Emmy Stonelake

9 September 2020

“Haia, I’m Emmy! I’m an actor-musician and model originally from Aberdare in the Valleys.

I work as an actor-musician predominantly, but I’m currently busying myself working as a Musical Director & Composer for Hull-based theatre company ‘The Roaring Girls’, as well as being a voice over artist, a model at ‘Lucy & Yak’, and attempting to write my first play!

I think the most important thing to me about being a creative is having the agency to do as I please. In my experience, working for yourself can take you into ALL sorts of avenues you may not have necessarily been open to if you were working exclusively in one area. As for being a creative woman, I think given how we’re still treated by society at large, being a woman makes being your own boss even more badass!

Acting is just something I’ve always done, to be honest. I began auditioning for, and appearing in amateur shows in South Wales from before I can remember, and some of my earliest rehearsal room memories include tap-dancing while the director chain-smoked into his ashray on the piano! I think my mother had an inkling that I loved being on the stage, and it kept me busy almost every night of the week.

I feel truly empowered by my bilingualism, and blessed beyond belief. Like many other upcoming artists, I came from a non-Welsh-speaking household in an industrial area, where I was the first of my living family to learn Welsh. My Nan still tells the story of how amazed she was at the school gates, when a three year old me would say goodbye to her in English, and greet my teacher on the other side in Cymraeg. I’m very aware that my ability to speak Welsh is arguably my greatest artistic privilege. I’m planning to dedicate a fair chunk of my working life to help redefine the boundaries of what a Welsh-speaker looks (and sounds) like, and I salute anyone who is learning the language later in life (including my mam and fiancee Zoe!).

I’m sure I face similar (if not, identical) challenges to women in all other professions. Despite my immense privileges; being cis, white and Welsh, I am still victim to harsher judgment, often limited story-lines, sizeism, misogynistic colleauges, having my credibility questioned, and seeing considerably less role-models in a number of creative professions. Something I notice in my own career, is the limitation on being able to practice my craft as a comedic actor – particularly in the world of panto, where there is an opportunity to redefine the rules year on year.

I feel very attached to my identity as a Welsh artist, specifically. All-in-all, I think it’s an incredibly exciting time to be in and around Wales, even if you’re not Welsh! There’s a real momentum going, and there’s a whole host of brilliant work being made. If I wasn’t currently stuck in Croydon, I’d be back there myself!

I honestly know very little about what’s next for me, except that I’m determined to continue writing for now. My immediate goals are: stay alive, finish my play, and eat enough to remain a Lucy & Yak size 18!”

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