By Aislinn De'Ath

By Aislinn De'Ath
Click on my face to link to my vlog!

Monday, 30 December 2013

New Years Resolutions...

So it's New Years Eve Eve and as such I've come up with a list of resolutions that I think I should probably follow:

  • Step away from the Boursin. You've had more than you can count this year and the addiction is getting out of control (oooh but the herby, cheesy goodness!)
  • Do a feature film, with a nice juicy part-as much as I love doing tv, shorts and theatre (as well as my voice work) I have yet to tick off a feature on the to do list!
  • Work out how to use my sewing machine. At the moment it keeps bunching and it's driving me up the wall!
  • Start vlogging regularly. This may require some work on my editing skills...
  • Enough with the smoking-this year is the year I stop for good.
  • Eat more porridge. I forgot how utterly delicious it is! Started this morning with a bowl made with almond milk, raisins and chopped nuts with manuka honey. Blooming wonderful when there's a gale howling outside!
  • Take some driving lessons (the provisional licence is now officially ordered!)
  • Be the best bridesmaid EVAR at my oldest friend's wedding in July
  • Dance like an idiot more. The many, many weddings I'm going to may help with that
  • Do more stuff that I've never done before
  • Take more risks, plan some adventures
  • Only buy really beautiful underwear. No more primark rubbish, just well structured silks and vintage cuts
  • Be the strong, happy version of myself that I enjoy being the most
  • Enjoy my godson while he's young enough to let me dress him up in stupid outfits and give him big hugs
  • Mentor more young actors
  • Give back to society as much as I can
And the final resolution I did this morning (before January even begins, because I am a resolution GANGSTA)

Become an organ donor. Because I think it's a pretty fantastic thing to be able to save the lives of others through my death, and if I die before my time (as a number of dear people have this year), I'd like my family to know that part of me is still living and helping others in one way or another. If you guys want to make that one of your new years resolutions too, then please please go on, it only takes a minute or two and it could change so many lives. Only something like 31% of UK citizens are signed up-let's make 2014 the year that changes. 

Hope you all have a wonderful NYE and a bloody marvellous 2014!

Sunday, 29 December 2013

The three stages of breaking up...

So Reader, last night was a bit unexpected. I'd just got back to my lovely cosy Bag End when I had a call from Lady Luxe, who had just had the unpleasant experience of seeing her twatbag of an ex boyfriend and moving her stuff out of his house. Then another call came in from Little Socks who had just broken up with her partner. Within a couple of hours I had two newly single girls on my couch, a bottle of vodka and every kind of chocolate under the sun in front of us, and a combination of laughter and tears occurring every couple of minutes.

Frankly it was a bit overwhelming. But also quite interesting. Between us we had three different stages of going through a break up and each of us had a very different break up story and emotions connected to them.


You've only just broken up. You can't stop crying, everything in the world reminds you of what you've lost ('There's some cheese. Barry liked cheese. Oh god, we'll never share cheese ever again!') and you feel like you've been punched. A lot. Your face has swollen up so much that your eyes are no longer visible and you can't quite catch your breath. Thinking even a week into the future seems nigh on bloody impossible. You can't bring yourself to eat, you smoke a million cigarettes and drink anything you can get your hands on. Listening to music or watching anything but gory horror films just isn't going to happen. You'll be having a perfectly normal conversation and then you'll just start hiccuping and sobbing.


Fuck them. The utter wankers. How dare they do this to you?! You're going to meet other people. Better people. You'll be this amazing single person who goes and has really intense flings with french supermodels who smoke exotic sounding cigarettes and paint in trendy Shoreditch attics. It's been a month or two and you don't miss them at all. You rock at being single! (apart from the fact that you do really miss them and you struggle not to call them when you're drunk or down and you can't listen to certain Bruno Mars songs without having an epic nervy b). You're vaguely hyper ALL THE TIME. You're trying your best to forget them but they keep turning up in your dreams in really odd situations.


Well done! You did it! It's been ages and ages since Stage One and you're quite relieved all that messy crying has stopped (apart from when you're really drunk and it's a) Christmas b) Valentines Day or c) you've just had your 10th engagement notification on facebook in a month). You feel properly single now and are rediscovering the joys of being independent. Learning new skills, not having to text anyone when you're staying out late, meeting new people and embracing being a career person. It still hurts occasionally, but it's more like an occasional heartburn rather than the full on repetitive head kicking it was in Stage One and you can deal with it a lot better.You have plans for next year and you are actually now quite impressed with how strong you can be.

The awesome thing about last night's single girl mash up was that we all came out with it having had a good cry (very cathartic!), lots of laughter (ditto) and some seriously cool plans for the future. We were able to see the awesome points about each other that we sometimes can't see in ourselves and boosted each others confidence. We saw the strength and resilience in one another and all of our different perspectives helped build each other up.

The thing is, there is life after a break up. In Stage One you can't quite see it, but with every day that passes it gets a bit easier-so with that in mind (and what with knowing a lot of very dear friends that are going through some particularly crappy break ups at the moment), don't let the doom and gloom swallow you up-being single is just being given the opportunity to meet the next great love of your life. And a chance to work out who you are. And eat the contents of your fridge. Well. Obviously.

And it's about to be the new year. And what's a new year if not a fresh start and a clean slate?

Whether you're in a relationship or single Reader, may you find peace within yourself and may any fractured hearts be plastered up and kissed better very soon!


Saturday, 28 December 2013

Post Christmas food coma...

Hello Reader! I hope you've had a wonderful festive season, whether it was Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa you were celebrating! I have just arrived back at Bag End, where I am currently avoiding unpacking my suitcase and playing with all my lovely Christmas pressies instead. I got a sewing machine! Which means lots more home made presents for my loved ones, and hopefully some hand made clothes for myself once I get the hang of it. So far I've worked out how to sew in a straight line. And re-thread the needle. Complex stuff for a gal who normally hand sews everything! Me and my godson's mum are already planning a series of 'Stitch and Bitch' afternoons where we mend things and set the world to rights. Possibly with hairnets on.

I also got a beautiful camera, which means that as soon as my external disk drive and memory cards arrive, AshActingUp will also extend to a YouTube channel near you! Keep an eye out for links in the new year. If any of my readers fancy making me a little intro clip with music to use on the vlogs, I'd be very grateful-I'll make you something wonky on my new machine!

So I'm assuming the rest of you, like me, are so bloated with food and booze that the prospect of fitting into anything other than smocks is looking like an impossible dream. I've been full on gorging myself with Boursin and Disaronno since November, so now is most definitely the time for eating lots of veggies and walking EVERYWHERE. Apart from NYE, obviously. Because I intend to eat A LOT of Chinese food and chocolate then. But yes, eating must be slightly less of a blood sport for the next month, as at the end of January I'm off filming for Sky again and need to fit into skinny jeans and a strap top. And look a bit bad ass. May need to head off for some aerobics classes in the mean time (god save me!). Luckily, I knew this time was coming, so I made sure I stuffed myself full of food over the Christmas period so I didn't feel like I'd be missing out in January. Sarnies filled with turkey, cheese, pickles, butter, crisps, stuffing and cranberry sauce were a particular favourite. As were my home made Gruyere and caramelised onion tarts (I made 12 just to be on the safe side). And of course, it's terribly important to polish off all those cold roasties with chutney and a dessert of ice cream with biscuits. I don't think I saw a food that wasn't smothered in either butter or cheese for most of December! So now all I want is a carrot with some humus. And a peppermint tea. I've had to hide all my crimble chocolate away so I don't get tempted and shove it all in my face at once-it'll be a lovely treat in February when I'm depressed by how cold and gloomy it is here in London!

I do realise too, that I shall have to take down the Christmas decorations at Bag End relatively soon. But given that I only just arrived back, I feel like that can wait. After all, the tree still looks so pretty and smells so nice! I feel that my housemate The Curly One may put her foot down if it gets to after New Years Day and the tree is still up though. Quite fairly!

Right lovely Reader, I am off to play on my sewing machine a bit more and maybe think about unpacking my suitcase (groan!),

Eat up those leftovers while you can!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Oh god, she keeps coming back...

Reader, here I was, wrapping presents and playing Christmas music when all of a sudden, with a flash and a bang, 17 year old me fell onto the couch next to me.

OI! I was just wrapping nan's Christmas pressie!

Dear child, putting things in plastic bags and securing them with duct tape does not wrapping make.

Well Mum's hidden all the wrapping paper!

One day you will learn to buy wrapping paper ages ahead of time. In fact, you'll pride yourself on getting the sparkliest, shinest tat wrapping paper there is!

Don't have to worry about that for a while though, do I? God, I am SO EXCITED! I can't wait to put out the mince pie and sherry and carrots for the reindeers! 

Yeah, me too. Although Dad made some noises about us stopping that this year.


I know! Bloody ridiculous! I told him that we will only stop doing that once I have kids! And then they will do it and I'll be Santa! (Although I might make him dress up like Granddad used to. We already got him a reindeer onesie)

So what have you asked for this year from Santa?

A few things-a camera that I can vlog with next year (hey, maybe I'll be able to catch you on tape next year!), some nice underwear, gorgeous stockings and tights and various other bits and bobs

Whats a 'vlog'?

It's like a video version of a blog, kind of like...erm...wait, you wouldn't know any of the vloggers I watch, I don't think they've even started when I'm 17. Keep an eye out for Anna Akana and KatersOneSeven though, they're going to be big. So will Jenna Marbles, but you'll get a bit frustrated with how she talks about other women.

Cool! I've asked for Bon-fite' make up and the Arctic Monkey's album. Oh, and this really nice mini kilt from Camden.

First off, it's pronounced 'Benefit' not 'bon-bloody-fite'' Don't be an eejit. And mini kilts make you look like a tarty goth. Especially when you wear them with your fishnets and that strap top.

Nah, everyone wears them!

No everyone bloody doesn't! Oh go on, enjoy them while you can. Soon you'll be too busty to pull that look off anyway.

I reaaaally want a dress from the fifties shop under the bridge in Camden too. You know, the ones with the pinched waists?

Yeah, that's what's known as 'THE PERFECT GIFT'. We'd still happily get a new one of those with a different design for every special occasion. In fact, I might ask for one for my next birthday! You actually have quite a few of those dresses, but they work SO well with your figure. Jeans however, are a lost cause. Our hips are way too big. We are very much a dress girl in our mid twenties.

I never wear dresses!

I know. You learn to. In your first year of uni you turn properly vintage and wear a pencil skirt and heels every day. We've relaxed a bit now, but we still like to crack out the 50's clothes at least once a week. The only reason we have jeans in our wardrobe is for costumes!

Odd. I love my skinny jeans.

That's because you have a tiny bum at the moment.


Er....nothing. Nothing at all. Just cherish it (while you can)

You look really tired today

Wow. Thanks, you really know how to give a girl a compliment

But you do! Your hair is all sticky-uppy and you're wearing men's pyjamas and one of your eyes is half closed! You look like an advert for coffee!

Good. Getting judged by a 17 year old version of myself. Nice. If you must know, I was out with mum and the ladies who work in her company last night and I'm a bit knackered today!

Loser, I've been out at the Mean Fiddler till 5 this morning and I'm off to have lunch with the girls! Right. Bye then! Merry Christmas!

(Bang, crash, wallop)

Off you go, you ridiculous creature.

And merry Christmas to you Reader! May it be full of sugar plums and pine and snow!

Festive tarrahs


Thursday, 19 December 2013

Lonely this Christmas...

So Reader, this is my first Christmas in 5 years as a singleton. I feel like Bridget Jones, only younger and with a smaller flat. And not because I have two dashing men on the scene-no, it's more the cheesy knitted jumper, cringey moments and eating all the food in the house (including, in one tragic moment, a jar of lemon curd). Oh, and going back home for the holidays, which means I'll be sure to be asked the question all singletons dread, 'So, any men on the scene?'

No. There are no men on the scene. The scene is completely lacking in testosterone. Apart from gay men. And very very young ones. Instead of dates, my evening now consist of drinks with the girls (we like to call them platonic date nights-they tend to consist of sushi, dancing on boats, festive booze outside old man pubs and the sort of laughter you only do when you don't give a rats arse how you look or sound), nights on the sofa with my housemate and dinners with the parents. On the rare occasions I do meet guys I have a connection with, they are invariably taken. On a number of occasions, this has led to awkward situations (talking about the guy you fancy to your friend, then being introduced to the girlfriend you didn't know about who was listening the entire time anyone? Kill me now.) and downgrading my flirting far too late into the conversation as it slowly dawns on me that the Fifi they've been talking about is in fact, their significant other rather than their sister.

And of course everyone else in the world is getting married. I'm going to four weddings next year. FOUR. Generally I'm pretty happy being a single lady, but there's nothing like the inevitable stream of facebook posts telling you that 'Terry and Andre are engaged!' or 'Penny and Marcus are tying the knot!' to make you feel a little left behind. Your mid twenties seem to provoke a fight or flight reaction-you evaluate life and either break up with your partner or start getting married and having kids. Meanwhile, if you're anything like me, you're trying to work out the perfect hot chocolate/ biscuit combo and being outraged that your parents suggested not leaving out a mince pie for Santa this year. And I keep getting told that we're the 'It'll do' generation, who just settle. I don't want to settle! I want true, gut punching, knees wobbling, head spinning love! Not 'Ah, he's alright I suppose' vague affection!

It doesn't help that this is one of the most romantic times of year. Holding hands round Christmas markets, buying joint Christmas pressies, having snowball fights and then cold kisses after, roaring fires and twinkly lights at every turn. You kind of even lose your enthusiasm for Christmas films a bit-Love Actually is less appealing when the character you most resemble is the secretary who tries way too hard and doesn't get even a snog out of it (HAH, only joking, I'd never be that forward! I'm far too shy for all that nonsense!) and Miracle on 34th Street is less charming when you keep yelling 'JUST BE NICE TO HIM YOU DAFT COW! HE'S PERFECT AND WANTS TO MARRY YOU DESPITE YOUR STUPID FLICKY HAIR AND PRECOCIOUS BRAT OF A CHILD AND BESIDES, HE'S BEST FRIENDS WITH SANTA!'.  Me and the lovely SJ keep saying we're going to give up on men and become platonic wives with the perfect home. I'll have the kids from a handsome gay sperm doner, she'll bring the money in and hire someone to nanny when I have an acting job and we'll both get wonderfully fat. We might miss actual romance though, so we'll keep it an open marriage just in case.

So this year, when well meaning relatives ask me 'Any men on the scene?' I'm going to look them dead in the eye and say

'Yes. Santa.'

Hope you're all enjoying the festive period Reader, whether you're a single pringle or loved up!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Drunken larks...

Oh dear Reader, I'm feeling a tad delicate today. Last night I had a wonderful evening with one of my best friends, Luxe Lady. We went for sushi, walked up and down the Christmas market on Southbank and then had many a drink on a boat. There was laughter, rowdy chats about sex, dancing in the rain and many many glasses of booze.

But given that I just spent a weekend in Cardiff, my night was relatively tame. Yes, that's right Reader, Cardiff is a hotbed of sin and peeing in the streets. You heard me. PEEING IN THE STREETS. Even the women. We saw such sights. Ladies in tiny stretchy dresses pulled over various wibbles and wobbles, badly tanned cellulite on show, reproductive organs out for all to see. AND A PORTALOO FOR WOMEN WITH NO DOORS. In the middle of a street. I nearly had a heart attack! How does anyone in Cardiff develop a romantic relationship when there's no mystery? The men were spitting on the floor and peeing in corners, the women were lycra clad with unfortunate folds of flab flopping about like plates of flan. It was all a bit terrifying. One night, as I was getting ready for bed and chilling out in front of the Christmas music channel, I overheard a woman's shrill tone. 'CHARMAINE! I JUST SHAT ON A BENCH!'

What. On. Earth.

First off, the logistics of that must have been fairly tricky. Secondly, I fail to believe that there wasn't one available loo nearby, or that a fully grown woman couldn't have held it till she reached the pub or home-what on earth warrants pooing on a bit of public seating out in the open?!

It's really strange, because during the day, the people of Cardiff are a delight-friendly, generous, kind and happy. Every time you go into a shop you end up having an hour long conversation with the lady at the till because she wants to have a chat about where you got your hat from, and how lovely your accent is, and do you know Suzy Puffball from London? But, much like werewolves, as night descends and the bars open for Happy Hour, they turn into something less cheery. Particularly the office workers at their Christmas parties, who are a confusing mix of Christmas jumpers, vomit, and one girl who's crying about someone called Barry and because she can't find one of her earrings in the loo.

I don't think I ever had a night out with a group of people who were all entirely blasted-I've been the hideously drunk person a fair few times, but usually I'm more likely to be the sensible sober one making sure everyone got in a cab alright, so this large group of drunken riotousness is rather unusual for me. In fact, it made me rather relieved to be going back to my hotel room each night instead of heading out for a Christmas booze up. Of course, it clearly didn't put me off drinking, since last night I was out dancing in the rain on the top deck of a boat with a tumbler of Disaronno.

And now here I am, the next day, head like slightly sore cotton wool and having a bit of a happy weep to Love Actually (which is really an insanely sad film if you watch it properly. Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman never get back on track properly, she's still really melancholy at the end, Andrew Lincon is still trailing after Keira with no other loves in sight and Laura Linney remains lonely, with her brother taking up her entire life-thanks GOD for Hugh Grant and Martine Mucutcheon and Kris Marshall for keeping things cheery!) At some point I'm going to have to get up and go shopping since we're out of toothpaste, fresh veg and diet coke, but I'm putting it off for as long as is humanly possible (the thought of having to wear non pj based clothing is making me rather wilty).

But I must eat! So to Asda I go henceforth!
Tarrah Reader!

Friday, 6 December 2013

What does it mean to be a woman?

So Reader, a lovely friend and co-creative peer of mine, Monty, asked me a very interesting question today, that I think I could probably write about till the end of time. He'd read an article in Shortlist this week asking a broad range of men 'What does being a man mean'? and although he'd very much enjoyed the article, he had struggled to answer it, finding it difficult to differentiate between being a male and being a human. In light of this, he asked me

What is your perspective of 'being a woman' or 'to be a woman'? What does it mean to you? Does

that differ from 'being a man'?

Now there's a question and a half. As I said to Monty, there is no right or wrong answer to this, because the outcome will be highly dependent on a huge variety of factors; sociological, cultural and educational. Every woman you ask will give you a different answer, as I expect men would if asked the same question. But this is my personal opinion-I'm not speaking on behalf of all women here, just myself.

In a number of ways, I agree with Monty. We are all human, we deserve the same rights and will have a lot of similar experiences. Saying that, I feel that there are a number of things that help shape us as women and mark us out as being (for want of a better word) different.

So first and foremost you have the obvious differences. Fat settles on us in different ways, we have ovaries, a womb, Fallopian tubes, periods and the ability the bear and feed children. We do not (with the exception of certain genetic minorities) grow facial hair, nor much in the way of body hair. Our hormonal structure is different, which lends itself to us experiencing emotions in a slightly different way to men. There is an old stereotype of women getting sad rather than angry, and it could be said that this is due to us having more estrogen than testosterone in our make up. I am a very good example of this, I am far more likely to cry than shout and can count the times I've been hot ruby red furious on less than two hands. However (and this is a big however) I have spent years on first, the contaceptive pill Yasmin (which alters your emotions), and then the contraceptive implant (which has less of an effect but still can have emotion altering qualities). I was also badly bullied as a kid and standing up for myself usually led to getting either beaten up or taunted, so anger rarely gave me desired results. As I've grown up, I've found that this happens a lot less and I am far more able to deal with anger as an emotion, although I still feel it to be a largely negative one which achieves less results than calm, measured discussion. I do, however, get very very angry on behalf of my friends. I have only slapped two people in my life. One was on a train in Paris, where a teenage boy groped me (completely unprovoked and with no one to stand up for me), the other time being when a dear friend's boyfriend took advantage of another, very drunk friend. I do not condone violence and am far less likely to resort to it these days, preferring instead to use the skills learnt from my mother (a strong, smart woman who uses her words like knives when she needs to) to undermine and defend.

Being a woman is not always a wonderful experience. Being a woman means to be constantly aware of the effect your body may be having and the need to dress in a way that may not create unwanted attention. Or to use your body to create attention. But with that comes guilt and negative connotations. Being a woman means fear of being called either frigid or a slut. Being a woman means a higher level of worry about contraception, as although men would still run the risk of impregnating their partner, they would not have to deal with the physical impact of pregnancy, abortion or childbirth. When you look at a man who is expecting a child, you would not be able to tell, wheras we may as well be wearing a sign that says 'LOOK! I HAD SEX AND NOW I'VE GOT A BABY IN ME!'

Being a woman means we have been told to 'get back in that house young lady' when we wear a skirt too short. I was told at college (a catholic college to be fair) that if we wore revealing clothes and the male teachers had impure thoughts which they acted on, it would be our fault. I have listened to men talk about rape and say 'I'm not saying she asked for it, but...'

Being a woman means that losing my virginity was a huge deal. It meant hours spent in underwear shops talking with my housemate what she could wear for her partner on valentines night. It meant furtively hiding the bags before we left so that no one thought less of us.

Being a woman meant not being allowed to play football for P.E. in primary school. It meant being told trousers were 'unhygenic' in high school.

I was aware of my body very young. I have essentially been on and off a diet since I was 16, although I have never been what would be classed as 'large'. I was flat chested at college and barely got glanced at by boys my age, then suddenly 'blossomed' in my first year of university and had no idea how to deal with the male attention, for the most part not even noticing it had happened or that men were interested in me.

Being a woman means walking past a group of men, having them say something sexually obscene to you, then calling you 'an ugly bitch' when you do not respond.

Being a woman means being told to 'get back in the kitchen', that you're only interested in geek culture to impress men, being told you're a bad driver (even though women statistically have less accidents on the road than men), getting cross in comic book shops because all the women look a certain way, of struggling to find a film where the central theme for women is not a man.

But it's not all bad.

Being a woman means your first experience of buying a bra. I got mine in Dunnes in Ireland with my grandmother and excitedly called my mum to tell her (although there was no way I needed it for a number of years after that). Being a woman means being allowed to be more fluid with your sexuality (we are actually very lucky there, men get far more flack even now for being experimental or coming out as bi or gay). Being a girl means being able to cry without being judged. Being a woman means cosy conversations with your friends where you talk openly about everything under the sun.

Being woman for me in particular means remembering all the women that have come before me. My grandmothers (one a very traditional English housewife who taught me to bake and told me hilarious stories about setting her kitchen on fire, the other a matriarchal Irish woman full of affection and generosity to all she encounters), my amazing mother who worked full time throughout me being a kid, came out with two degrees, travelled the world and found true love with my wonderful dad (who has set me incredibly high standards for what to expect in a partner) as well as always standing up for the rights of women and the belief that anyone can reach the stars. Every woman who comes into my life teaches me something new and leaves me a slightly more built up human being.

Being a woman means singing into a hairbrush, buying too many nail varnishes, discovering and then swiftly rejecting thongs, finding empowering female role models at a young age (Spice Girls anyone?), totally identifying with Anne of Green Gables when you're 13, Jane Eyre when you're 16, Dita Von Teese when you're 18, Lake Bell, Olivia Colman and Rebecca Hall when you're 25 and Bodecia the whole way through your life, knowing how to wear stockings but still having an awkward moment where one falls down halfway through the day.

Being a woman means knowing that what you wear and how you do your make up isn't about pleasing men, it's about who you want to be that day, about wearing the right pair of shoes can make you walk with confidence (like Nigella going into the courtroom of late), about the importance of really good undies, about the joy of not shaving your legs for a while, knowing exactly how long it'll take you to get ready (but somehow always needing another half hour or so), knowing that when you vote, you're not just doing it for yourself but all the women out there who can't vote still and who fought to get you where you are today.

Being a woman means wanting your period for YEARS and then when you get it, freaking out and thinking you're dying because 'that can't be NORMAL?!?! WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!'.

Being a woman means having friends you would kill for, dancing like an idiot, not being able to cope without a handbag to store the essential day to day bits and bobs we could probably live without, naming your boobs and occasionally having conversations with them when you're bored, coming up with rude poems, putting ice cream cones under your top and pretending to be Madonna, being able to talk for hours with the housemate you only saw yesterday, hating, hating, HATING it when people call you 'babe' when they don't know you and loving seeing someone look shocked when you swear really really fucking well when they expected you to be a 'lady' (piss right off, wank faced twat-o-matic).

Being a woman means thinking you want to be a nun for 3 months when you're 14 and then actually going to confirmation lessons and realising that organised religion isn't often very nice to women. It means having HUGE arguments with your nun/teacher about sex before marriage, gay people and contraception and leaving feeling very cross but very proud that you stood your ground.

Being a woman means dealing with your body telling you it wants babies, when you're not ready for them, with having a strange fixation on tiny versions of things, with a sense of great pride when you succeed in a male dominated career, when you stand up for other women, when you perfect applying liquid eyeliner and when you can do more DIY than any man you know.

Being a woman is not a race to rule men-all we want is to be treated equally, but it's still worthy of great pride. Because we work hard, because we are still dealing with prejudice, of stereotypes and negative attitudes. Being a woman is fighting against female circumcision, honour killings, enforced marriage, legal rape (did you know it is still legal to rape your wife in India and many parts of the Middle East?) and lack of independence.

And that, to me, is what being a woman is all about. And that's not nearly half of it. Seriously, I could go on forever.

Thank you to Monty for asking me such a provoking question, and thank you to all the women who have helped form me (and to the men too, because it wasn't just women who got me to where I am today!)


Wednesday, 4 December 2013

All the other actors...

So Reader, as an actor, I go to a few auditions. Admittedly, now I'm slightly more established, a lot of my work comes from my previously made connections and people I've worked with in the past (industry tip, networking is IMPORTANT), but I still go to quite a few and the most interesting part of the whole shebang is always the other actors at the audition.

The thing is, auditioning is a strange thing. Sometimes you'll go to one and there will be loads of girls that look just like you and you'll have a moment of 'Oh dear lord I look like everyone else' (this doesn't happen very often to me, as I am a bit odd looking). Other times you walk in and everyone looks so different, you can only assume the casting director got a very vague brief through. The worst ones though, are when you walk in, look around and realise you are most definitely the odd one out.

I once went to an advert audition and walked into a room full of models, all tall, skinny, young and beautiful. I had a moment of smug pride as I thought 'they must think I'm as gorgeous as these people! They think I'm a model! WIN!' then my pride was swiftly broken as the only other normal looking person got called in with me and cheerfully uttered the eternally soul destroying phrase 'So I guess we're the uggos, huh?'. Oh dear. Pretty sure we were the 'hey, let's get some average looking kids in to see how they work out' routine. As neither of us got cast, it seems they preferred the 6ft, no fat, eyes bigger than my fist look. Bugger.

Of course, occasionally you get the actors who try to psych you out. I always assumed that was just an actor urban legend, until I went to a short film audition a couple of years ago and a slightly older actor asked me where I went to school and when and when I told her where it was and that I had (at that point) just graduated, she looked me right in the eye and said 'yeah, I really feel that drama schools have gone downhill in the last 5 years, they'll just let anyone in'. A bit taken aback, I told her how much I'd enjoyed my course and how it had been very challenging. She replied with 'Hm. Hey, is that your natural hair colour? Or is your natural hair colour your eyebrows?'. WOW. I just smiled and turned to the person on my other side to chat instead. What a knob. It was only a bloody student film! I couldn't believe it (interestingly, I actually saw the film later that year-she wasn't in it. HAH.)

To be fair though, you also meet some awesome people in auditions. I am still in touch through twitter with one really lovely girl I met at a short film audition earlier this year, who made the whole waiting process great fun, as we just giggled the whole way through it. I met one of my close male friends Sam at the audition for drama school and although we ended up studying at different places, we are still close almost 5 years later. When I went to work at the callcentre, I ended up bumping into loads of people I'd already met at auditions which was lovely!

The thing is, auditions are much better when you don't see the other people there as competition, but as people swimming against the tide with you. If you get on with them, you go in feeling relaxed, happy and ready to face the world! If you're bitter and try to make them nervous before they go in, karma will come back to bite you on the bum. So don't do it yeah? Be a lovely person, you'll make more friends that way!

Tarrah Reader!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Hot stuff...

Reader, I am very confused about attraction. Obviously, I can't really speak for men (or gay women) but we find some really weird things attractive, that we really shouldn't. My blog entry the other day on being 'a good girl' and the concept of liking 'bad boys' got me thinking about it and some of my girlfriends and I had a chat about the things we go for in the opposite sex. Combine this with my housemate and I's 'Wall of I would' (an objective list of the men that we would probably dribble at if we met) and you have a whole mess of 'seriously, but why?!'


  1. Men who can sing/are in bands
Ok. I get it. Talent is sexy. But seriously? Why does someone standing on a stage crooning get us hot and bothered? Ok, so they're singing about love and how wonderful it is and we want to be the girl they're singing about. Or they're singing about heartbreak and we want to give them a hug. Or they're singing something sexy and....erm...Ok, so I kind of get it. But I've been involved (not that romantically really, more just flirtatiosly) with a couple of guys in bands. One had a girlfriend and wrote me a love letter. And wrote a song about me, which he then performed IN FRONT OF HER. Any residual fancying of him kind of vanished after that, it was such a douchey thing to do to a girl. Writing songs about someone you like-awesome and romantic. When you have a girlfriend and it's not about her-worthy of a punch in the face. The other guy was a talented performer but I think half expected me to make all the moves on him. Which just was not going to happen. Give me a break ya'll, I was 17! And he was in his early twenties!

    2.   Bad Boys

I touched on this in an earlier blog-but I still don't get it. In what world is a guy who's been in jail attractive? Why is someone who treats you like crap a worthy partner? Since when has a guy who cheats been sexy as hell? I just don't get it. I have a couple of friends at the moment who have long, complicated relationships with 'bad boys', and no, they don't look like James Dean and smoulder from against a soft top car, most of the time they're just guys who are normal looking who treat the girls like rubbish. And for whatever reason, the girl won't leave them. In most circumstances, the girl is so emotionally beaten by them and lacking in confidence because of their constant cheating, mean remarks or just lack of emotional availability, they don't feel good enough to leave because they are convinced they can't do better. But what made them get with the guy in the first place? In one instance, a friend first told us about her (now partner of YEARS) by saying he was a loser who tried to get in her pants. But somehow he managed to keep a hold on her. I don't get it at all. Although I can't claim to be entirely innocent of liking the wrong men-when I was younger I had a long running, intense infatuation with a guy who treated me like rubbish. I was much more naive back then but I think part of me thought that he was actually really sensitive and scared of his feelings for me and that I could sort of nurse him back to being a good person. Looking back now, I think he just liked the attention and thought it was funny to string me along like an adoring but slightly stupid puppy. Luckily, I am a lot older and wiser now and can safely say that I make far more sensible choices with who to give my heart to-nice people only need apply!

   3.   Funny Guys

Funny = sexy. I don't know why. It just sort of does. I'm not talking about fart humour or anything gross, but guys who are witty and make me laugh like a loon really do it for me. I have a lot of long standing crushes on comedians and I don't really get why. I mean, telling a joke doesn't necessarily mean you'd make a good life partner does it? Saying that-and here's the science bit-laughing releases serotonin, which is also released during sex. Maybe there's a link there! Still, I'd go out with Eddie Izzard or Dylan Moran any day....*sigh*. 

  4.   Hair

Oh god, hair. I have made plenty of bad romance decisions based on hair before. Which is so awful, but dear god, good hair on a man is a wonderful thing. Not too gelled, not too 'done'. Just. Hair. This is potentially why I fancied Luke from The Kooks. And Alan Rickman in Robin Hood. And Nicholas Hoult (shut up, his hair is ALWAYS PERFECT). Even so, from an evolutionary perspective, why is that something I go for? It's not like back in the day, the caveman with the best bouffant was the best provider. Maybe it's to do with peacocking?  Or like when lizards show the ruff of skin round their neck? Or when birds puff themselves up? I don't know! It makes no sense!

 5.  Cocky men

 No, I don't mean THAT Reader. Get your head out of the gutter! Guys with confidence are very fanciable. However, there is a line which should not be crossed. Being confident about life-great. Constantly talking about yourself-not so great. Being confident enough to make the first mood-hurrah! Being so cocky you just assume most women fancy you-ick. I suppose confidence in yourself means we think we should be confident about you as well-and who wants to date anyone (male or female) who's constantly criticising themselves? It's dull to have to keep trying to praise someone who is determined to put themselves down. But it's also quite dull to have someone flexing their muscles all day or boasting about how many girls they've slept with. So, strike a balance eh?

6.  Hands on ability

Again Reader, NO NOT LIKE THAT. Honestly, you're filthy! I'm talking about guys who can do things with their hands. Cooking for example. Or fixing things. Or sketching. It's skillful, impressive and draws ladies like a moth to the flame. So, this one I really do understand. Having a guy cook for you is delightful. Especially dishes you don't know how to make yourself. When someone knows how to fix things it's a bit like your nesting instinct kicks in and your hormones go 'he can make a good nest with me! With plumbing! And carved oak chairs and a matching bar!' when they can draw you get a bit of a 'draw me like one of your French Girls' moment. As a girl who loves to cook and has been raised with a good knowledge of DIY, it's nice when someone can match or beat my abilities, so I don't always feel like the one who has to do it all the time. And I've always been rubbish at art, so am always very impressed when anyone can produce something so fantastic. 

Feel free to add some strange things of your own. We all have them-these are quite generic ones really, but I have a friend who loves sweaty guys. Another is really attracted to Irish men. I like men with a lovely cut glass accent, but I'm similarly enthralled by a northern lilt. One friend only ever dates gingers. And one (really odd) friend has a penchant for men who are brilliant at geography. Strange that.

Tarrah Reader!