Charlotte Jaconelli has recently performed in the Donmar Warehouse’s revival of Sweet Charity, and the Original West End Cast of Heathers The Musical.
Alongside this, Charlotte continues to perform globally after selling over 1 million albums world wide, ranking up over 300 million views on YouTube and performing in venues all across the world, most recently headlining her own show at 54 Below in NYC, touring the UK and frequently performing at The Royal Albert Hall as a soloist. Charlotte has worked alongside people such as Sony Music UK/USA, Samuel L Jackson, Simon Cowell and The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines.
I am thrilled that Charlotte is headlining our next “What Would Julie Do?” cabaret: My Body at the Pheasantry on Sunday 30th June 2019. (Click here for tickets). I caught up with her in the run up to the show to ask her all about life after Drama School, mental health in the performing arts and body confidence.
I love my body, and enjoy living inside of it, the hardest part is when people try and tell you that you aren’t capable because of what you look like – but you just gotta keep proving them wrong.Charlotte Jaconelli
Most people that have followed your career know of your success on “Britain’s Got Talent” as one half of the pop/opera duo Jonathan & Charlotte and as a recording artist when you were a teenager. You then went to train in Musical Theatre at Arts Ed. How have you found the shift in your career?
It was really hard to make the switch before I trained. Nobody would take me seriously and didn’t believe I had the ability to take on a show. They also only saw me as a singer who probably couldn’t act or dance. I always knew Theatre was where I needed to be, but it took drama school and a lot of not telling people I was from “Britain’s Got Talent” to make it happen!
What was your biggest challenge at Drama School?
Turning up everyday and putting your best forward when you’re tired and self esteem is on the floor! You just gotta keep positive and know it will pay off one day.
Do you have any advice for aspiring performers?
You’ve made the right choice. You should be here. You deserve to be here. Make them see it!
Do you have a favourite show/gig/performance that you’ve done so far?
My favourite performance was opening and closing night of Heathers at the Haymarket. I have never and probably will never experience theatre like it, from either side of the stage.
How are you beat post show blues and keep creative in between jobs?
I’m actually terrible at post show blues because I get attached so quickly! I dive into as many creative things as I can, concerts, blogs, theatre trips, keeping myself busy. They’re is nothing worse than sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring.
Our cabaret at the Pheasantry is themed around body image and self confidence? Have you ever struggled with this?
Technically I should yes, but truthfully no.. The only struggle I’ve had is coming to terms with how the industry views my body. I love my body, and enjoy living inside of it, the hardest part is when people try and tell you that you aren’t capable because of what you look like – but you just gotta keep proving them wrong.
What helps you be body positive? Is there anything that has particularly helped you develop confidence?
Doing things that scare me. Sometimes even when it makes you feel sick to your stomach to wear that tight outfit, or get the legs or arms or shoulders out you hate. Our insecurities are habits. Break the habit.
How do you take care of yourself? Physically and mentally? What advice would you give others?
I surround myself with people I love and do things that make me happy. The best advice I can give is if it doesn’t make you happy cut it out. It might hurt at first to say goodbye to that friend or that job or that class, but ultimately your happiness will benefit in the long run. Stay away from negative people. You get what you put out.
Do you think that there is pressure in the theatre or music industry to look a certain way? If so, how do you feel about this?
There is absolutely a pressure, but it’s up to you whether or not you conform to it. Equally losing or gaining weight for yourself is not conforming, as long as you are doing it for you.
Do you think there is a stigma relating to mental health problems in the arts? Any experiences or thoughts you’d be willing to share?
I think we are getting better at it as an industry. However I think it’s selective. I feel some issues are taken more seriously than others. I still feel like taking a day off for your sore throat is more respected than your sore mind, and that needs to change. On my last job, I needed some time away and I was very lucky to be granted it. Sadly, they didn’t have to, and the horror was waiting to find out if I’d be ‘allowed’.
Who/what inspires you?
Anyone who is passionate and driven. Passionate and driven people make me want to work harder! I also know when I look back at photos of myself as a kid I remind myself why I love it so much!
What lessons have musicals taught you?
That being an actor is really hard. You must have stamina. Your job in a musical is to do one of two things: Entertain, or share a message. Sometimes both.
Do you have any lyrics you live by or a favourite quote/mantra?
If you don’t follow your gut instinct, there’s no point having one.
If you had to pick a guru or gurus from the world of theatre (characters or real people); who would you choose and why?
Anne-Marie Speed. I met her on “Britain’s Got Talent” as my vocal coach when I was 16. She changed my life! I don’t think one human has ever taught me as much as her. She’s also a really great friend too.
What is your dream role?
Gosh I have so many! Right now Janis in Mean Girls, Emma in the Prom, or Dot in Sunday in the Park with George.
What is your favourite musical?
The Light in the Piazza
Oooh Yes!! I love that show! Obsessed! Let’s finish off with some “What Would Julie do?” themed questions…
What are a few of your favourite things?
Curry, New York, Diet Coke, City Breaks, Performing, Netflix and long drives!
What do you do when you are feeling sad?
I love to drive. I take long drives and listen to my favourite music!
If Julie Andrews was your agony aunt; what would you ask her?
Julie babe, how do you do it?
What would be ‘loverly’ for you?
A 6 month holiday in New York City!
How do you solve a problem? (Like Maria or other…!)
Face it head on, with honesty.
If Mary Poppins got out her tape measure and measured you, what would it say?!
Extremely driven, and stubborn. Likes to help others, but only with enough sleep!