First off, how are you and how is your 2021 going?
I think like most people it’s had its ups and downs. It’s lovely getting back to work and seeing friends – but part of me is a real homebody, so not so secretly, I did enjoy a bit of lockdown on my sofa under a duvet!
Can you tell us about your career so far, and what inspired you to write and curate Instructions For A Teenage Armageddon?
I’m an actor and writer by trade, but always play teenage girls, so spend a lot of time in their headspace – as weird as that sounds! I’m an ambassador for an amazing teenage mental health charity called Stem4, so I see first-hand the difficulties young girls are going through. 1 in 4 teenage girls in the UK and US self-harm, and have low self-esteem, this statistic really shocked me and was the catalyst to try and write something that might help young girls feel empowered.
Can you talk us through some of the topics in the book?
I wanted the topics to cover all aspects of being a young woman, an all-encompassing guide – so topics include everything from consent, boundaries, mental health, skincare, style, stress, friendships, peer pressure, periods, activism, and more. It also has sections that include active tips to help young women, and kick-ass profiles of women that everyone should know about.
What was the process like for selecting the women who penned the letters for the book?
I’m lucky that a couple of the wonderful women are friends or people I’ve worked with before, who I called upon first and said ‘what do you think about this idea I’m doing, tell me if this is silly and a pipe dream’ to which no one said it was thankfully! Then everyone else were women who I really look up to. Be it through their work, their activism, and just being a generally brilliant woman. We wanted it to be as inclusive as possible, and we also have some real experts in their fields dispensing advice.
Why do you think it’s so important that young women understand their worth earlier on in life?
Because it feeds into everything you do as you grow. Every choice and decision you make. You don’t even realise it, but your worth and how you feel about yourself dictates everything in life. I have really low self-esteem and looking back, there are situations where I should have asked for more but felt I didn’t deserve it. Or stood up for myself but was too scared to. We need our girls from a young age feeling empowered and like they can do anything.
What do you hope are the main takeaways after reading the book?
I hope that readers feel that they’re going to be okay. That they’re going to get through whatever they may be going through and whatever life throws at them. That they have the power to do whatever they want in life, and can achieve anything.
How will you be advocating and celebrating International Day of the Girl on Monday 11th October?
By launching the Teenage Armageddon website and Instagram (@teenagearmageddon)! We have lots of amazing empowering content, advice and stories of incredible girls to share. And we want to shout as loudly as we can about how brilliant girls are.
How do you juggle each aspect of your career, and decide when you should be writing/performing/acting?
I probably should buy a diary – I often forget what I’m meant to be doing! But usually, everything fits around my acting commitments and writing really feeds into acting I’ve found. It’s all story-telling of some sort. I think if you do multiple things it’s important to give each of them enough energy and time. But usually, other people tell me what, where and when – it’s a bit like being a permanent child!
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently shooting a movie which is a musical biopic, playing a very iconic entertainer – I can’t say who it is just yet!
What does your perfect weekend look like?
Now that I’m older, I love an overnight stay away. My favourite I’ve done was Lucknam Park near Bath. So probably a trip there, with afternoon tea and then a swim in the spa and a lovely quiet dinner. Alternatively, a trip to Paris – Paris is always a good idea!
What do you always carry with you?
I sadly don’t even own a handbag. So the obvious answer is my phone. And worry. I wish I didn’t but I worry about everything.
What would your last ever meal be?
All. The . Pasta. Probably Spaghetti Bolognese and garlic bread. I want to personally thank whoever invented garlic bread. Especially with cheese. And then Ben & Jerry’s phish food!
What is one positive piece of advice you could give to our audience?
What is for you, won’t go by you. Your journey is your own, and you have to try and enjoy it. Otherwise, what’s the point in life if not to have fun?