Thursday, 4 May 2017

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH FAIR CITY'S REBECCA GRIMES

There's nothing short of drama on Fair City recently between the women's revolution, Paul realising Niamh stole his money and of course the Katy story line, anyone following the soap will agree it's been nothing less than entertaining and one young actress has been in the hype of it all, Rebecca Grimes, aka Miss Hayley Collins.
 I'm obsessed with Rebecca's character Hayley, she's my all time favourite Fair City character. Her sassy yet empowering personality, her amzing sense of fashion and her PR background I think she is the coolest gal on the block but after doing some research I realised the girl behind Hayley the lovely Rebecca Grimes is just as hard working, ambitious and determent as her character... just a lot nicer!!

I first came across the real Rebecca Grimes when I was on my lunch break in work reading a little interview she had done with a magazine and I couldn't get over how lovely she came across.  When I got home that evening I decided to look into her work and she what else she had been up to and I was blown away. From theatre to television she's never stopped, knowing exactly what she wanted and never giving up. So many traits which I admire so you can only imagine the excitement I had when I got the chance to ask Rebecca a few questions. I hope you enjoy reading this interview as much as I enjoyed doing it :)

What made you want to follow a career into acting? Was it something you were always interested in perusing or did it just happen for you?
 I was always involved in speech and drama classes growing up. When I went to secondary school I took part in all the school productions that we had and I guess that's where i really fell in love with it. I didn't really realise at that time that you could pursue it further. I remember filling out my CAO form and being clueless because nothing appealed to me. I knew I never wanted a conventional 9-5 job, once I realised I could get proper training and try to make a go of acting as a career my mind was made up!

When you realised you were on the right path how did you get involved in the acting scene?
Well I was very young when I finished school, I had my leaving cert done at 16. I was too late for some of the acting courses that year (and I didn't get into some of the others!)  so I decided to do a post leaving cert course in Theatre Performance. That year was brilliant for me because it gave me a complete introduction into the world I was getting into. We studied texts, went to see plays, put on our own productions. It was really great and for me it was the best stepping stone into what I wanted to do. At the end of that year I ended up getting an audition for a new Passion Machine play. I got the part and had my first professional part as Clare Maguire in A Little Bit of Blue directed by Paul Mercier at Andrews Lane theatre. After that I got signed with an agent and tried my hand at auditions here and there for a year but it quickly became clear I needed more training. It was then I decided I needed to go back and apply for the Gaiety School of Acting.

How was your time in the Gaiety? 
It was a great experience. It was very tough and it really does separate the men from the boys! It is a very intensive two year full time course, you have a massive workload, long days from 8:30am til usually 6pm . Then you might be trying to keep a part time job going too, as well as getting your assignments done, seeing shows and preparing for the next day. That said it gave us invaluable experiences and I made some of the best friends of my life there!

Is it important for aspiring actors to go to college or can you pick it up? 
I don't necessarily think a degree is important- I don't have one myself, but I do  think formal training is a hugely valuable asset to anyone looking to pursue acting as a career. Of course there is always an element of natural talent but you learn so much about the industry and about yourself as a performer , and about the type of work you are interested in making whilst training.

Like I mentioned above your CV is jam packed and it's so easy to see you're hardworking and determent, what was your big break?
Oh gosh :) well, there's been some very very quiet times in my career. After graduating the gaiety I didn't work for three years... I was waitressing full time to pay my rent and not getting any of the auditions I was going for. Its a very tough time as an actor because you begin to doubt yourself and the path you've chosen. Eventually I got a part in a play-unpaid of course! And from that somebody from a different agency saw me. I decided to apply to this agency and luckily I was accepted. From there, very slowly things started happening. I think I needed a change as much as anything and the new start with this agency was the fresh start I Needed. I got parts in plays here and there including a show in The Gate and various fringe productions. Then I got some bit parts a couple of short films and TV shows such as Ripper Street and Vikings.


What's been your most special memory of the industry?
There's been so many lovely moments thankfully. I guess turning 18 on that first show in Andrews Lane was really special. The cast all bought me a cake and a beautiful book signed by them all. I had my first legal drink served to me in the bar that night and then we all went out for karaoke. That's a great memory :)

How did Fair City happen for you?
Well actually I auditioned for fair city YEARS ago. I read for the role of Louise Doyle when she was coming back into the show a while back. Obviously the part went to the much better suited, fabulous Leah Egan. I got the standard rejection email "we loved you, but not this time. ..we'll be in touch if anything else comes up" . I took it with a pinch of salt as unfortunately rejection mails are ten a penny in this business, but lo and behold about three years later I got an email from Fair City one day while I was working a temporary December Job. They said they'd had me in a few years previous and a part had come up that they thought I was suitable for-was I interested? Was i what! I couldn't believe it- it was the best Christmas Present!

What's a typical day like for you on set?
There's no such thing as a typical day!! ;)
 However it usually starts I'm up at 5:30am to do my hair and drive to the studio. Then I'm in makeup at 7.20. We start filming at 8:15 You could be in every scene of the day, or you might only appear in one. It all depends on.what's happening in the storyline at the moment. We get an hour for lunch during the day which I usually spend grabbing some food and going over my scenes for that afternoon or the following day. Then we wrap filming at 6:35, unless we're on a late shoot which could mean anytime!

Is acting as glamorous as people think?
There are definitely glamorous elements! Its lovely to get your hair and makeup done and to wear nice clothes, but the reality of it is often long days, lots of waiting around. Very often you're outside all day in all weather conditions. I've been on productions where we had to stand in a river in the freezing cold and rain all day. Thankfully the crew were amazing and wrapped us in warm blankets and gave us hot water bottles in between takes, but its still tough going. That definitely wasn't a glamorous day! 

 I love Hayley, but what do you think of her? Are you anything like her in real life?
Well we both have curly hair!! :) but no Hayely is way more feisty and outspoken than me! I also don't sleep with other people's husband's in real life!! 

Speaking of sleeping with husbands, you were recently part of the all women's episode how was it working along side Celia Murphy (Niamh Brennan) for the past couple of months?
Clelia is one of the funniest people going and we get on great! We shared a dressing room during that block of filming and we got on like a house on fire. She's also a stunning actress and I loved watching her in action. We had great fun shooting the scenes between Aisling O'Neill- another fabulous actress, Clelia and myself. We were like The Witches of Eastwick plotting against Paul. It was a real honour to get to be part of those storylines.

What can we expect for her in the upcoming months? 
 I have absolutely no idea!! I'm so interested to see what's next for her. Its always so exciting when we get the scripts, I'm always wondering what mischief Hayley will be up to next!

Was there ever a time you felt like acting wasn't going to happen for you and considered throwing in the towel? 
Absolutely! There were plenty of wobbly moments over the years. The first three years after graduating were definitely the hardest. It gets so tiring to be told no time and time again, its hard to not let that effect your self confidence. I was really lucky in that I had a very strong network of close friends after the Gaiety. We were all able to encourage and support each other through tough times. Thankfully something came up just in the nick of time every time I felt like quitting! 

Have you ever written any plays yourself? 
Yes I wrote and performed in a play called Mavericks that was on about two
years ago. It ran at Theatre Upstairs (which is run by Karl Shiels who plays Robbie in Fair City). After that, we were invited to perform at Bewleys Cafe Theatre on Grafton St. We were actually the last show to perform there in the old space. It was a piece I was very proud of and had the best time working on. I wrote it with a friend and we had been working on it for years. He took a step back from it to pursue another career and eventually I finished it. Somehow I managed to convince the most amazing team to work with me and we put it on. It was a play about two out of work actors trying to put on a play :) I suppose its true that you should write what you know! 
 Writing is something I absolutely love and I definitely plan to do more of in the future.


What can you tell us about yourself that might surprise us? 
I teach group fitness classes in Finglas four times a week. People are usually surprised when they hear that. You get the odd person saying it to me in class but most of my girls don't even bat an eyelid now, unless they're trying to find out some story line secrets! Obviously I never divulge anything but we have a good laugh anyway.

Finally Rebecca, what advice can you give someone hoping to follow in your footsteps and peruse an acting career?
Never ever give up, if its something you really want you will find a way to do it. Work hard, keep your head down and stay focused. Go see as much theatre and films as you possibly can, find out what you like and what you don't. Read everything you can get your hands on and try to learn about what type of work you want to create. Then surround yourself with like minded people who will support and encourage you! 

And there you have it my interview with the lovely Rebecca Grimes, see I told you she was a sweetheart!!
Huge thanks to Rebecca for taking her time out to answer these questions for me!!
It was a privilege!!
Lynda xx 

1 comment: