Rising Star Actress Kayleigh-Paige Rees On The Five Things You Need To Shine In The Entertainment Industry

I wish someone would have told me how hard it is. That I may not get a self tape daily or a job every month but it’s so worth it for the long haul. I love my job and always say that if you’re a young actor or someone who wants to know more about the industry to pop me over an email or message.

As a part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Kayleigh-Paige Rees.

Helmed by first time feature-length film director Ella Greenwood, Faulty Roots is a coming-of-age drama about Lola, an unassuming and lonely 17-year-old with depression who forges a friendship with a boy named Zack who is grappling with his own mental health conditions. Adapted from Greenwood’s short of the same name, Faulty Roots marks the US film debut of Kayleigh-Paige Rees. The theatrically-trained British actor has starred in the quirky indie flick Ann Rolls Green, the sumptuous ITV/PBS Jane Austen period drama Sanditon, and a smattering of shorts and commercials. Already an outspoken advocate, Rees’s upcoming leading role as Faulty Roots troubled heroine Lola is another stitch in the larger tapestry of activism for mental health awareness and representation that Rees has woven throughout her career. She refuses to be a passive participant in Hollywood’s ageist attitudes towards women and being boxed in. It’s what led her to taking acting and the art of storytelling in film into her own hands. With her close friend, writer-director George Perry, Rees founded her own production company Raspberry Films. Raspberry Films has a crucial role in Faulty Roots it’s one of two studios that’s producing the much-hyped coming-of-age film.

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

No worries at all and yes of course!

I actually grew up abroad in the Algarve, Portugal. I moved around a lot as a child and I think that is what led me into this path, I went to twelve different schools and felt that at each one I went to I tried out a slightly different version of myself. I am an only child and was always creating stories. I loved watching movies and tv shows.

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

I trained in musical theatre for two years from 16–18, we were auditioning for our end of year show when they asked me to perform a monologue, it was about a woman on a rollercoaster dumping her boyfriend but later accepts his proposal. Afterwards, I was given the monologue to perform and in my brain it just fell into place, the part of dance I loved so much was the character arc and performance. I haven’t looked back since and I’m proud to have achieved what I have.

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

Umm that’s such a hard question, every project I have been a part of has had interesting and funny moments and stories.

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?

I think my most embarrassing moment was when I was shooting on a feature film about a ballet dancer, I was shooting in London for a month and had been informed of my shoot days, obviously you get a call sheet the night before shooting but I was 19 and thought the production team had forgotten so I went to set the next day and got sent back to the hotel as they had reshuffled the days and I was no longer needed, I’ve never been so embarrassed in my life. Oh well what can you do! I’ve worked a lot since then and it was an innocent mistake.

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

I’m currently working on a feature film called ‘Kate and Jake’ starring Crissy Rock and Paul Barber, about the writer’s own experiences of love and loss. As well as a documentary about body image and eating disorders.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

As a woman, it’s important to see our gender represented fairly in the industry and not favoring male led films. In terms of diversity, I am a white woman and I am fully aware that I can’t know how it feels to be snubbed for my ethnicity, but I fully support diversity in film and tv and everyone on this earth should turn on their TV or go to the cinema and see themselves represented on the screen. I hope this answers your question and does it justice.

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

I wish someone would have told me how hard it is. That I may not get a self tape daily or a job every month but it’s so worth it for the long haul. I love my job and always say that if you’re a young actor or someone who wants to know more about the industry to pop me over an email or message.

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

That’s such a great question and so important especially with everything happening with Coronavirus. I can’t lie and say it’s not an incredibly tough industry and one that even I struggle with at times, I would recommend sticking in your own lane, concentrate on what you want to achieve for that year and create a support system with creatives around you, that’s so important.

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 am a massive advocate for opening the conversation on eating disorders, I feel that there is a big stigma surrounding the subject and that this should more widely recognised and discussed to help younger generations who are experiencing this common disorder.

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?

The person I am incredibly grateful to is Mark McGann, my acting mentor. He has always been so supportive and someone I can go to with any industry questions.

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

‘Sometimes painful things can teach us things we didn’t think we needed to now’.

Life really isn’t easy and we all go through our journeys, however, I do think everything we go through has purpose and teaches us something.

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. :-)

Definitely Bill Hader, I think he is a comic genius and just a genuine person.

How can our readers follow you online?

They can follow me on Instagram (kayleigh_px) or Twitter (kayleigh_pr)

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

About The Interviewer: Growing up in Canada, Edward Sylvan was an unlikely candidate to make a mark on the high-powered film industry based in Hollywood. But as CEO of Sycamore Entertainment Group Inc, (SEGI) Sylvan is among a select group of less than ten Black executives who have founded, own and control a publicly traded company. Now, deeply involved in the movie business, he is providing opportunities for people of color.

In 2020, he was appointed president of the Monaco International Film Festival, and was encouraged to take the festival in a new digital direction.

Raised in Toronto, he attended York University where he studied Economics and Political Science, then went to work in finance on Bay Street, (the city’s equivalent of Wall Street). After years of handling equities trading, film tax credits, options trading and mergers and acquisitions for the film, mining and technology industries, in 2008 he decided to reorient his career fully towards the entertainment business.

With the aim of helping Los Angeles filmmakers of color who were struggling to understand how to raise capital, Sylvan wanted to provide them with ways to finance their creative endeavors.

At Sycamore Entertainment he specializes in print and advertising financing, marketing, acquisition and worldwide distribution of quality feature-length motion pictures, and is concerned with acquiring, producing and promoting films about equality, diversity and other thought provoking subject matter which will also include nonviolent storytelling.

Authority Magazine

In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Pop Culture, Business, Tech, Wellness, & Social Impact

Authority Magazine

In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Edward Sylvan, CEO of Sycamore Entertainment Group

Written by

Specializing in acquiring, producing and distributing films about equality, diversity and other thought provoking subjects

Authority Magazine

In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.