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Thursday, 31 March 2011

For the love of Cesca: From Hollywood to Rochdale :)

Walking through the corridors on the set of Waterloo Road, (that was pretty much my second home), felt very bittersweet in those final moments for me, as Cesca Montoya. I remember it so vividly, I was in episode 19 mode (we shoot out of sequence), with Cesca's jeans on, Cesca's Blue cardigan...realizing that this would be the last time I ever wore these clothes again. I couldn't believe how quickly 6 months had flown by. Another chapter had come to a close - but what an amazing chapter of my life, it was. The moment Julie Edwards, our director, called 'cut' on the scene, which you all saw last night, when Cesca is crying her heart out on the stairwell, at the thought of losing Jonah, and never seeing him again, couldn't have been the most perfect scene to do for my final scene ever for Waterloo Road. In the time that I had spent in Manchester and in Rochdale, I had totally fallen in love with living up north. The people are so friendly, the cast and crew - like one big happy family. I felt like I really belonged there, and trust me, I've been on a few sets where that 'family like' feeling is definitely not there. lol

Before I took my final walk back to my dressing room, I had to go and visit Cesca's classroom, one more time. It was empty. all the chairs on top of the desks. I went up to my desk and plonked myself on that chair of Cesca's, where she often sat, and thought heavily about what she was getting herself into. And I looked around the classroom, and couldn't believe it was time to say goodbye. Seeing all the Spanish textbooks piled up neatly in a corner, or the Spanish terms posted on the wall, made me smile. It reminded me of my first day on Waterloo Road. We had the big read through of eps 1 and 2. I was really nervous, being the 'newbie' cast member...everyone seemed to know each other so well, and being a beginner in Spanish, I was also nervous about the read through. I was hoping and praying that all the Spanish terms and dialogue in the script, I would pronounce correctly and confidently. We were all seated in the round, Jason Done on my left and Will Ash was on my right. The producers, the casting director, Fraser, our director, the whole gang were there in the gymnasium. It was so exciting. We began reading, and when my first bit of Spanish dialogue came up, what do I do?!? I pronounce Rioja (as in the Spanish wine) as reeohja. OMG! Everyone started laughing. What a brilliant first impression as the new Spanish teacher, I made! I was mortified, and so embarrassed. How on earth could I have made a mistake on the simplest of Spanish words?!?! I quickly apologized to everyone, and said laughingly, 'How many more pages of this read through? Oh it's going to be a loooong afternoon for Cesca.' Thankfully, from that day forward, I had the help of Emilio, on the crew, who was fluent in Spanish, and he would always help me with any words I wasn't too sure about. Bless Emilio.

I remember when I found out about my story lines from eps 11 to 20, I called my Mom up, and told her, 'Mom, I am going to have a big love affair, with a 17 year old boy, and then I get knocked up, and then we elope, and I get into big trouble with the authorities. Mom's response was, 'Well done you.' lol But it was also at this time when I was so excited about the journey ahead for Cesca and Jonah, that I also knew that Cesca wouldn't be coming back to Waterloo Road. A very bittersweet feeling, yet again.

I have enjoyed every minute of playing Cesca. She was passionate about life, love, and family, and that is something I can totally relate with her on. As an actress, you dream of exciting and challenging story lines as the one that was given to me. It was a gift, to be able to show the different sides of Cesca, to play on the emotions (which were wonderfully exhausting by the way) of what was happening to her. I am so incredibly thankful to the BBC, Shed Productions, and the cast and crew for embracing me, and for embracing the feistiness that we all love about, Cesca. There is no doubt that I will miss playing her - probably one of my favourite characters that I have played so far, along with playing Layla in Scorpion King 2.

I'm so glad I took that flight home to London. I had just finished filming Couples Retreat in Bora Bora, and flew directly back via L.A. If I hadn't flown home then, I wouldn't be here typing this for all you lovely Waterloo Road fans. It would be some other lucky actress. Thank you for all your love, and support. I think the best part of being among the Waterloo Road family, are the fans. Definitely the sweetest and most wonderful fans I've ever met. So for that, I will always be grateful.

When we were filming the first couple of episodes in the Moors, (when Ruth runs away from school and ends up lost), it was hailing and incredibly cold and windy. I thought filming in the desert for Scorpion King 2 was tough, but the Moors in the North took the cake. We had been filming outdoors for hours, when Fraser, the director, teased me and said 'Don't you just love it Karen? From Bora Bora, to Hollywood and now to Rochdale!'.  And to answer Fraser, I can honestly say with the biggest smile on my face, 'I wouldn't have it any other way.'

'Spanish loves you.'

Your Cesca Montoya - Series 6 Waterloo Road xox

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

'Just Do It' - Being the 'Homework Girl'

I like the Nike ad. I like what it stands for more importantly. It's simple, effective, and straight to the point. 'Just do it'. Three simple words. Yet, do you find that most of us find ourselves guilty of always trying to complicate what is actually really simple? 

For example: I have a dream + I want to make this dream come true = 'Just do it'. 

So why do we overcomplicate or overly think some things, or more dangerously, allow other people sometimes, in making us believe that we can't, or that it's impossible. (Ew, ew, ew. I don't even like typing those words. Read them back again for a sec. 'Can't' or 'Impossible' - doesn't it instantly give you a downer effect? Right, shake it off! lol) So what started off as a simple equation has now, as a result, become an 'impossible algebraic like equation' to solve. 

Everyday, I receive many lovely facebook or twitter messages, quite a few of them, asking me how I got into music and/or acting, and that some of you want to do the same but 'don't know how.' And I must admit, I'm a little surprised and puzzled when I read the 'I don't know how' bit.  I say this respectfully of course, but it's just that I come from a very normal, working class family, who had absolutely no connections in music or film and tv. (Guys, I was born in the Himalayas, there were not a lot of opportunities over there, and being a family of four who immigrated with not much in their pockets, to the 'big western world', I had to start from scratch, just like most of us do.) So how did I do it? How did I follow the simple equation of 'Just do it'? Well, here's where my equation started at: 

No connections in music or tv and film + burning desire to be an actress and a recording artist = the 'Homework Girl'

I was 5 years old when I came up with this equation in my head. Not in those exact words, haha, but to that effect. So what does a 'Homework Girl' do? When I was 6, I saw in my local newspaper, a 'cattle call' (meaning open auditions), for cute kids for tv commercials. I snuck into my parents bedroom, where the phone was, and called the casting director and made an appointment for myself. To make a long story short, I ended up doing some commercials as a child. But this is where my career started, and the lesson here is the power of 'initiative'. If you want something bad enough, you'll make it happen. I didn't over think it. I just did it. Simple as that. From there on, I researched all the best schools for music and acting. If the tuition was high, I looked into what scholarships were available. Throughout my teens, I read biogs of other singers or actors, and found out where they studied, and all the while, I took notes, just like some of you do when you're doing your homework in school. I struck a deal with my parents, that if I  got good grades in school, they would agree to pay for my music lessons and acting lessons. Fair deal. So I trained, and I practiced every day. Can't get lazy with your craft, especially when there are millions of talented peeps out there in the big world. You have to strive to be the best you can be and you cannot be afraid of some blood, sweat, and tears along the way. Translation: paying your dues the right way, not taking any short cuts for the long term goal, making mistakes but learning from them, understanding the beauty of constructive criticism, and knowing how it can help you move forward, not waiting for the phone to ring, and being a proactive dreamer, oh and let's throw in the rejections, and more rejections. lol You really have to want to be an actor or musician for the love of it. Any other reason is not worth it - trust me. I'm not in this for the fame or the money. It's taken me many years, grinding away, to get to this point and I still have a journey ahead of me to get to the next point. But I feel blessed for whatever opportunities have come my way so far. There are many starving artists out there that don't even get a look in. Whenever I'm faced with a tough day, I just have to remember that momentous day when my older sis, made me watch Xanadu, with Olivia Newton John, and how I was bitten the moment I saw her light up the screen. That's when my calling started. I was 4 years old, and that calling has never left me, even during the more challenging times on this journey that I'm still on. :) That moment will be forever etched in my mind, as a truly euphoric moment, and that feeling, I've kept in my heart, and that's what keeps me going - that's what has stopped me from ever thinking of giving up. 

So if you have a dream, whatever it may be, and you have that same euphoric feeling that takes over you, chances are it's your calling. The question is, do you have the courage to follow through with it? Do you have enough faith in yourself to see that calling through? Only you can answer that. :) If you do, then be the homework girl or the homework boy. Do your research, work hard, learn from others whose work you respect, and are inspired by, and 'Just do it'. You'll be amazed at what YOU can do. 

Yours Always, 

The Girl In The Pink Glasses xo

Sunday, 27 March 2011

What's your theme song? - Getting Over Nerves

I always love my walks and relish in the quiet 'alone' time. It gives me time to think reflectively, listen to my heartbeat, whilst people watching and taking in the fresh air. We're all kind of like radios with antennas. It's important to 'tune into' ourselves every now and then and find the right 'frequency' that suits us best. My boyfriend told me that one day, and it's really stuck with me ever since. 


Whilst I was strolling down the park, it got me thinking, I remember watching Ally McBeal. (Love Calista Flockheart - what a fun actress. I loved her quirkiness, and crazy-fun sense of humour).  But the one thing I will always take away from watching the show, is when Ally was told to have a 'theme song'...a song which she could always play in her head when she was nervous, or scared, or when she just needed a pick me up, to help her get outta bed, and the courage to start a new day. What a brilliant idea, I thought.  Now I'm not advocating blasting your eardrums with loud music on the iPod, especially when you're crossing busy streets (really not a safe idea), but if you can play your theme song in your head whenever you want, imagine the incredible feel good factor you're gonna have? You're gonna feel like a million bucks. haha. People might even stare at you and think, 'What's she/he on?'. (Yep, it's happened to me before. But who cares what other people, or total random strangers think, right?)


I remember one very painfully early morning, in the winter time, last year. I was filming Waterloo Road, and my call time was 6am, which meant I had to be up by 5:30am. At this point, my body was so knackered from all the early starts, and the daily grind of filming for the past few months. My body was starting to get mad at myself, and was on the verge of sticking up the middle finger, saying 'Karen, this is your body speaking. I've had it.' haha. I wasn't feeling well, had the makings of a flu-fever and knew that the day ahead was going to be a looooooong day with all the Cesca and Jonah story lines to film for Waterloo Road. I was nervous. I knew I had to do well, and there's no one to step in, like a stand in, to do your lines for you. lol How on earth was I going to make it through the day? Besides an overdose of vitamin C, I took out my iPod, and played my theme song. At the time, it was Shalamar's, 'The Second Time Around' (I listen to all kinds of music). So I blasted the song loud, and whatta ya know? I had this huge grin on my face. Fever? What fever? I was wide awake, and inspired to start the new day ahead. I was even dancing in the car, as I was being driven to set. When I arrived at the school, I got out of the car and danced my way into the make up chair. lol I even had some of the crew dancing, when I played them my theme song. All of a sudden, it was a great day, and my nerves had disappeared. The power of a good theme song.


We all have good and bad days. Even I have days when I wake up sometimes, and think, 'what am I doing with my life?' or ask myself, 'Where am I going?' lol Sometimes, it feels like the tough or 'rainy' days outweigh the good days. Or maybe we just don't seem to appreciate the good 'rainbow' days enough, when we have them. But next time, if the nerves are kicking in or you need that extra pick me up, why not try playing your favourite theme song in your head? Play it and play it LOUD,  - and if anyone looks at you in a funny way, who cares? It's you with the big smile on your face, and that's all that matters. 


Yours Always, 


The Girl In The Pink Glasses xo

Saturday, 26 March 2011

I Am The Girl In The Pink Glasses - Who Are You? :)

My name is Karen David. I'm a certified dreamer, a lover, and not a hater. I wear my heart on my sleeve - what you see is what you get. I always follow my heart even though sometimes following my head would be a lot easier. But that would boring. I guess the beauty about listening to your heart, is that you probably won't have a lot of regrets, if any, and no one can knock you down for being truthful to who you are and what you believe. So that's how I strut, that's the beat I march to.

The Girl In The Pink Glasses is an extension of the awkward teenager I was growing up in Toronto and then in London. I was bullied in school for being different and quietly ambitious. I was a total ugly duckling, with a horrible acne problem. It took over my life, between the ages of 11 til I was about 16, and decided to revisit me when I was 22 til about 25. They were my best friends during these times.  lol I would hide behind my hair and my big ridiculously pink speckled rimmed glasses, but between hiding behind the glasses,  the hair and staring at the floor most of the time, I felt safe. I'm not telling you this to make you feel sorry for me, I'm sharing this with you because it's the tough times whatever they may be, which shape you into the person that you are. I'm glad I went through all that. I'm much stronger in spirit, much more caring towards how I treat other people. In some ways, the bullying probably made me more determined to prove to myself that I could be someone special, that I could be cool like the rest of the kids in school seemed to be. I guess I really should be thanking those bullies. They did me a huge favour! :)

So on that note, welcome my superheroes, to my blog spot. I receive a lot of fan mail everyday from my Twitter and facebook accounts, and letters dropping in the post - all asking about my life, my career, and how I got into this crazy world of acting and music. It's proving to be a challenge to answer every message or letter that comes in, so I thought if I blog about a topic, regularly, it might answer your questions, and hopefully inspire you to march to the beat that feels good to you too. :) Life's way too short to not have the life that you want, and that's all I'm doing. I'm not perfect - far from it, and from the stories or adventures I share with you on here, you will hopefully see that at the end of the day, I'm just like any other girl, who happens to have a few childhood dreams and is obsessed enough to make them come true. lol (I say that endearingly of course).

Until next time,

Yours always, The Girl In The Pink Glasses xox