“All your work will come in your 30’s!” – is a line I’ve become accustomed to hearing.
Now, at 18, this is a line that could all together push you into another line of work – however it is a line I’ve now taken on as a challenge.
As a little bit of background: my name is Olivia Ahmadi, I am half Iranian, quarter Irish and quarter English, 5ft 11’’ and soon to be 22 years old. As my Spotlight states, I would describe my voice to be strong and authoritarian, and I would like to think of myself as a headstrong and motivated individual. However, I often find that this array of characteristics often finds me in a rut when it comes to castings – seemingly overgrown for the younger characters, visually not quite mature enough for the higher end of my bracket, and an awkward median for any roles of my own age group. With this all in my head, I often find it hard where to place myself.
Now, I have always dreamed of being a performer – with stage always being my first true love – but also on screen, through headphones, outdoors… wherever really. If I were able to magic myself into my dream job 10 years ago, I’m sure I’d have said Wicked the musical, and if you were to ask me now, Killing Eve or some sort of dark comedy would spring to mind – however with the knowledge I have gained over the years, and during my time training at Rose Bruford Drama School, on the wonderful and multi-faceted American Theatre Arts Course I see my role and job as a creative to not only entertain, but to educate and empower – to learn and to teach, and ultimately, to inform people of the world outside our own four walls.
With casting brackets in mind, I don’t feel I have ever personally restricted myself from briefs that have come my way, in fact, since graduating and signing with SD, I feel I have been empowered to use my slightly confusing type cast to my full advantage, and with confidence, walked into auditions with a new sense of self-worth.
I am keen to get myself stuck into as many projects as possible, learning more about my culture, investing time into the benefits of theatre and mental and social well-being, and continuing to hone my skills and practise to not only benefit myself, but others too.
I’m at the beginning of a career that comes with several curve-balls and challenges and where everyone’s idea of “success” varies – but I am comforted in, and excited by the fact that it is an industry in which growth, self-expression, culture, mental well-being and most importantly (in my mind) fun, are all key factors in whatever role we wish to play. That we are constantly challenged and trusted to work and create without boundaries, and that performers can without limits, continue to explore this craft in new and innovative ways.
So back to the beginning – “All your work will come in your 30’s!”- is now a line I try to push firmly to the back of my thoughts. I have always looked up to, and admired the likes of Olivia Coleman, Dame Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Meryl Streep – many of whose careers excelled further down the line and whose work has mainly begun on stage.