ARTS · LIFE LESSONS · THEATRE · TWENTY SOMETHINGS

65 Questions with Au Pair and Musical Theatre Student Ella Solic

 

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“With acting, I get to see certain things that happen in life through the eyes of another person, to strip yourself bare and not feel naked. “

Ella Solic is one of my favourite people. 

I think I realised this the night she came to my house for dinner. She brought home-made apple pie with her, because well, as Ella rightly said, you don’t turn up to someone’s house for dinner empty handed.

Maia was sick that night, she’d eaten too much ice cream and as I wiped up the mess on the bedroom floor, Ella calmly took Maia to the bathroom, cleaned her up, and said nothing of it. No sighs of irritation or fuss, no oh my gosh or ohhh Maia, just a very practical kids are kids, these things happen – type handling of the situation.

She’s a no-nonsense woman. She knows what she wants.

What she wants is to be an actor.

At 21 she currently works as an au pair looking after two children and trains in musical theatre part time at the Guildford School of Acting. She adorns her tap and ballet shoes several times a week, learns a handful of monologues at a time, and is always on the look out for more sheet music.

She loves every minute of it. – And radiates this enthusiasm each Saturday when I see her. We hug like we’ve been best friends since we were four when really we met in April last year. I guess we bonded pretty quickly over our love of acting. (This and our singleness, it’s always nice to share a bad-date story with someone who feels your pain..). 

I admire this woman for her iron-will and fierce determination to succeed. – A woman who will stop at nothing before she’s performing on a West End stage. She has the drive, the talent, and most importantly, the self-belief to get there.

She’s already made it through the first major hurdle: leaving Germany and moving to England. Ella arrived in February 2015 knowing nobody, then slowly built a life here, always reminding herself: “Well I’m not going back to Germany, so it has to work out here, it will work out and I am not going to settle for anything less than what I want, I will work my ass off, and I will do what I love..”. 

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Adamant that performing is the only thing she wants to do, it is refreshing to see someone that knows what she wants with such certainty, going about it with such tenacity, and truly relishing the experience. I get the feeling she’s a girl who appreciates every moment and opportunity more than most.

Ella is one of my inspirations. She had a dream of moving to England. So at only 19, she made it happen. She knew she wanted to act, so she joined a Saturday drama class. She knew this wasn’t enough and wanted to train as a professional actor, so she took it up a notch and auditioned for the part time evening Acting course, which would prepare her for applying to drama school. This woman sets goals and smashes through them, one monologue at a time.

A beautiful person with a terrific mindset, she reminds me that anything is possible if you work hard enough.

1. Describe yourself in three words:
Joyful. Patient. Focused.

2. How’s your day? What have you been up to?
I got ready in a hurry as I’m always getting up late on Saturdays, I drove to GSA and then had three hours of dance and one hour of acting.

3. What do you love about performing?
Dance is a great way to express yourself and it’s nice to see what kind of stuff your body can do instead of just sitting there.

With acting, I get to see certain things that happen in life through the eyes of another person, to strip yourself bare and not feel naked.

4. What does your typical day look like? 
Tuesdays and Thursdays I have the course in the evenings so I just do some housework.
I’m up at 6:30am every week-day doing things around the house till around 3 then I pick up the kids from school and do things with them till bedtime.

5. Do you have a special morning or evening routine? 
When I get up I stretch a lot and I listen every morning to Friend Like Me from Aladdin, I love that song, it’s beautiful! It just gets me going.

6. How do you unwind at the end of the day?
A nice hot shower and some more show tunes and a nice play to read.

7. Which plays have you read recently?
Arlington by Enda Walsh, Shakespeare’s Henry VI Part 1, Love and Money by Dennis Kelly and The Hard Problem by Tom Stoppard.

8. What do you say to yourself to keep positive?
It can’t get worse than this…You’re guna get over that..

9. Who are your biggest inspirations? 
Well my mother and my host mother Anel.
They both left their country on their own and built up a life on their own which I think is quite remarkable, not everybody can say they did that.

10. What are you most grateful for? 
Seeing how the kids grow up. It’s so sweet. I am incredibly thankful for my host parents’ generosity, they don’t even realise how much they do for me and I know that I will never ever be able to repay them.

11. What makes you so angry you can’t think about it for too long?
When I mess up a scene or a song and I just can’t get it right. When I forget text I beat myself up about it which doesn’t make it better.

12. What would you tell your 15 year old self?
You don’t even have the slightest idea what you’re capable of.

13. What would be your dream career or careers?
Musical Theatre Performer.

14. What are you currently doing to work towards your dream?
Attending the Guildford School of Acting part time evening course.

15. How was this idea born?
Oh my god that’s another story.. I’ve wanted to be an actress since I was sixteen, we saw a play at my local theatre and I absolutely loved it and I thought this is the most amazing job, being on stage in front of lots of people, telling a story that is believable and seeing different aspects of life through different eyes.

16. Any advice for people wanting to go into the industry?
If you want to do it for the fame or the money forget about it, you have to do it because you love it.

17. What is your favourite bit of life advice/quote/something you live by?
My mother always encouraged me to think that I am not weak just because I am a woman, I don’t need a man to help me out.

18. Would you consider yourself a feminist? 
YES

19. What do you associate with the word feminist?
Equality in every aspect.

20. Any general life advice to younger people?
Don’t let anyone tell you to give up.

21. When are you happiest? 
Face timing my family and at drama school.

22. One of the happiest days of your life…
Getting accepted into the GSA part time evening course.

23. Make up a lie about yourself right now, and a story too.
I was once arrested for beating up a man because he assaulted a woman.

24. Three things you are taking from this experience of musical theatre training?
That you need a lot of stamina, that you need to take care of your body.
That you need to pay a lot of attention to what’s going on around you..be observant.
Always give 110%.

25. Three best things about living in England?
The weather, the food and the language, the accent.

26. What do you love about the English language?
It doesn’t sound as stupid as German! It’s got a certain flow and it’s not chopped off at certain points, it’s nice.

27. Any bad habits that you’re currently trying to work on?
Eating too much. Overthinking. Judging myself.

28. One thing you love about yourself?
That I found the courage to move to this country by myself.

29. Best advice/guidance your parents gave you? 
Stand your ground, and don’t try and be like other people.

30. Your perfect day? 
Being at drama school from 8am-4pm then going to London – because I have plenty of money- and seeing two Musical Theatre performances and having a night out – with my friends Angela and Liz- at a really nice restaurant or pub, a few drinks, that’d be nice.

31. If you lived in an alternative reality, having made different choices throughout your life, where would you be and what would you be doing?
I would maybe be a teacher because it’s a nice thing to see people learning from you and you can lead people in certain directions, teaching them good morals and help them grow up..

32. One experience you think has helped shape you as a person?
Italy

33. What were you doing in Italy?
I was an au pair in Italy for six months, it was… interesting.

34. What did you learn from this experience?
That everybody is different and that culture divides us in big ways, it takes a lot of time to realise that and learn to live with it.

35. What were the biggest challenges?
The language. I went to Italy without speaking a single word of Italian.
Dealing with kids and taking care of myself during stressful times.

36. Five things that bring you joy?
My kids when they’re singing because I love that. Going to GSA. Doing the laundry on time. Being able to put a smile on somebody else’s face. Doing good in a tutorial.

37. What does it feel like when you hit that high note or get every move just right in a dance class?
It’s the best feeling, it’s so uplifting, you feel like you can move mountains, you feel like you’ve climbed another step on the huge mountain that is your journey.

38. Three things you couldn’t live without?
Theatre, music, musical theatre.

39. Three things you’d change about the world?
Tyrants, bullies (Trump), famine and war.

40. If you could change the British education system, what would you change?
I wouldn’t want people to have to pay for University education, everyone deserves a good education.

41. And in Primary schools, what would you change?
I’d include meditation in their weekly schedule and further programmes in bullying so it happens less.

42. If you were going to volunteer for any charitable organisation which one would you choose and why?
UNICEF because I love their work and what they do, like in South Sudan. They’ve raised awareness all over the world, so you can see what really happening.

43. Favourite Films? 
Any Avenger film.. and Hush. 

44. Favourite TV shows?
The Exorcist that is so good, I love South Park, 40 Something, 13, Sherlock,

45. Favourite holiday?
Spending Christmas in London with my best friend last year, it was cold as fuck but it was really nice.

46. What did you want to be when you were little?
I wanted to be a historian once. I wanted to be a solider, I wanted to be a dancer and.. you know the people who put make up on dead people?

47. Name three things you’d like to say you did before you die:
See every country on this planet.
I’d love to have performed in every Shakespeare play there is.
Taught my children the values of equality.

48. People you’d most like to meet?
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sebastian Stan, Chris Evans, Tom Hiddleston.
I’d like to meet Trump to punch him in the face and Obama to kiss his feet.

49. If you could travel to any time or place where and when would it be?
I’d love to be in the late 40s in New York. I love the fashion, I love the feeling, everything was so dangerous but still a certain amount of glitz and glam. I’d love to be in a jazz bar, a smoky jazz bar as a performer.

50. Do you have a religion or spiritual practice?
I am Roman Catholic. Lately I’ve been going to Church, mainly for research for Joan of Arc. I like it, I know now why Joan of Arc went, it’s sort of peaceful and if the preacher is good, you have a daily moral, I always learn something.

51. What annoys you most about other people?
When men do not treat women appropriately. When women do no treat men appropriately. The abuse of children and animals. Disrespect towards the elderly. The wasting of food. You know the people who try and convince you of their opinion, like there’s only one point of view and their’s is the right one. It’s terrible.

52. What is your proudest achievement?
Moving to England and going to drama school.

53. What is your fondest memory from childhood?
When I turned 10 my mother let me put on a really nice dress for my birthday and I went to school in this dress and before I left I turned around to wave goodbye to my mum and she told me “look at that, you are two hands worth of age now” (*gestures both hands in the air). I smiled like a madman. It made me feel so nice and so special.

When I was 14 I got an autograph from Daniel Radcliffe, I sent him a letter in my crappy English asking for an autograph and I got one in the post! I sent it in May and got it in March the following year it was amazing!

54. What do you worry most about?
Failing at drama school.

55. What does failing mean?
Not being good enough.

56. What is the best case scenario?
To get trained at GSA and work in the West End for many many happy years.

57. If you won £1,000,000 what would you do?
If it were possible I would find a way to genetically modify wheat so it could grow in really dry places like Africa, with a sort of repellent so the little animals didn’t come and eat it all. – I could end world hunger with that.

Improving the infrastructure in every country. Improving education in every country so they learn the values of equality.

We’ve destroyed so many acres of rainforest that will never grow back, it would be great to find a way to make the ground more fertile so it could grow back..

58. What do you wish you knew how to do?
I would love to speak English on a native speakers level.
I’d love to be able to walk downstairs on the back of my hands.. that’d be amazing..
Dive for over five mins underwater.
Do ballet amazingly!

59. Three things you think about more than the average person?
When are my monologues going to be ready?
When are my songs going to be ready?
Who the fuck is UCAS and what does he want from me?

60. What did you learn yesterday?
Put a nappy on a kid before he goes to gymnastics.

61. What’s the best thing about being an au pair ?
It’s great to see how much you can influence them.

62. What’s the toughest?
Dealing with having two jobs at the same time, always wanting to give your best at home then again tying to give 100% at drama school.

63. What are three things the kids have taught you?
Always take nappies, pants and trousers with you.
Enjoy yourself whether someone thinks you’re stupid or crazy or not, enjoy yourself.
When I’m alone I should live life a little more carelessly, not overthinking, whether I’m going to fall and hurt myself, whether it’s going to hurt me or not.

64. What’s one bit of advice you’d want the kids to carry with them for the rest of their lives?
Never give up, follow your dreams.. You want to be a gymnast? You’re going to be a gymnast! Whatever it is you want, you can be.

65. What is happiness?
Happiness is to be able to enjoy something without caring about what others might think. Happiness is love.
Happiness is freedom.
Music. Acting. And Shakespeare.
Ooo and a wood burning fire, some hot cocoa, and a play to read in the living room, and snow.

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