Twenty-two-year-old Asha Elcock, a student from the Barbados Community College, is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Arts and Entertainment Management. The young actress sat down with Positive Vibes to discuss what led to her decision to become an actress.
Q: What is your mantra for life?
A: I live by different mantras Live, Love, Laugh, Be You and Feel the fear but do it anyway.
Q: What is one thing that the public would not know about you?
A: I wanted to become a pathologist.
Q: When did you realize that you wanted to be an actress?
A: I had a long journey of knowing where I belonged and what was my calling. When I was younger, I had a fascination with cadavers and science but then I did Chemistry and I knew that was not my calling. However, there is still a love for pathology and the biology of the human body that fascinates me. All in all, I knew when I attended the Barbados Community College to do my Associate Degree in Theatre Arts. My life changed drastically. It was there that I knew I would not fit in anywhere else but on the stage and in entertainment.
Q: How did you go about attaining your dream of becoming a successful actress in Barbados?
A: There are moments when I wanted to give up, but I knew what I wanted to be and where I wanted to be. I aligned myself with many people in the industry and I keep learning from them and put that experience under my belt. A big part was just staying dormant for a bit and taking in life experiences, knowledge, and perfecting my craft so that when opportunities arise, I am ready.
Q: You also work with Mustardseed Productions as an assistant director. How did that come about?
A: I know what I want and I go after it. I remember always hearing of this amazing company and the work that they were doing. I saw a few of their performances and I knew I wanted to work there. I was 18-years-old; I went to Varia Williams who is the Managing Director of Mustardseed Productions and said: “I am interested in working with this company and I would like the opportunity to do so, what would I need to do?” She invited me to work with her then-upcoming show, Bridgetown Piper and the rest is history. Soon after I joined, she told me she wanted to do a programme specifically for the 4-18 age group and I became the Assistant Director to the Youth Theatre Ensemble.
Q: What is one thing you would like to see change in the theatre landscape of Barbados?
A: A lot of opportunities are out there and if you cannot find any, I believe in creating your own. What I would increase is the awareness of some of those opportunities to all creatives. There are opportunities out there but if [you don’t] see them, you have to go out and search and not expect everything to pop up. The opportunities need to reach all the audiences.
Q: Are there any Barbadian actresses you were inspired by?
A: So many people have inspired and encouraged me on my journey. As it relates to female actresses – Alison Sealy Smith, Varia Williams, Nadia Holmes, Mercedes Knight and more. Their talent, passion, and drive encouraged me to push myself. These women are powerhouses and you remember their presence. That is the impact I want to have on the audience.
Q: What was one of the highlights of your career thus far?
A: Me recognising my talent working on Bussa to Barrow as a technical, auditioning for Laff-It-Off and also receiving a silver award for Poxy Rosie, a piece entered into the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts which Varia Williams and I directed.
Q: Was there any moment in your career when you said ‘I have made it’?
A: I believe you have defining moments but ‘having made it’ is a state of mind. Sometimes when you get comfortable in that ‘I have made it’ phase you get complacent and I never want to be complacent in my talent. I do not believe I have made it. I have so much more learning, experiencing and growing to do to be the best me I can be. I still have a way to go but I am on the right path.
Q: Were there any obstacles you had to face as a female in theatre?
A: If you have enough paper, I have a few. I was told that I was not talented, and the stage was not for me and those words resonated with me in an unhealthy manner that if I held onto it, it would have destroyed me. Thankfully, Sonia Williams, amongst so many others, believed in me and told me like it was. Sonia said ‘Asha you have to let go, you have to trust yourself, you are so talented.’ Having someone with her level of talent and experience tell me those words is what helped me out of a place I felt was impossible to get out of.
Another was believing in myself and overcoming self-doubt. Self-doubt can always be your worst enemy and it was mine for a while, but I have recognized that failure is inevitable in some cases. If you fail, pocket the lesson, get up and go again. It is harder said than done, but it is doable.
Q: What advice would you have for any young females who want to become involved in theatre?
A: Don’t try to adopt another person’s style. Yes, do your research, look at their techniques, but research and create your own techniques. Practice, practice, practice. Be you! Most importantly, trust yourself, trust the process and trust God. (LG)