Sometimes I feel like I have had many different lifetimes in my one life, especially when it comes to working. I have been a contortionist, a west end dancer, an actress, a presenter, a monkey, Peter Pan, an animal rights activist and now a blogger.
I passed my A levels with great results considering how little effort I put in to them. An A for drama, a B for English lit and a C for art. I then flew off to Malta to be a contortionist to get my equity card and after 3 months of what felt like living in hell, I returned and got my dream role of playing a kitten in Cats the Musical. I was 19 years old and I was moving to London.
As an actress I have been extremely lucky and I have pretty much worked nonstop for 20 years. I was never that lucky in getting an agent though and so most of the work I have done, I either got through my own determination or through little twists of fate that landed me in the right place at the right time. I often wished that I could just get an amazing agent like most successful actors but it still eludes me and so I have to work really hard myself and I hustle a lot! With the birth of the internet and the explosion of vloggers and bloggers, my hustling skills are probably my greatest strength these days.
I started blogging in April 2016. My friend TV psychologist Emma Kenny suggested I start to write one as she felt I had things to say that many would relate to. She also thought I could make some tidy money from it, at least after a while, if I was any good.
For many different reasons my acting career seemed to have hit a temporary impasse and as I simply must have a creative outlet or I can feel my very soul withering, I decided to give it a go, which is why I am here, now, writing this article.
One of the reasons for that impasse on my performing career, was because I had posed nearly naked on a plate in Trafalgar Square for the charity PETA. I foolishly and very naively thought I had done a splendid thing for animals – however, it was picked up by newspapers all around the world and was even shown on ‘Have I Got News For You’. Naturally, my bosses at the Kids TV Channel, Cbeebies, felt it was not splendid at all and they no longer wanted me to represent their brand. I was let go.
The newspapers seemed to then get in to a frenzy about me after this and they found any partially clothed pictures there were of me in circulation (on Facebook and other social media outlets) and then they printed them, with headlines like, Cboobies, nailing the coffin lid of my kids TV career firmly shut.
I’m not gonna lie, the naughty me is pleased to have the claim to fame in being the first presenter with the headline, Cboobies but in reality, it didn’t do my career any good at all. I was finished and unless you count an offer from Zoo Magazine for me to do a photoshoot for £500, which I hasten to add I did not do, I got no offers of work at all.
Then the delightful press got wind of how I had taken drugs when I was younger. The fact that this was well before my Cbeebies days didn’t seem to matter to anyone and before I knew it, that too was all over the papers, suddenly I was a drug addict as well as a hussy. The fact that I hadn’t even touched a drug by this time for 12 years and that I don’t even drink did not seem to matter and Google has no mercy. Google me now and there it is for all to see forever more.
Of course this was the absolute end as far as Cbeebies were concerned and they decided to erase me from their history books completely. I understand why, I really do but, unlike most male presenters who have been forced to admit to such things, I was not taken under any radio station or any other TV channel’s wing and given work. I was just forgotten.
I am not one to shrink away from my mistakes or blame others, so I put a positive spin on it and endeavoured to carry on. Acting is my passion anyway, so I decided to turn this disaster on its head and use it as a way to start acting again.
I know how fickle casting directors can be and I knew that even though before kids’ TV I had worked a lot as an actress, they would not see this. All they would see was that I was once a kids’ TV presenter and for some bizarre reason, this makes it almost impossible to get seen for any straight acting roles.
Knowing this, I spent two years working, for free on short films just so I could get a good, current show reel together to give to agents and casting directors. Four years later and I have finally managed to get an agent. Now all I need is for the casting agents to give me a chance to audition for something and the rest is up to me.
As you can see when it comes to picking myself up again, I have done it a lot. It is part of being an actor. It’s part of life and I’m always ready to embrace that.
I am at my best when I am proactive and when it comes to acting, there is only so much you can do. The rest relies on getting seen for roles that are suitable for you. That is the biggest battle any actor faces and for a woman in her 40’s it gets harder and harder.
So, I needed something to do to make me feel alive. Of course after the birth of my wonderful son Phoenix in 2015, I felt like I finally had a true purpose. Being a mum to my joy of a boy is the best thing I have ever done and I simply love every day. I cannot wait to wake up in a morning just to see his little face. But it also made me want to develop who I am even more, I want my son to be proud of me, so when Emma told me to try writing blog, I jumped at the chance just to do something.
I’m so glad I did because I love it! Blogging had saved me. It has given me confidence. It has been a kind of a therapy. In the 9 months I have been doing it I have met some wonderful people, I have travelled and I have found out more about myself and how brave I can be than on any other job.
I love that there are no restrictions, I can totally be myself. In fact, it’s better if I am truly myself as my readers seem to prefer me that way. It’s opened up opportunities to work with many different people and companies and I love the fact that it stretches me the way it does.
It is exhausting and once you start you cannot stop – but it’s a treadmill that is ever rewarding and just makes you feel like you have achieved something for you.
I don’t know what the future holds for me. I’d like to write a book. I’d like to make more money from blogging and vlogging and maybe I’ll even end up presenting again because of it. I’d still love to act, just to prove to the world that I can but most of all, I want to be the best mum I can be.
I know one thing, life will have its own twists and turns but whatever happens because of my son I will be ok. It’s like he has given me a super power of being able to just get back up and back on the horse. I have to because if I want him to have the best life ever, I have to keep going for him and he’s the most wonderful reason for being the best I can be and achieving as much as I possibly can.
Read more or contact Sarah Jane by visiting honeymumster.com