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netribution > features > interview with emma catherwood > page one
iPicture the scene. Emma's agent-to-be is sitting in an office when she gets a phone call from a 20 year -old who has just abandoned her BTEC performing arts course. The soft-spoken voice on the other end of the phone asks if she can come and interview the agent to see if they meets her requirements. Emma duly turned up and asked her questions. Needless to say, without so much as a showreel or audition, Emma is picked up, and has worked continuously ever since. The combination of good looks and a frankness bordering on naivety has clearly stood Emma well. With a decent sized feature debut at 21 after just three years in the business puts her well on the road to success, and more than a little jealousy from the actors who suffered three years of drama school only to struggle to find an agent.

| by nic wistreich |
| photos by nic wistreich|
| in london |

How old are you?

Have you always acted?
No actually. I started acting because I had a really good art teacher called Mr Williams who persuaded me to go and see my English teacher who gave me a monologue, Juliet’s death speech from Romeo and Juliet. I took that away with my mates to work on together and I found it incredibly good fun. I used to go in one room - I was only about fifteen, sixteen - and my mates would be in the other room having a smoke, and they’d just come through one by one and watch me. I’d be going through it, and it’d be like ‘really go for it’, because all your mates are there, you know. Anyway, from that I got an unconditional offer for a BTEC in drama and performing arts at Wrexham College. Thank god!

Was that useful?
Yes it was actually. I only stayed there for a year, but it didn’t feel like I was doing much there. I felt a year was quite enough. Some people it suits, some people it doesn't - it’s like any academic life. You have to find ways around it. That’s one thing I’d say about London - and Manchester even -that it’s easier to find exactly what you need. So you go around, go to the Actor’s Centre, try a few classes there see if any of those suit you. I had a good voice coach for a while. That was great, but it’s too expensive to go private. Then I found a great improvisation class run by a guy called Charles Darrow in Holburn, fantastic class. To anyone wanting to do drama, he’s a great teacher. I’ve started doing one-on-one, and since then I’ve begun to find work. He is so nice, he knows what you need to work on. I’ve been doing some of the classics and he’ll do whatever you want to work on. He’s like any good teacher, tell them what you need. Some won’t listen, some have preconceived ideas as to what you need, it depends what type of person you are, but to me that’s no good. I don’t like being told what to do, and I know what I need. I’m really critical of myself so I know exactly what I’m bad at and what my strengths are. So you work on your strengths.

Is this your first feature?
It’s my first big part, it’s not that big a part, but it’s a big part for me. It’s my first feature and I’m really really enjoying it. It’s really good fun.

How easy was it getting an agent?
I was quite lucky. I didn’t know it was so hard until I’d lived in London for quite a while and met other actors. I think it had a lot to do with having a pretty face. I think she took me on without even knowing I had any talent. Thank god I proved her wrong. I just phoned her up and interviewed her over the phone, I basically said ‘hi, I need an agent, can I come in to interview you to find out if you understand what I need.’ This is the mistake actors make, you see, they reckon that these agents are doing you a favour. They’re fucking not doing you a favour. They want money as much as you want money. So if you go in and see an agent you've got to interview them as much as they interview you. Otherwise it’s a complete waste of time, you can’t go with someone if you don’t know how good they are, and how much time they’re willing to put in.

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