It’s 9:41 am
Welcome to another edition of “8 Questions with…..”.
Laura Ellen Wilson is a woman on the move…she has been a singer/dancer on cruise ships,has won several karaoke contents (which is much harder then you think) and has slid over seamlessly into acting. She is also a loving daughter who loves her family very much. When I approached Laura Ellen for this interview,she very graciously agreed to talk with me. A few days later she wrote me saying she was sending her answers but a family issue had come up. I found out that her beloved grandfather had passed away. But what struck was the fact Laura Ellen was worried about me and the interview,she was concerned about my deadline. Despite suffering a sad loss,Laura Ellen reached out to assure me that she was sending me her answers. Professional and classy.
I feel really blessed to have come across such a softhearted and talented artist like Laura Ellen and after reading her answers to 8 Questions,so will you…..
Please introduce yourself and tell us a little of your background.
My name is Laura Ellen Wilson and I am an actress and martial artist, born and raised in Lancashire, UK. I am an only child and have always been interested in Performing Arts and travelling but never known what I would like to do with it. I love growing exotic fruits and vegetables. I’m currently growing mangoes, avocados and cantaloupe melons, to name just a few! I live at home in Chorley, Lancashire with my mum and dad and my dog, Ben.
What was your childhood like? Are you from a family with an artistic background?
My childhood was filled with adventures galore! I was such a tomboy – climbing trees and keeping worm and ant farms – that was the best!
In terms of career, I have gone the total opposite way to my parents – naturally!! I was always trying to tell my parents I wanted to perform but they didn’t have the knowledge of the industry and kept telling me it ‘wasn’t a real job’ and to try nursing etc! For a while I did want to be a police officer, like my mum was, but whenever I got on stage, my mind changed again! Back in 2013, my parents were just coming round to the idea of me being in this industry but to help them understand the ‘buzz’ of being in front of a camera, I signed them both up to an extras agency. Mum wasn’t too keen, but dad loved it and he’s been in lots of really well known TV shows and films and rubbed shoulders with many A-List actors!
You can sing, dance and act…..which came to you first and how did you develop your craft?
I believe singing came first around the age of 7. I entered lots of karaoke competitions when I was on holiday and won some of them. It was only when I went on holiday when I was 11 and saw real showgirls in their feathers, looking so glamourous, did I turn around to my mum and say ‘that’s what I want to be’. I actually remember my mum rolling her eyes and laughing! From then on, the dream was to be a showgirl and perform in musical theatre. Around the age of 13, I was cast as the lead in a short promotional film which was being made for the martial arts club I attended. The experience was exhilarating and that was the moment I wanted to be an actress! The problem, however, was that I wanted to travel and perform and the only way, was to put acting on hold whilst I got the wanderlust out of my system. In terms of training, I couldn’t really afford singing or dancing lessons so I watched videos on the internet and taught myself. My only proper training was 2 years of Performing Arts at College.
Your career has taken you to so many different places! Which three cities/countries have been your favourite and what makes them so special?
Sorry, but I’m going to have to choose four!!!
The most special place for me is Mexico. I spent my first 2 contracts there and there is no doubt in my mind, that it made me the dancer I am today. It will always hold a special place in my heart!
The joint 2nd/3rd special places are Lake Garda, Italy and Lanzarote. These were both my final 2 contracts and I was choreographer of the entertainment team for both. Such a challenge, but my goal towards the end of my dance career was to be choreographer – and I made it. I guess you can probably tell I am very goal driven!!!
In 4th place, but by far the most stunning is Disney’s private Island, Castaway Cay in the Bahamas. We docked there every Friday, when I worked on Disney Cruise Lines, and I literally had to focus so hard on my work because the place just took my breath away each time. The photos just don’t do it justice.
As with anything, it isn’t just about the place. It’s the people you meet along the way that makes it so special. I’ve made some real lifelong friendships.
What made you decide to pursue acting on a full-time basis?
In 2013, I was at the point in my dance career when I needed to take a step back and re-affirm my love of acting. I knew that I couldn’t dance forever and I wanted to confirm to myself, that as soon as I quit dance, I will throw myself straight into acting- otherwise I would study to be an immunologist – that stuff absolutely fascinates me. I am the kind of person who needs to have a 2 year plan in place! I got a lot of experience that year, including 2 feature films and I desperately wanted to carry on, but the wanderlust and the stage lights tugged me back! At the beginning of this year, I had an overwhelming urge to start acting again and I just had a feeling that something good was coming. Quitting the stage was the hardest thing I have done, but the success so far this year has made every decision worth it. I do miss the sun and the beach though….
As an actress who has done 5 short films, do you feel performers should always be paid for their work outside of a charity project?
I have done many more than that, but yes, this year I have shot 5 so far. Back in 2013, I played lead and supporting roles in 16 short films, all of which, were student films and were unpaid. I did have a job on the side, so it wasn’t such a major issue and most filmed at the weekend. Back then, it wasn’t about the pay, it was about gaining experience in front of the camera and on a set.
I see a lot of people online scrutinising castings and actors for taking on unpaid work, but in my opinion, it is all down to that person. If I see a project that is unpaid, but would look great on my showreel or the character would be a challenge, it really doesn’t bother me. I’ll apply. Obviously, if you are a full-time actor with bills to pay, it’s a totally different story, but from my perspective, if it is something that could potentially enhance your career, then do it.
What has been the three most important lessons you have learned in the time you have become a full-time actress?
I think I am still learning! However, from networking online and reading posts from other actors, I think there needs to be much more support for those just starting out in the industry and those who are going through a quiet period etc. It is very easy to get yourself down when the auditions don’t come to anything or when auditions don’t come through at all and a quick message from a fellow actor or someone in the industry, makes a world of difference.
Patience is a virtue! Nothing will happen overnight. It takes hard work, determination and a lot of drive – oh and A LOT of networking!
Tell us about the feature film you are shooting in the United States next year, how did you land the part?
The feature film is called ‘Toll House Horrors’. It is a spiritual horror and I play the role of Dr. Sandra Artemis. Back in March, I was on IMDb and I noticed others had their photo on there but I didn’t! I started to read up and saw that I had to subscribe. So I did. I found the casting call for Toll House Horrors on there and the rest is history!
Who inspires you most as an actress? What three actors impress you the most and why?
For me, this really is such a difficult question to answer. I have so many, it is impossible to choose just 3. Any actor who can bounce straight back up after rejection, inspires me. It is an art form in itself to be able to take so much rejection and then carry on as though nothing happened!
From an early age, I watched Johnny Depp. He is just an incredible guy! He looks different in each of his movies and his versatility is incredible. I also have real respect for Andrew Lincoln from The Walking Dead. Apart from it being my favourite show right now, for a guy who was brought up not far from me, to have made such an impact across the pond, is just so inspirational. I also have a serious girl crush on Melissa McCarthy!
How do you handle all the scammers who promise you roles but you know they never will deliver?
I have heard so many horror stories from people who have been scammed. I am lucky that I am very vigilant and know my way around the internet so I can do thorough searches on those who I am speaking with. Saying that, I have indeed come across a couple! Do your research, if you know of someone they have previously worked with, speak to them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If they are legit, they will be happy to answer!
What do you like to do for fun? Tell us 5 things you love about the city you live now.
Well, of course I already mentioned my wonderful fruit and vegetable garden. I really enjoy cosy nights in with my friends, a take away and a good film/box set. I also love going on long walks with my parents and my dog.
Its not a city, but I live in a place called Chorley, near Preston. Growing up here, I just wanted to get out and live in a ‘cool’ place! However, since travelling and coming home, this really is home and I love it. It’s really up and coming too. A cinema is currently being built and we have some lovely little shops and a huge outdoor market! My friends are going to call me really sad for saying this, but I am very proud to be a Chorley lass!
I like to thank Laura Ellen for taking the time and under a sad situation,for sitting down and doing this interview. To learn more about Laura Ellen,please visit her links below.
Please feel free to leave comments and or questions as well.