27 May 2020
“My name is Tori Lyons and I am from Aberdare. The Creme de la Creme of the Welsh Valleys.
I am an actor, writer and model – I have been acting professionally for 12 years (and I’m not THAT old, I promise…). I am currently writing my first one woman show surrounding my own experiences with my mental health as a Welsh, working class women.
I have always felt strongly about the injustices in the world and have very much felt them on my shoulders (I know – so dramatic. It’ll get lighter, I promise.)As a femxle there are certain expectations as to what work you can do, what work you can get and why you get that work. I actively challenge this – I am very lucky that I have a supportive femxle agent who understands exactly what work I want to do, who champions me and supports my decisions. I love to celebrate all of my colleagues, friends and peers – but women supporting women? We know that’s when the magic happens. And I am so ready for that magic to explode into the universe… Starting in South Wales, of course.
Stereotyping is still very much an issue within the industry and that can be a good and a bad thing. Like I said, I have a very supportive agent, but I think it’s important to understand who you are and what you want to do – so that when you are faced with challenges you can be ready without sacrificing yourself. I learnt very early on what I didn’t want to do by, unfortunately, doing it. It doesn’t have to be that way. A challenge we all face is being heard – there’s a lot of noise – how do we get ourselves heard? By being unapologetically yourself. I’m a Valleys foghorn with a loud laugh and an overly enthusiastic attitude. You better believe I’m proud of that.
I think I was always a creative child. I loved to be alone and live in my head. That is often still the case. I watched a lot of 80’s and 90’s comedies with my mother and fell in love with Goldie Hawn, Eddie Murphy, Jim Carrey, Bette Midler, Diane Keaton. I was initially attracted to the glitz and the glamour, then the performance and the indulgence. And now? The power. As creatives we have so much power in what is seen, how it’s seen. We live in a challenging world and I still very much hold that on my shoulders – but now – I’m ready to speak. Prepare yourselves… (maniacal laugh).
I can be a lone wolf – that’s where I feel I’m at my best. So strangely enough I feel like I’m flourishing under the circumstances because I am not surrounded by people and distractions. I love creating and in the last two years I feel like something has really clicked – I feel like I’m starting to get ‘it’. I’m starting to understand my own power. I lost it for a while… but now it’s coming back. There’s also something great about growing older. I’ve just hit 30 and I feel like I’m only now really beginning. And I’m so happy about that. I’m trying not to force anything or make work just for the sake of making work – I don’t ever want to do that. But now the ideas have started to fall into place and I have the time (kind of) to develop them – I’m doing it. But don’t worry – I still lie in bed some days eating Kit Kat’s and watching never ending episodes of RuPaul. Balance, y’all.
I think I feel powerful as a femxle full stop. I am inspired by women and their journeys. I come from a femxle heavy family and it’s allowed me to develop friendships with so many women. I feel like I’m always making friends – especially in this industry. Women are always surprised when I compliment them, or support them or cheerlead them and that makes me so sad. We have the power to be kind and supportive and we also have an innate power within us for change. And that empowers me to make, create, educate and agitate for the femxles before us, the femxles around us, and the femxles in front of us.
Writing for me isn’t usually hard – I love reading and I think that really benefits my writing style. But what’s different with a one womxn play that is about your own journey with mental health is making it universal and challenging the right areas. I really don’t want to make a play about mental health that is unhelpful, self indulgent – just plain crap. I have a great team who are supporting me, and it’s developing all the time. I have regular meetings with my amazing director Alice Eklund (you might have heard of her) and that support is benefitting me hugely. It was scary releasing this idea into the world as a lone wolf and I can’t thank Alice enough for celebrating it, wanting to work on it and being one of the main driving forces behind it. See… magic happens when womxn support other womxn. My wolf pack!
What’s next? WORLD DOMINATION.
And more BBC Sesh sketches, two more ‘Monday Monologues’ (check them out) to be released, an R&D for my one woman show ‘It’s An Epidemic, I’m Afraid’ (and no, not THAT one), more podcasts with Off Script With, and collaborations a plenty.
But mainly WORLD DOMINATION.
Also – in all seriousness, I’m here for questions, I’m here to support and help. If you need advice – give me a shout. I will always make time for you.”