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Rising Star Charlie Blackwood on why we should create a ‘Back to Basics Day

I’d create a ‘Back to Basics Day’. Technology has grown into a necessity in modern life, but I wonder whether a day a year to unplug from technology and go back to our roots would add a sense of gratefulness and appreciation into our lives. By this I mean no television, microwave, washing machine, electric […]


I’d create a ‘Back to Basics Day’. Technology has grown into a necessity in modern life, but I wonder whether a day a year to unplug from technology and go back to our roots would add a sense of gratefulness and appreciation into our lives. By this I mean no television, microwave, washing machine, electric toothbrush, smartphone, cars, etc. A day of calm, peace and mindfulness. I think it would be a worthy break from today’s fast-paced, switched-on world. It would do the planet a lot of good too!


As a part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Charlie Blackwood. Charlie is a talented British actress who trained at one of the top drama schools in London — MOUNTVIEW ACADEMYOF THEATRE ARTS and was awarded a BA (Hons) degree in Acting. Her professional stage debut was in Shakespeare’s TIMON OFATHENS at THE NATIONAL THEATRE London, directed by NICHOLAS HYTNER. Charlie has worked for the BBC in GREAT EXPECTATIONS (TV mini series), THE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE and THE NATIONALTHEATRE OF SINGAPORE. Charlie stars as the lead role in MATRIARCH released by LIONSGATE, SONY, SKY and AMAZON 2019. News of her upcoming work can be found here.


Thank you so much for doing this with us Charlie! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I was born in South Africa. My parents are British and my Mom was working for Warner Records and my Dad had a kiwifruit farm. When I was 1 year old we moved back to Scotland. I had a Scottish accent (now English) up until the age of 7 when we moved to Cornwall, where I lost the accent, and eventually, I moved to London to pursue my career in the arts.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I’ve always had the urge to perform. From a very young age, I went to dance classes and the reason I moved to London was to become a professional dancer. During my training at London Studio Centre, one of the top dance schools in the UK, I began to participate in acting classes. They completely blew my mind and I realized there and then, that acting was the path for me. After dance school, I went straight to Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, of which Dame Judy Dench is President, and attained my BA Hons in Acting.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

There are many interesting stories, from having a coffee on the set of a movie with Dexter Fletcher (Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocketman) and Linda Hamilton (Terminator I & II), it’s a long story, but I got lost and they came to my rescue: to working-out with Mark Wahlberg in Hollywood: to chatting with Tim Burton (Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands) about his favorite movie… I bet you can’t guess what it is? I’ll give you a hint — it’s from the writers of South Park and uses the same style puppets as Thunderbirds. That’s what I love about the industry, there’s never a boring day, you’re always meeting new and interesting people, and if some of those people happen to be your idols — then even better!

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

There’s certainly a lot of funny things that have happened, but I wouldn’t necessarily call them mistakes, for two reasons mainly. I was very well prepared going into the industry, partly because of my training and partly because I’m a bit of a perfectionist and like to prep as much as possible before going into a role. Also, I feel it’s important not to look at ‘mistakes’ in a negative way, but more as an opportunity to keep learning and progressing.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I’m currently in training (I’m doing my own stunts) for a new film called Toxica, which starts filming later this year. I play the lead role, Augusta Ilex, who’s a bit of a maverick. I’ve worked with the director Rona Walter before on the award-winning short film Story of Frank (Cannes Short Film Festival 2017). Rona has some very impressive ideas for this shoot using practical effects only, which is quite rare these days. Augusta is a completely different character from the lead role I played in Matriarch, released this year by Lionsgate USA, Sony Pictures Germany, Sky UK and Amazon Prime.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Try not to take things too seriously.

My professional debut was in Timon of Athens (a lesser-known Shakespeare play) at the National Theatre, London, directed by Nicholas Hytner.I’d just graduated from drama school and took everything too seriously, frightened, I suppose, to make a mistake or not do a good job. However, as soon as I started rehearsals, I felt a creative playfulness. Simon Russell Beale and the rest of the cast made the experience so much fun, that even though we all did our jobs very professionally, we also had a lot of fun in the process. Since then, I’ve always remembered that as an actress one of the best things about my job is that I get to create and play, every day.

Start before action.

I can’t remember how or when I learned this, but I always find it very useful to start a scene before the director shouts action. I don’t mean start the dialogue, but I do mean be in the moment even before the camera is rolling. Not all actors will agree with me on this, but if you’re starting out and haven’t tried it, give it a go. I find it enhances my performances on screen.

Get rid of old scripts.

I used to have drawers full of scripts I had auditioned for. Keeping them just in case I got a recall or the job. Now I get rid of them as soon as I’ve done the audition. I find that mentally, it’s a far better thing to do, rather than dwell on what could have been. It clears my mind, ready for the next audition.

Treat the audition as the job.

Rather than going into an audition worrying and hoping you get the job, go in as if the job is already yours, which allows for more creativity and will put you at ease as you perform. I was actually taught this at drama school, but it took a lot of practice to put into place, and still to this day I have to remind myself to think in that way as I walk into the audition room. I always do my best work when I focus solely on my performance and not the anxiety of the audition environment.

The only competition you have is yourself.

The acting industry is extremely competitive as there are so many actors hoping to get work in their chosen profession, let alone ‘make it’. There are lots of us and it’s important to remember that, although we may audition for the same parts, we are not really in competition with each other. No matter how good a job you do in the audition room, you just may not be the right fit for the part. So, just always do your best and move on. If you do a good audition you’ll be remembered by the director or casting director, and potentially called in for other opportunities. Be kind to others within the industry and be secure in the fact that your time is coming.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Make time to do something that you enjoy outside of the profession, whether that be playing your favorite sport, yoga, painting, meditation, etc. If you give yourself this space, you’ll find that when you come back to work, you’ll feel rejuvenated and less likely to burn out.

Be careful with social media, especially first thing in the morning or last thing at night. I used to be guilty of this, and I found once I stopped, not only did I sleep better, I also had a better start to my day. Alongside this, be mindful of what you look at on social media. I make it a rule to follow accounts/people that inspire and motivate me, lift my mood and encourage me. Take note of how you feel when you’re on social media, if you are having negative feelings towards whatever you’re interacting with, maybe it’s time to unfollow.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I’d create a ‘Back to Basics Day’. Technology has grown into a necessity in modern life, but I wonder whether a day a year to unplug from technology and go back to our roots would add a sense of gratefulness and appreciation into our lives. By this I mean no television, microwave, washing machine, electric toothbrush, smartphone, cars, etc. A day of calm, peace and mindfulness. I think it would be a worthy break from today’s fast-paced, switched-on world. It would do the planet a lot of good too!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My Dad. He’s one of my biggest supporters and has been a rock in helping me build my career. He’s the person I go to more often than not for advice, he’s the person I run lines with, read scripts with, whom I talk to about potential jobs and career choices. It’s crucial to have supportive people in your life, I’ve been very lucky in that my family and friends have been just that. Always surround yourself by people who lift you up and motivate you to be the best version of yourself.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

This one came from my Dad. “How you think, is how you feel, and how you feel is how you are.” I’ve always had a very positive outlook on life and a sense that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. This is because for as long as I can remember my Dad instilled that quote in me. I believe it’s that kind of thinking that has got me to where I am today.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I’d love to have brunch with Jodie Comer. I admire her greatly and would love to discuss her process, especially in creating her character in Killing Eve. I think she’s extraordinarily talented and probably a lot of fun to hang out with too.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

You can follow me on:

Instagram @charlieblackwood

Facebook @CharlieBlackwoodOfficial

Twitter @CharliBlackwood

Find me and say hello! ☺

This was very meaningful, thank you so much!

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