The One, The Only, JUDY!

This week I went to see “Judy” starring Renee Zellweger. 
My obsession with Judy Garland has lasted as long as I can remember. I used to watch “The Wizard Of Oz” on repeat, and still love to watch it now. Not to mention half my bedroom is covered in Judy Garland and Wizard Of Oz memorabilia.

She brought star quality to the screen. It’s that something you can’t quite put your finger on. Her eyes were always full of pain, masked with hope. Every line she says you can feel through your chest. She is a rare gem.

I have always thought of Judy Garland as a flawed genius, a voice of a generation. She inspired me so much. I thought, she can’t dance like Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly but boy can she sing.

Growing up I was that girl with “the voice” but when it came to dancing, I really needed help. My ballet teacher gave up on me and wouldn’t even give me a private lesson, even after me begging for help. I know I don't have an 180 degree turn out, but i'm not THAT much of a lost cause, I could offer an excellent spring point. However to be fair to my teacher, I am so heavy footed my Mum used to call me a Heffalump, the ground would shake as I attempted a Jete (A leap for those non ballet folk). Even auditioning for drama school I was told I was an absolutely terrible dancer, but I always knew I had a voice.
(Side note, maybe one of the proudest days of my career thus far is when my Jazz teacher came to see me in In The Heights and gave me a wink to say well done! I nailed that pirouette into a back bend that night, never give up, even if your back gives out and you pull a hamstring, the wink was worth it).

Back to Judy.
Under no circumstances am I comparing my life to Judy’s. I’m lucky that I have an incredible support system, (they even lied to me and told me my tapping in my 3rd year show of 42nd street was great...even though I didn't manage to make a single sound with my feet).
But her voice and her star quality is what inspired me growing up to reach for the impossible. She was a star on screen and that's what I was drawn to.

I saw Tracey Bennett’s performance in “End Of The Rainbow” a few years back at Trafalgar Studios and cried my eyes out. It’s hard to see someone you idolise lead such a tragic life and end. The film was no exception to that feeling of utter gut wrenching heartbreak.
Renee Zellweger is phenomenal in the film. She represented Judy in such a way that as an audience our hearts broke for her. I just wanted to give her a hug. The very last line of the film is what really hit me in the chest. The last line is "You won't forget me will you? Promise you won't!" I think that's something we can all relate to, don't you? I was asked recently what my biggest fear is, I said "being forgotten." We all want to make our mark in this world, but at what cost?

It made me think about the industry i’m in and how much we all need support from friends and family, but also how much we all love doing what we do. I love being on a stage, it’s where I feel at home and it’s where I feel special. Does it sometimes send me into a self destructive spiral? Yes of course it does. I should go into business with Fox's Party Ring biscuits, the amount I consume after every "No." We're told as Actors to never take things personally, oh but we do, we will lie and say we're fine, or at least I do. Have a good cry and then it's back to it.

A thought on World Mental Health Day.
We all have demons, but they do not define us. Keep good people around you who are there to catch you when you fall, because we all fall down sometimes. (My ballet skills keep my falls graceful obviously).

Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life...and try not to take it personally 😉

Em x 


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