by Sherif Awad
So, I was born in Scotland and when I was three-years old, my mother was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. two years later she unfortunately passed away. My biological father wasn't in the picture and I ended up getting adopted by my mother's brother and his wife. They lived in England so I moved down to be with them. I had this thick glaswegian accent and not many kids could understand me, I spent a fair bit of time alone and I had an overactive imagination. I was always creating other worlds and pretending to be different people. I was a sad kid who preferred pretending to be someone else for a while.
My first performance was at junior school (My role was a Zebra in NOAH'S ARC) I begged the teacher for a line and after the first show I knew that that was what I wanted to be when I grew up. - An actor, not a Zebra!
-When I was a child, if it wasn't animated I wasn't really interested. As a teen I loved actresses like Thora Birch, Patricia Arquette and Juliette Lewis. Juliette Lewis was someone I followed a lot, she came up through the ranks and worked on many small independent films which often had dark themes and she always played the type of roles that I dreamed of playing. Also she was in a rock band which definitely made her one of the coolest actors.
My teenage years are when I discovered my love for horror films and I was OBSESSED with Director Rob Zombie. I would watch his movies over and over, his films would be this perfect mix of insanity, gore and humour. I would absolutely love to be in a Rob Zombie film, maybe one day!
-I think like with anything you love, studying was a great 5 years for me. I learnt so much about myself, I was like a sponge and just wanted to soak up as much knowledge as possible. During my time I had some great teachers who really changed inspired me and shaped who I am as a performer today. Studying a subject gives you freedom and creates a safe space where you can really start to explore your own capabilities and push your own boundaries, which is amazing because it flings you out of your comfort zone and it's actually where I realised how much I love comedy. Studying scratched the surface and revealed a world of possibilities and really cemented that acting was undoubtedly what I wanted to do.
-If your ever satisfied it's time to stop. I'm not sure if I was ever trying to achieve fame, I started acting because it was something that I love and I love who I am when I am doing something I am passionate about but of course I want the opportunity to work on bigger projects and create the best work I can, any recognition I get from my work is the icing on the cake for me.
-I think the main challenge I face currently is that everyone wants to be famous and competition is tough. There are thousands of people all going for 1 role and casting agents have a lot of choices in front of them. You have to have thick skin, it's hard when that's the one thing in your life that you know your good at and you hear 'no'. I've walked into rooms and have been told no before I've even opened my mouth.
In terms of my issues I have faced because of my gender, if I'm honest there's always a creep- someone that will say inappropriate comments or do something that may make others feel uncomfortable. I've learnt to shut any type of that behaviour down straight away. Acting is our job and we have a right to feel safe in our place of work and the sooner people stop thinking we as actors should let things slide because we should be grateful because we got the role, the better. Like I said there is a lot of competition and some people are desperate to make it and unfortunately people will take advantage of that.
-I think the UK is booming right now. Lots of people are taking control of their life and aren't waiting for work to come to them, people are creating their own works because it really has never been easier. The UK has a great indie scene and the internet is a wonderful thing. The UK are amazing at doing really gritty pieces and they are so accessible to everyone no matter where in the world you are. For a long time America dominated and now I feel like the UK is finally getting recognised for creating something other than James Bond.
-I think from the first read you can tell if something is for you or not. I enjoy being challenged so if it's written well or has enough bones for me to build on I'll take it on.
During the process I do like to spend a fair bit of time alone and really delve into a character. This is normally easier when the work is theatre as the rehearsal period can be intense but you are continually the character. When you are working on a film- especially if it has a low budget, it can sometimes become quite staggered because you're constantly filming and then pausing to reset or set up the next shot. That's why I just try and keep to myself as much as possible to allow me to hold on to my character.
-Private life and professional practice ? Honestly this is tricky, there are times when work takes the driver's seat and that's just how it is. My fiance is so supportive and pushed me to be the best version of me. We really do support each other so much so it makes things easier when I know that I have someone rooting for me and someone who understands it. He's a creative too so he gets that fact that when the work is there you give it everything you've got.
-Currently I am working on a six-part mockumentary comedy series, I am writing it with a woman who I have known for years. We've worked together a lot in the past, both performing and writing. We have a handful of fully developed characters which we used to tour and it felt like a waste just having them there in our back pockets. We decided it was the perfect time to roll them out and rebuild upon what we already had. It's a really exciting project, especially as comedy is something that many indie companies try and steer clear of.