“Your Vulnerability Will Be So Helpful, Don’t Think of it As a Hindrance” With Actress Jade Anouka
I had the pleasure to interview Jade Anouka. Jade stars in ITV 1’s three part drama TRAUMA. Written by Mike Bartlett and set in a trauma unit of a London hospital, TRAUMA sees Jade’s character’s grieving father blame a high-achieving trauma consultant for the death of his teenage son and will also star Adrian Lester and John Simm. Jade has also been cast in ITV’s CLEAN BREAK alongside BAFTA-winning actress Sheridan Smith. CLEAN BREAK is created and written by screenwriting newcomer Mark Marlow and focuses on an ordinary working class woman who is caught between two worlds — the everyday life of a devoted and loving Mum and the darker, dangerous world of insider trading. TX is hinted at Autumn 2018. Jade is also due to star in sci-fi film THE DARK CHANNEL which is currently in post-production. THE DARK CHANNEL is written and directed by Mark Davis who has previously worked on BLACK MIRROR and TABOO. This Sci-Fi Drama will also star Mark Williams and Richard Dillane.
Jade, tell us a bit about your “backstory”?
Born and raised in the outer edges of south east London. I now live in Camberwell. Mum was a maths teacher and Dad a financial adviser. I have an older brother and a younger sister. I’m the only one in my family in this business. I loved sport as a kid and when I started to do less sport I started to do more performing arts.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your acting career?
I was in Doctor Faustus in the West End a couple years ago it was the Jaime Lloyd directed one with Kit Harrington as Faustus. Myself and Kit were the only ones fully clothed on stage, everyone else at this point were in underwear and covered in some sort of gunk. (You had to be there) It was just before a sort of dream-like dance sequence and during a bit when the rest of the cast on stage were demons transforming from being possessed to showgirl type dancing. Anyway the sound cuts out. I’m lying ‘asleep’ onstage and all I can hear is the grunting & heavy breathing of the rest of the cast brilliantly carrying on. I open my eyes as I’m pulled into the dance to discover everyone on the brink of laughter but powering on through giving it there absolute all trying to stay in time to, well each other. The sound eventually came back, out of sync with what we were doing obviously. Ridiculous. I love this job!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I’m really looking forward to seeing Trauma, it’s my first regular tv role, with a cast including John Simm and Adrian Lester.
I’m currently filming a new 6 part Drama series for ITV called Clean Break, alongside Sheridan Smith. We play cleaners in Canary Wharf. Great cast and crew, I’m having a lot of fun on it. It’s out later this year.
Who are some of the most famous people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
I first met Meryl Streep was in the dressing room after a show, half naked. Me not her. The 2nd time I was wearing a towel…
I went to a party at Stings place in New York that was pretty cool. I did a play with Judi Dench, we were in the same dressing room, she’s got a wicked sense of humour.
Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?
There are so many but here are a few:
My Grandmummy, Lenore Mitchell-David, she was a beautiful women through and through. I remember her always laughing, singing and drawing. Her seemingly endless love passed on to everyone she met.
MLK, he fought hate with love.
Maya Angelou, she overcame so much. She was silent, read books and listened then when she spoke again it was with such eloquence and beauty and knowledge and heart.
The Obama’s, talk about smashing glass ceilings and they did it with style.
What advice would you give to someone considering a career in Hollywood?
I don’t know, but I guess thick skin and a good American accent.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I try to give back to young people starting out in the industry or thinking about going down this path. I do drama school audition tuition. And work in schools in the hope of inspiring the next generation to work for their dreams.
I’m currently organising a free event for young people in my local area who might otherwise not have access to extracurricular activities to see the Black Panther film. Check out #BlackPantherPeckham I think the film will be an inspiration to many and especially young black kids. You can donate at GoFundMe.com/blackpantherpeckham
I was inspired by Viola Davis doing a similar thing in Austin called #BlackPantherChallenge
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
• Early mornings. Lots of early mornings. Although it is leagues easier to do them when you are going to set than when it’s to a cafe to serve cappuccinos to the commuter crowd. You will still need to get used to early mornings
• Confidence can get people far, it will be frustrating at times, but trust that talent will shine through eventually.
• Your vulnerability will be so helpful, don’t think of it as a hindrance.
• Pay attention in maths, you will have to do your own self assessment tax return.
• Find other stuff you enjoy doing, other ways to be creative because the out of work periods can be hard, and the in work periods can be lonely.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. 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 see this!
I would love to have lunch with Michelle Obama. I’d want to pick her brain about the world over a glass of wine and try and persuade her to run for president.