First of all, why don't you introduce yourself to those of us who
don't already know you?
morning/afternoon. Thank you for inviting me to be interviewed. My name is
Louise Illingworth, I am 40 years old, (the years go quick donít they!)
currently working my way back into the acting industry. I am also a mature
Acting performance degree student, studying at Calderdale University
Centre, as part of the Open University. I am from West Yorkshire in the
UK. I have 2 caring wonderful teenage daughters who are my life. I was a
young mum, 20 (well, 20 years old isnít too young I guess, I felt young
at the time). My eldest is to be 18 this August 2019 and my youngest went
15 in February 2019.
what made you want to become an actress in the frist place?
What made me want
to become an actress, I love entertaining people and enjoy the boost of
satisfaction when I know I have played a character well and audiences have
enjoyed what they have seen. It gives me a sense of happiness, not just
for me, but the people watching. The ultimate reason is because when Iím
acting I can be someone else, bring a character to life, enjoy escaping
out of my headspace for a while into a whole new life. Itís a wonderful
feeling when you can connect with a character.
In the past, I was
lucky enough to be involved in dancing and performing professionally on
stage since the age of 3. I was a dedicated dancer and attended The
Dorothy Stevens School of Dance, 6 days a week involving myself in
various forms of dance classes. Unfortunately, at the age of 13 I became
critically ill, leaving me with little energy and no choice but to give up
what had been my whole world - dancing.
decided I couldnít let my illness stop me so I started the acting school
Stage 84, I had a very low self esteem because of the way my
illness made me feel and look, I didnít think I would Ďfit iní. I
eventually let my mind take over and stopped doing the one thing I had
always done and wished I could continue to do Ė be in the TV and film
industry to be involved in projects that inspired and entertained people.
from what I know (and I hope I don't get too personal here), you started
acting in your teens, but then serious health issues put you on a looong
hiatus - so would you like to elaborate on that?
Health issues that
put me on this long hiatus - when I was 13, I became critically unwell to
the point where the doctors couldnít understand how I was still alive. I
was becoming increasingly tired, had a yellow tinge to my skin tone and
was becoming snappy with no patience Ė I was completely out of
character. My mum had been putting it down to my age and hormones, we had
just been on holiday, so she thought I had developed a golden tan. In the
end she took me to the doctors and they diagnosed me with jaundice, but
took some blood to be on the safe side. The next day I was rushed to
hospital and put on dialysis. My kidneys had completely failed. I was on
CAPD dialysis until I received my first transplant when I was 14, I had my
own that lasted 13 years and was a really good kidney. But because I was
in steroids, I had what is known as a Ďmooní face, which is a bloated
face, which going through teenage hormones and feeling like I had a huge
head gave me low self-esteem.
was it that eventually got you back into acting, and what can you tell us
about your training on the job?
20 years later and
after having four kidney transplants I thought enough is enough, since the
age of 13, I have being defined as Louise with kidney/dialysis problems or
Louise thatís poorly, I want to be known for me, who I am, for my talent
and what I have always wanted to do. This leads me to where I am now. I
started the acting degree for something to focus on to help with my
anxiety and depression, the minute I started doing the work I was hooked
back into it straight away, I caught the bug! The feeling and buzz I feel
when acting is like nothing I have ever experienced other than when acting
in my early years. That was it, I had to find some adult classes to get
some training to get back into professional work alongside my degree. In
January 2019 I started Northern Star Acting in Leeds, owned by
Christopher Torretto [Chris
Torretto interview - click here], who is also my coach. Since
then I have been in a theatre production called Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat
written by the playwright Mark Ravenhill, cast in 2 short films that will
be sent off to film festivals, and just recently being personally asked to
be interviewed to be an ambassador for kidney organ donation, as well as a
personal invite to be an ostomy style ambassador. I am working with Chris,
completing workshops alongside my daily coaching to give me more skills to
help me get back into the acting industry.
would you describe yourself as an actress?
would describe myself as determined strong and passionate, willing to do
whatever it takes to achieve the goals I have in this life. I want to be
able to show people that even with complicated health issues you can be
who you want to be, it doesnít have to stop you. Why should it? In my
case that is for me to be a successful actress. Acting is the one thing
that helps me escape my health conditions. I have been defined for 27
years now as Louise the dialysis/kidney patient or Louise thatís poorly,
but no more! I am determined to be known for me, for what I am good at and
passionate about, acting. My aim then is to inspire people to be who they
are and not let anything get in the way of that.