Rising Star Olivija Arlauskaitė: “Know your worth! Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t deserve to be here!”
We had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Olivija Arlauskaitė.
Olivija Arlauskaitė is a Lithuanian born actress and a theatre-maker. She decided to become an actress, and at the age of eighteen, moved to Cardiff, UK. Graduate from the University of South Wales in Theatre and Drama, she became a member of the National Youth Theatre. Then she started co-running Golden Sock Theatre Company and has been performing on stage ever since.
Thank you so much for interviewing with us! Can you share your story on how did you get started in the theatre industry?
Thank you for having me! Theatre is my big love. I remember, when I was little, I used to put on plays for my family members. I would do everything — I’d direct, I’d be in charge of costume and props, and, of course, I would be the lead character! I always thought — you know, I could do this forever! When I’m on stage, I come alive. It saved me so many times, especially when I struggled with my mental health.
Did you consider screen acting?
I’m very new to the film industry. I’ve only appeared in the two episodes of Casualty (had no lines or anything), but, honestly, I had a blast! It’s very different from the theatre, which I anticipated. It intrigues me. I can’t wait to do more acting on screen! I’m auditioning for as many roles as I can, but, unfortunately, it’s not easy at the moment.
Who are you grateful for your success and can you share a story about that?
What is success? I don’t feel successful at all, but if I told my sixteen-year-old self about my achievements, I believe she would be pretty impressed! I am grateful for my amazing partner Jack, who has supported me from the very beginning, my lovely friend Alex, with whom I run a theatre company and my family! They pushed me forwards when I thought I didn’t have the strength to do it myself.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Oh wow, I immediately tried to think of something impressive! But I haven’t got many stories of such yet! There are always entertaining things happening on the job and in the rehearsal rooms. And I’m always prepared to face new challenges! Every day is different.
I can share a personal revelation story, though. It was something I was waiting for, and for a very long time, and it just happened! See, I have struggled with OCD since a very young age. During my teenage years, it started to worsen, especially during stressful moments in life. So, a few years ago, I was in this theatre residency, Theatr Clwyd. It was a week full of devising, rehearsing and performing. And you know what? I didn’t have a SINGLE thing that triggered my OCD that week! I felt freedom, and it was incredible! I only realised this after five or six days into the residency, and, honestly, it was such a pure moment. I couldn’t believe it. Theatre is my sacred place, and I feel safe there.
What has been the biggest challenge in your career so far? How did you overcome it?
The questions — am I good enough? Am I ever going to be good enough?
I have to constantly remind myself that I cannot compare to other people careers because I am not them. Sometimes I even felt jealousy as they seemed to be moving faster than mine. I do not think you can fully overcome it. You have to trust yourself completely and try to let go of any fears and worries. Today’s world is a very pressuring place. Actors, especially at the start, feel like they have to achieve instant results or become famous overnight. For some reason, fame seems the ultimate proof of success. But is it? The craft and that you get to do it every day should be considered a success. Particularly in the past year, when the industry was going through hell.
What are your ‘‘5 things I do to prepare for the role” and are you able to share a story or example of each?
First of all, RESEARCH. I do my research. I try to find out everything that I can about the character. I read books, articles, watch films, interview people or even make up facts for myself (If I cannot find much). I always try to write little (or not so) biographies for all of my characters.
LINES. After I’ve finished researching my character, I instantly start learning my lines. The quicker I do it, the sooner I can act! If I don’t know my lines inside out before rehearsals, I struggle because I can’t do anything. I feel restricted because I keep staring at the script instead of focusing on my character.
MUSIC. I listen to music to help myself imagine the character, explore flaws and see their strengths. I always have to find the right song for every character that I play!
BEING IN THE ZONE. Whether it’s exercising or meditation, it depends on how relaxed or tense the character is. I need to reach the required energy level.
SELF-TAPE. I try to self-tape even if I don’t send it to anyone. I do it so I could see myself from an audience member’s perspective. I find it sometimes self-taping is probably the most dreadful part of the job, but it can be very insightful, especially when you don’t have the pressure of sending it to a casting director. It’s just there for me, helping analyse the character better.
What methods or techniques do you use to find truth in your character’s behaviour?
I don’t have one particular go-to method. I usually go for characters that I understand, or at least I think I do. Sometimes I reach a point where I don’t know what’s going on. In such cases, I push through by having a fellow actor friend step in and improvise to find answers for my character’s actions. I try to figure out what my character wants deep inside them, and I try to keep it in the back of my mind.
What are your top 3 tips for actors that are starting?
1. Don’t stress too much! You know why you’ve chosen this path and why you love it so much! Everything else is just background noise.
2. Be professional but don’t lose yourself. Always remain aware of where you are and how you portray yourself to others. People can see you and remember you very well. So, if you’re always late — this is what you’re going to be known for!
3. Know your worth! Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t deserve to be here!
What has been inspiring you lately?
An honest conversation with like-minded people! I CRAVE for honesty! I love hearing what happens behind the scenes. Every day we see these happy, successful people on social media, but only a few let others see what is happening behind closed doors. I used to be so ashamed when asked about what jobs I do to pay my bills or that I come from a working-class background. I thought that I had to be perfect to fit in this industry, yet I know now that perfection is not reachable. So, having these conversations with other creatives has been very inspiring. Now I know I’m not alone and that most of us have been through difficult situations.
What movie would you recommend watching and why?
The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019). What a film! I’m all about inclusivity in the industry, and we need a lot more movies like this! There are so many incredible actors with disabilities, but, unfortunately, we cannot see them too often on screen. Time to change this, right?
What is one message you would give to your fans?
Oh, God! The only people I could call my fans at the moment are my family, partner and friends! And the message is — I hope I won’t ever disappoint you!
How can our readers find you online?
I’m trying to keep my distance from social media, but I do love a little scroll through Instagram sometimes! You can find me there: