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My First Job: Kelle Bryan – ‘Acting from an early age taught me to manage disappointment’

Kelle Bryan. Photo: Ric Bacon Kelle Bryan. Photo: Ric Bacon
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My first professional job is an interesting question to answer. I went to stage school from age 11 and the school had its own in-house agency so we would often get cast for jobs, although I wasn’t one of the most popular kids on the books.

Being in the casting game so early meant I quickly learned how to manage disappointment, success and discrimination. My first job was on The Clothes Show, presented by Selina Scott, when I was 12. I remember being really excited that I was going to be on telly. I was then cast in EastEnders as a character called Debbie when I was 13.

My biggest break came at 17, when I joined the band Eternal. Looking back on my earliest castings, I think I was innocent enough not to know what could go wrong so I simply enjoyed the ride and learned my craft. With the band, I would have invested more financially and not got caught up in the hype of it all. One thing I learned was that I can only be me – but in the right circumstances or for the right job, that’s spot on because I will automatically be the right person.

I learned that the hair and make-up people, lighting crew, runners and assistants are all important. They are the gel that holds it all together and in this business everyone talks to everyone.

That’s why it is so important to do your research on who you are meeting or working with. This will take the edge off your nerves and shows professional courtesy. Give your thank you cards on a genuine basis and always be early for every call time.

Remember that on the first day of rehearsal you have already been cast. You are the one they chose, and the director has already seen what she or he needs for the role in you.

Bring your A-game on the tough rehearsal days as well as the fun ones. Remember that being here as an actor is what you have worked hard and prayed for – so when you get what you asked for, don’t complain.

CV: Kelle Bryan

Age: 42
Trained: Italia Conti
Theatre includes: Wings, My Fair Lady, Bouncers, The Brothers, Rebellion, Torn, The Exonerated, Daddy Cool and several pantos
TV and film includes: EastEnders, Me & Mrs Jones, Rocker Island, National Lottery (presenter), Love Island, The Big Reunion
Other credits: Director of Advocate Agency
Agent: Lee Mountjoy

Kelle Bryan is in Wings at the Young Vic until November. She was talking to John Byrne

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