A couple of years ago I decided to quit my 9 to 5 job and launch myself as an actor. My life has been much more exciting since I took that decision.
When I finished high school in Mexico City I had to decide what I was going to do with my life. I did go to see a couple of ‘drama schools’ in Mexico City but I confess they terrified me a little bit; they just seemed a little bit too different from the overly protected life I had had. The few people I met in the drama schools seemed quite free-spirited and a bit mad, and although deep inside I wanted that, I wasn’t brave enough to go for it. I guess I needed to live a little more and make a mess with my life first. Also, I wasn’t in a massive rush to decide what to do because for a few years already I had known I was going to go abroad for a year after high school and then come back to University.
In my gap year I spent six months in Cambridge taking some English language examinations and then six months in Tours, France doing the same thing but in French. When I came back to Mexico I was still unsure about what I wanted to do; I registered to do a degree Education and that was that. It took me four years to complete my degree and I have to say that I did love it. University life was awesome. However, I will never forget one day when we had an actor, an opera singer and a violinist visiting us as part of the Aesthetics in Education course. When I heard them tell us about how much they loved what they did and how passionate they were sharing a bit of their talents I had this massive ball in my throat. I wanted to cry. I knew what it was; I wanted to be an artist so badly but had somehow managed to suppress my passion to perform.
After uni I taught English as a second language in a primary school for a year. I would do that in the mornings and in the afternoons I enrolled myself into an intensive acting course at Casa Del Teatro in Mexico City. Taking that course changed my life. I have always been a very physical person. I was an athlete for pretty much all my life through school and I loved the fun, discipline and adrenaline that came with the training. This acting course was very similar to my athletics training. It was very tough and I was overwhelmed and slightly confused about it. I didn’t get why we had to do so much exercise as part of the course, “Aren’t we going to act”? I eventually understood that our bodies are our main instruments to work with as actors so we need to get to know them darn well.
While all of this was going on, I was in the middle of applying for graduate school in England. When I finished my degree in Education, quite a few of my teachers suggested I should continue studying and immerse myself into the academia lifestyle. I was happy to do it I must say, I do LOVE studying. I applied to do a MA in Philosophy of Education at the Institute of Education (IoE) in London. My plan was to then continue with a PhD and perhaps become a writer. However, as I said, this acting course caused a little bit of chaos so I decided to put the MA on hold and decided to study another degree in Drama. I did this in the grandiose city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Yeah, that’s right, where the hell is that?! Well, you have to remember that I had another life apart from my profession, and my then boyfriend was Canadian and we had done the long distance ordeal for quite a few years so it seemed to be the ‘reasonable’ thing for me to move there. Things between us didn’t work out in the end but living in that random place for a couple of years was a fantastic decision. I met some of my dearest friends when I lived there, plus I have to say that surviving two winters at -30 degrees is quite an exciting thing for a Mexican to brag about.
By the end of my studies in Saskatoon I had to decide AGAIN what I was going to do with my life. People from the IoE in London contacted me to say that they would still take my application to do the MA in Philosophy of Education if I wanted to. Although I felt a little bit disconnected from the Education world at that moment, the idea of living in London was very attractive to me. As much as I liked Canada, I felt like it was time to move on. I was lucky enough that my parents were able to support me on this crazy journey (I don’t know what I would do without my family by the way) and off I went to England.
I completed my MA in Philosophy of Education in a year and I was then able to apply for a post-graduate work visa. You see, although I absolutely loved doing my MA and I would actually love going back to philosophy in the future, what I really wanted to do was to ACT! However, this took a while. I was an immigrant in the country so I had to go through several stages before I got to where I am right now (erm, where am I?). Once I got my work visa, I had to actually get a job to pay the bills. Of course I wanted to start my acting career but I first needed to survive. I applied for loads of jobs with no luck whatsoever. Eventually, I managed to get not one but two jobs under my belt. One was as an administrator at St John Ambulance which ended up taking pretty much all my life and the other one (once a week) was with a charity called Mexicolore.
In between jobs I would try to do some acting. I was in a couple of stage productions and student films. I tried to go to acting workshops, get to know some casting directors, etc. but I hardly found the energy or the time. After a year of doing this, I managed to finally find the courage to quit my job at St John without having any sort of financial security with a different job. I would still work one day a week with Mexicolore but that was hardly enough for me to pay the bills. I started to do what most actors have to do, find jobs that are flexible enough to be able to go to castings during the day. I worked as a live model in an art school in Putney and Wimbledon and I also got a job as a Spanish tutor. I was extremely tight, but that pushed me to work really hard to get headshots done, launch my website, enrol in Spotlight, the Actors Centre etc. I have to say that 2011 was a bit of a mad year (I was getting married as well on top of it all! Not with my ex btw), but it was a fantastic year of learning. By the end of it, I felt like I was more or less sorted and ready to rock ‘n roll in 2012.