We have a great treat for you today in the form of an interview with Annette Badland who has been an actor all her adult life and has most recently appeared as the evil character Babe Smith in EastEnders. She's also played Hazel Woolley, another rather nasty person, in my favourite radio soap, The Archers.
Caroline, our eagle-eyed Customer Services Manager, spotted that Annette is a customer of LFF, so I contacted her and asked if she would like to be interviewed by me about her life and times for our Ambassador series. My idea with this series is to talk to higher profile older women about their life, their career and their feelings about ageing and share it with you via a video.
I first met Annette on one of the hottest days of the year in a hotel in central London.
First impressions were entirely positive as this very pretty, warm, smiley and charming woman came into the foyer looking cool and elegant in white linen trousers and a beautiful highly coloured loose linen top. I don't know what I was expecting but she was the total opposite of the rather plain, dowdy looking Babe Smith in every way. As you will hear in the video, Annette was attracted to the acting profession as a young child when she realised that she could entertain an audience of classmates.
After she left school she did a brief but useful stint as a receptionist in a doctor's surgery, and in 1969 she entered East15, a drama school in Stratford, East London. On leaving drama school in 1972 she became part of the Actor's Company with people like Felicity Kendal, Robin Ellis and Ian McKellen. Initially she spent her acting life on the stage and was at the Royal Shakespeare Company for three years during the mid-seventies.
Since then Annette has appeared in many wonderful productions on stage, television and film.
You may remember her as the secretary, Charlotte, in Bergerac with John Nettles. Since then she has appeared in series like 'Cutting It' and recently in 'Outlander' before becoming a regular in 'EastEnders'. It was interesting to watch Annette pose for her photographs during the photo shoot as she is 5'2" tall and a UK size 20 at the top and 18 on her bottom half. On your behalf (I know how many customers we have who are similar to Annette) I asked her where she finds her stylish lovely clothes. Oska is a favourite brand as is Masai and Sahara. She can no longer wear dresses or skirts at all due to an old leg injury from a car accident, so she sticks with trousers (usually from M&S) and dresses up the upper half with beautiful tops, scarves and interesting jewellery.
Annette commented that growing older within the acting profession is also challenging.
It must be one of the few professions in which you are confronted on a regular basis with rejection when you are either not considered for a part, or having gone for an audition, you don't then get the job. Annette told me that with increasing age come increasing challenges as parts for women get fewer and, worst still, get lumped into the unrealistic age range of 50 - 70 (Annette is 66). Another challenge is that decisions for casting are now made by committees of people rather than individual directors so the process is much less collaborative. However, as her long and successful career attests, Annette has clearly been one of the lucky ones in landing some great parts both on stage and on television. One of the most poignant things that Annette said was how hard it becomes to keep regenerating hope after a knock-back over an acting part.
If you think that sounds downbeat please do watch the video where you will see that Annette is a wonderfully funny, lively and eloquent woman with great grace and charm.
She also loves her Look Fabulous Forever makeup, especially the Aubergine Eye Shade. I do hope you enjoy meeting her as our latest inspirational Ambassador.
Fabulous Forever Women - In Conversation With Annette Badland