From auditions to the big screen, being an actor takes stamina of mind, body and spirit. Looking the part is a Hollywood prerequisite, with the pressure to fit a certain image weighing on most actors’ minds.
With busy schedules of script learning, meetings, events, interviews and on-camera time, it’s crucial to live a life of balance.
Yet achieving this balance can be challenging, in a trade known for rejection — having to deal with your insecurities when a casting director says “thanks, but no thanks”. Most of Hollywood’s biggest stars have once or twice walked the fine line between success and being back in the audition line. It’s how you deal with the “no thanks” that counts.
Actress Siobhan Flynn, who most recently was the voice of Morrigan in Marvel vs Capcom 3, has long known the benefits of maintaining balance for optimal health. The Welsh star has been vegetarian for much of her life and credits her parents for her holistic health values that have supported her through the highs and lows of her career.
At 17 she was admitted to the highly acclaimed acting school, The London Academy of Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) where she trained for three years. After graduating she was soon working for some of the industry’s most successful directors such as Michael Bay (The Island) and in some of television’s most popular shows (Charmed).
Yet with her many successes, Siobhan has also felt the dark depths of the business, but all the while staying fueled with sheer passion and perseverance. Keeping perspective and balance, she says, is what has kept her on the Hollywood trail. It has also been important, she says, to not succumb to the widely accepted and largely unattainable Hollywood idea of beauty.
I spoke with Siobhan and got an insight into the world of an actress...
What gets Siobhan Flynn up in the morning?
Hunger! I wake up excited about breakfast.
What are your greatest passions?
Nature. I can look at a flower or butterfly for hours. When you really look, everything is so perfect. It never ceases to amaze me.
What does your day-to-day beauty regime look like?
Putting almond oil on your body straight after a shower while you are still wet. It is extremely moisturising and you can mix it with your favourite essential oil so that you smell great too. For skin care I try to keep it gentle, I used to try blasting my skin into submission with aggressive products but now, like with everything I have learned that kindness and self acceptance is far more effective.
You’ve been a vegetarian for practically your entire life. Why do you choose to be and what health benefits come with it?
I became a vegetarian because I wasn’t able to disassociate meat from flesh. I actually agree with eating meat, it is the food chain but I can’t bear the way the majority of animals are treated. Even if you are unwilling to come at it from a humanistic level the idea that eating animals that have been mistreated and expecting to be nourished from this is ridiculous.
What are your favourite beautifying foods?
Although it is not the first thing I reach for, kale always makes me feel clean and energized. I love coconut water and am addicted to jasmine tea.
Do you have any favourite beauty treatments that you swear by?
Reiki. Every time I have had it people tell me I look great and ask if I have had a hair cut or changed something. And meditation — I don’t wear neurosis well.
You’re in an industry that focuses on appearances. How do you deal with that and remain a balanced person with a healthy self-perception?
I had to work at it. Recently I had no work, no money and no relationship and I realized that I was in no place to learn how to unattach from the labels that quantified my self worth until they were taken away. Placing value on things that are changeable only sets you up for pain. There are still days when I struggle with confidence and these are the days that I get to practice being extra kind to myself.
How do you keep perspective in such a cut-throat industry?
As big as the delusion in Hollywood is, there’s an equally big net to catch the shattered dreams. Living here you are blessed with the opportunity to learn from the best, I go to weekly lectures by Marrianne Williamson, I study Reiki with Patti Penn and meditation with Thom Knoles to name but a few. Beyond everything, a sense of humor has anchored my sanity because at the end of the day it is all silly.
During the darkest times, what have you done to maintain that perspective and balance?
See the bigger picture. It is not all about you — do whatever reminds you of that — volunteer, be of service.
What makes a woman truly beautiful?
Someone who is standing firmly in their light with no apology or hesitation.
Who do you believe are the most beautiful women in cinema? What makes them so?
Helen Mirren, Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep I could go on and on. Beautiful strong women who appear fearless in their commitment to inhabit roles. There is something so captivating about people who dance like no one is watching.
The best advice you were ever given?
“Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?”
Passion obviously drives you to do what you do. How important is passion in your life?
I used to think passion was innate but I have learnt like anything else it needs nurturing. I stay passionate and enthusiastic by seeking inspiration — going to the theater, watching movies, documentaries, art, music, reading…
What are your favorite Hollywood spots — the places you retreat to to get away from the business for a while?
Temescal Canyon — a beautiful hike that takes you through the trees to a cliff overlooking the ocean, anywhere along the coast — the dolphins always oblige, The Self Realization Center has a big lake you can be quiet next to, Huntington Gardens is beautiful, anywhere in the desert but especially Joshua Tree.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering acting as a career?
If you are considering it, don’t do it. If you have to do it, go for it.
Find out more about Siobhan Flynn here