What it’s like to be actressin’

Building a career as an Actress brings with it a set of tasks and hurdles that are unique to the profession. I caught up with Rose Williams, most famous for her roles as Young Vinnie in A Quiet Passion and her most recent role as Princess Claude in CW’s Reign. With both an upcoming film, Changeland, and a series, Curfew, airing on Sky Atlantic in 2019, it’s clear that Rose is on the up and up. 

A native of London, actressin’ (as her Twitter bio states) was not initially on her radar as a career, “Fashion was what I wanted to do, so I left college and started working at Dover Street Market, in London” But an opportunity working on the set of the fourth season of Channel 4’s Misfits created a lightbulb moment for Rose. “The environment on set was so inspiring. I loved seeing all the different departments working together and felt drawn to watching the performances and analysing the scripts”

“I’d never considered acting until then. I was on set working in the fashion industry, but something about pursuing acting appealed in a new way and combined all my interests”

After continuing as a costume trainee for a little while after, Rose started making her mark in short films and the odd episode of Casualty. Perhaps her biggest role yet was Princess Claude in the CW’s historical fiction series Reign, that followed the life of Mary Queen of Scotts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now Rose finds herself in a new series, Curfew, set be released in 2019 on Sky Atlantic “It’s an action-filled drama set about five years in the future in dystopian London. The show centres around an illegal street race, with participants ‘racing for freedom’. I team up with Sean Bean’s character ‘The General’ and we navigate the race together in a sweet vintage, white and green Jaguar. It’s a really cool blend of genres with creative, zany characters, I’m so excited about it!” 

“It was 90% night shoots, and we shot in Manchester with a week in Scotland. I had such a good time with the cast and crew, in particular my make up girls were ACE. Shoutout to Jodie, Annie, Vicky and Niamh! My character has tattoos and hair extensions so I spent a long time in the make up chair at the start of each day. Loved it. There were a lot of physical challenges for everyone, in each department, and everyone brought their A-game. Great directors, great production team. It was an awesome experience”

With such a demanding and, sometimes irregular, work schedule finding the time to wind down can be difficult especially when its a career that you love. Though important, the “ebbs and flows” of acting, as Rose puts it, can make switching off difficult especially after shooting an intensely emotional scene “sometimes it can take a second to re-adjust back to reality” 

Winding down is not only important, its necessary “I’m the sort of person that needs to be occupied or I wilt. I like spending time with good friends, collage-ing, drawing, exploring whichever city I’m in….I love visiting markets and finding hidden gems”

We all have moments when we question ourselves and our choices and Rose is no exception. During our phone interview, she spoke candidly about those times when self doubt arrives at her doorstep. “I try to be disciplined about practicing self care and noticing destructive thoughts, I identify negative thoughts as radio-waves just passing through. For me it’s important to remember to have fun and enjoy every opportunity that presents itself, and most importantly to be grateful” 

“I think with creative people there’s that need to have fun and achieve and do what you love but with that sometimes comes a sensitivity because creative people care so much about what they do. I like to make dream boards and collages and thank you lists. If I’m feeling off I’ll do a thank you note to the day to remind myself of all the happy things that came along (like doing this interview!)”

Rose’s drive, wit and wisdom are impressive especially when you remember she’s only in her 20s. Before the end of our phone call I asked her what it’s been like as a young and relatively new actress within the entertainment industry, at this turning point for women as a result of campaigns such as TimesUp and #MeToo. 

“The movements have opened up conversation. I’ve noticed that a lot more breakdowns for female roles don’t specify how the character looks first, which is cool. Most of the time it will say “beautiful, athletic, strong” or “beautiful, athletic, vulnerable” (snore)….but I’ve been seeing less of that and more detailed, thought-out, empowered female characters. I think there’s still a big way to go….but that won’t happen over night” 

“It’s a global issue. Hollywood just seems to be the stage for it”

 

Words: Eleanor Forrest

Illustration:Thereza Nardelli

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