Actors including Adrian Lester, David Suchet and Caroline Sheen have revealed their in-between jobs on Twitter in support of Katie Jarvis, who was recently “job-shamed” by a tabloid newspaper.
The Daily Star ran a front page story in which it revealed Jarvis was currently working as a security guard at a shop.
The article immediately drew criticism from the performing arts community, with many actors sharing their own experiences of their work in-between acting jobs.
David Suchet revealed he “worked in Moss Bros, was a lift operator in a block of flats in the late 1960s, unloaded lorries full of frozen dog food, [and] was a waiter/barman”.
He added: “Keep on acting don’t give up. Its [sic] all part of your life experience, which you will use even subconsciously.”
Jarvis appeared on the Victoria Derbyshire show and said she was “made to feel quite ashamed” by the newspaper’s headlines.
West End actor Caroline Sheen tweeted: “Sold perfume at Selfridges, Harrods, John Lewis – all in between lead roles at the National Theatre. Then worked in Jo Malone between playing Mary Poppins on two continents. Otherwise I would not have had a penny to my name. F**k you gutter press.”
The original article, published by The Daily Star on October 19, reported that she was working as a security guard in a branch of B&M Bargains in Romford.
Adrian Lester tweeted: “In order to keep the money coming in and chase this career, I’ve worked as a cleaner in a care home, a bar tender and a waiter.”
Musical theatre performer and actor Steph Parry added her support, tweeting: “Over the years I’ve worked in a pub, a restaurant, a cafe, a shop, done mystery shopping, labelled pizza boxes for eight hours straight, dressed up as a gorilla/alien/potato, ran kids parties/workshops and almost… ALMOST took as job as a singer in a brothel!”
Assistant general secretary of Equity Matt Hood appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row programme and said: “I thought it was a shameful and unwarranted intrusion into the personal life of what many actors do to try and earn a living.
“Looking at the research, two thirds of our 50,000 Equity members work less than 20 weeks a year [performing] and two thirds earn less than £10,000 a year.”
He added: “An actor’s job is to reflect real life […] having the experience of other jobs and other ways of life can translate into better performances.”