inherent value of Art, how learning creative skills makes us better people, about how best to spend a life. I'm discovering how much I enjoy writing about it, too.
Acting, singing, painting, making: they're all ways I that I decide to matter and how I discover why creativity matters to me. As I observe and reflect on what I do, I'm building a doorway to creativity and so this website is not only an e-commerce site, it's a welcome mat.
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View my acting CV and contact my agent Colin Moy here at Lion Rock Management.
Hear my voice-over reel and contact my agent Sarah McLeod here at BigMouth Voices.
Follow my journeys in the creative life via my Instagram page.