38 Questions with Musical Theatre Student Sarah Mann Graefinghoff

“Don’t give up on your dreams. If you want to do something don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. Watch more Disney movies.”

When I first met Sarah Mann Graefinghoff, I thought, well wasn’t she a little ray of sunshine. (And let’s be honest we can’t say that about all pre-teens..). 

Smart, excitable, and noticeably wise for her years, I was happy to talk to this bright young character.

Sarah once came over with her parents for a small Birthday celebration I was having for a close mutual friend. My mother and I being, well, us, knew we were going to have kareoke that afternoon.

Sarah loved it, and that is so special to see, because a lot of eleven year olds would shy away or think they were “too cool” for such things. But Sarah loves to sing, and it was a joy to hear her.

Many wannabe-popstars her age have what I call that immature-slightly screechy tone to their voice, but Sarah’s was different. I could have listened to her all afternoon. Sarah had the beautiful tones of a sweet, young, innocent little girl, but with a maturity to it that made me smile. She sang the high notes with such ease and the low notes with impressive sophistication.  It was a voice I would describe as pure, natural and un-embellished with those little annoying habits people develop over the years when they belt out power ballads. – She simply didn’t have to try that hard.  – Which is not surprising given music’s in her blood. Her father plays the guitar and sings, and she was no doubt exposed to different types of music from a young age. 

I looked forward to interviewing this budding performer as I knew she’d bring with her a delightful enthusiasm that would make the process that much more enjoyable.

1. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up this morning? 

Probably what I was going to have for breakfast, the Belvita biscuits, they’re good.

2. How’s your day? What have you been up to?
I had my classes, jazz and musical theatre and then I had lots of fun with Maia!

3. Describe yourself in three words:
What’s that word for willing to learn? – Enthusiastic. Bubbly. Optimistic

4. What’s been your favourite day of the year so far, what were you doing?
I went to Sea Life with our Italian student* and Mum, we went on a really cool behind the scenes tour, it does smell a bit of fish- of course it does, but you get to see all the animals too old and too young, there was baby moon Jelly fish.

(*Sarah’s Mum Liz taught English as a foreign language and every Summer they have a student come and stay with them.) 

5. What do you want to be when you’re older?
A Musical Theatre performer, a stage actress, in the music business – stuff like that.

6. Where did you get this idea from?
Coming to GSA (Guildford School of Acting).

7. Who is one of your biggest inspirations and why?
Bradley and Becky.
Bradley my first MT teacher, he wouldn’t just stand there and say now do this, he put fun into it, he always gave us a reason to learn. And Becky, she taught me so much of the dance that I know, she was always lovely. – If you couldn’t do something she’d always help you.

8. What do you love about coming to GSA?
The fact I get to forget everything, I’m just in my own world dancing and it’s probably my favourite thing to do.

9. How long have you been coming here?
Four years.

10. When are you happiest? 
When I’m doing something fun, GSA, dance in general. Being on stage makes me really happy. Also putting you face out of a car window, just singing with your face out, if nobody can hear you and there’s a big breeze blowing in your face.

11. Who do you most admire and why?
Taylor Swift – because so many of her quotes are nice and she does a lot of things for her fans. She’s an excellent role model. I listen to her music nearly everyday.

12. What’s the best advice your parents gave you? 
Follow your dreams.

13. Describe your perfect day:
Getting out and doing things, not sitting at home subjected to nothing all day.
Going to London. The Aquarium. Doing activities. – Things that get you moving. Rehearsals.

14.  What are your favourite films?
Finding Dory and The Intern.

15. Name three things you couldn’t live without:
My phone, all the apps on it, I talk to my friends whilst I’m on holiday on it.
Mum and Dad.
My cat, Sprinckyles.

16.  What are three things you’d change about the world?
Donald Trump.
No more wars.
No more people saying you can’t do this because

17. What would you change about school?
The attitude towards it, people need to enjoy school more. – Most of the time it’s people’s attitudes to learning that need changing.

18. What do you enjoy about school?
Seeing my friends on a daily basis. I enjoy learning, I don’t like missing school, when I was at the hospital* I thought “I’m missing valuable stuff”. There’s always stuff happening, people are always having secret conversations in lessons, I don’t want to miss them.

(*Sarah was in hospital for a sprained wrist a few weeks ago)

 19. People you’d most like to meet?
Taylor Swift and Clarice Bean.

20. If you could travel to any time or place, past or future, where and when would you go?
To the future to see what it’s like, find the cause of the war and stop it from happening.
And to see what kind of career I get,  I wouldn’t want to completely ruin the surprise but just see if there are any open auditions and write them down in my calendar.

21.What are your biggest pet peeves about other people?
If they take about a billion hours to say something. – Repetition.
Bad breath.

22. What are you scared of?
Killer Clowns. Aeroplanes, flying, when I’m not in control of something.

23. One thing you love about yourself?
That I’m not completely talentless.

24. Name three things you’d like to say you did before you die:
Met Taylor Swift.
Been in a performance.
Done something that changes the world.

25. What did you learn yesterday?
I learnt to understand the rules of Budge* and not make an idiot out of myself.
I felt really stupid I’m actually really glad when they called my name to get me out of the lesson.  – I normally really like school.

(*A game they were learning in school)

26. What is your proudest achievement?
Getting Rose in The Pantomime

27. If you had a super power what would it be?
Telekinesis because I’m forever needing to do stuff without touching it.

28. Are you looking forward to growing up into an adult?
Yes, maybe not the process but I’m looking forward to being an adult.

29. Why?
Because your life is open to more things and your eyes are opened when you’re an adult. I think I’m guna get taller, but I don’t want to be a freakishly tall person.

30. What will you do when you’re an adult?
I’m going to find my year three teacher and tell her to stop crushing children’s dreams.
I’d be in performances.
I’d want to be a dance teacher for a little portion of my life.

31. What is something that makes you smile everyday?
Knowing I’m not dead so I’ve got another day to live.

So appreciating life?
Yeh yeh yeh! It makes me smile that I’ve survived another day without collapsing!

32. What is some advice you’d give to younger people?
Don’t give up on your dreams. If you want to do something don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. Watch more Disney movies.

33. What is something you tell yourself to stay positive?
If I’ve just been embarrassed or something I’ve found myself saying “What would Becky do?”. 

34. If you could be someone else for the day who would you be?
Taylor swift. I want to sing on a stage! It has to be a day she’s on tour.

35. If you one £1,000,000 what would you do with it?
Give some to the refugees and save the rest for a rainy day.

36. What is your favourite quote?
“Everybody wants happiness, nobody wants rain, but you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain”.

37. What is happiness?
Happiness is being happy with the things that you’re doing, happy with your life. Happiness for me is singing, dancing and musical theatre.

38. And did you enjoy this?
Yes, definitely.





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