ANDREA BENNETT: THE POWER IN SENSITIVITY

 

 

I first met Andrea while I was working as a model and actors booker in Barcelona.  From the very beginning I thought she had star potential (my pisces intuition hardly fails) and a very unique quality about her: a striking delicacy mixed with a brilliant sense of humour. What I didn’t know much about was what laid on the personal side. The scars she hid and the courage she was forced to build even before stepping into adulthood. Her journey through the intricacies of the acting world have definitely been shaped by her high sensitivity. Whilst overcoming the challenges of working through a complicated relationship with her mother and the absence of her father, she discovered that her sensitivity was not a weakness. It was rather a superpower that didn’t only help her understand life itself, but also fueled her performances with unparalleled depth and emotion.


Can you recall the moment when you first knew that you wanted to be an actress?

A friend of my mom, who was an agent, signed me up. When I was seven or eight, I stepped into a movie set for the first time. I was very curious, it looked like another world. I remember there was this scene, in a church, I was one of the orphan children singing in the choir and the main actress was supposed to have a conflict with another character that would make her upset and leave. I think she was supposed to leave just until she was off camera but she was so in character that she actually left the room. Everyone was like ‘what’s happened?, where is she?’. I honestly don’t know if people were acting or if it was really like ‘ok, where is she?’. I don’t know, but I remember thinking that she did something really cool and that I didn’t want to be a hairdresser or an astronaut, I wanted to be her.


What have been the key steps you’ve followed in order to become a professional in your craft?

Prep is the first and most important step for me. If you want to work somewhere you need to know about the place, to inform yourself. If you love making movies, watch movies. If you love the theatre, go see plays. You’re going to work with emotions, experience and understand them. We actors spend a lot of time waiting for the opportunities to come, while we wait we have all this time to prep which is essential. When something finally comes your way you have to be ready not only to catch it but also to hold it.


What would you say have been the main challenges that you’ve faced during your career?

I believe for me it’s been learning to trust myself, to the point where I stopped paying so much attention to what was going on around me and I started to focus more on what is in my hands. When I am on set I kind of need my time to relax, shut the noise and focus. When I’m on that stage I might not be your favourite person to talk to but passed that stage I’m lovely, I promise.
But yeah, you have to figure out how to do things in a way that works for you and the only way to figure that out is by trusting yourself. Once you do that, you start feeling more confident and free and everything is more enjoyable.

 

 

With challenges often come lessons, can you share some of the best ones you’ve learned, particularly thanks to acting?

The best lesson that I’ve learnt, thanks to acting and to one of my best friends, is to not judge. Let’s say the character trusts you, the actor, to explain their story. You can not give voice to someone if you don’t understand what you’re giving voice to. It doesn’t matter whether you agree or not with them, what matters is that you have the capability of understanding. If you judge, you simply can not be the instrument for them to express themselves and be heard.


Has there been any defying project in particular that has left a mark in your development as an actress?

This June I did a play, Selflove, in Microteatro- small theatre, or actually tiny- and that was truly an experience. I haven’t been doing theatre since university and this format in particular is very concrete. It’s a small room that’s the stage and the audience pretty much takes a seat on stage. So it’s very intimate, you’re really acting for them and everything feels more intense and vulnerable because you’re all so close to each other, like really. Anything can happen. It’s really intimate and intense but extraordinarily beautiful.


How do you manage the stress and pressure that comes from being immersed in such a competitive and often cut-throat career?

Good question. The stress and pressure don’t go away, it’s part of it. I think at some point you just accept it and focus on why you’re doing what you’re doing and why you love it. I think that when your intention comes from this love, it eases things. All careers have difficulties, but if it’s what you want you become very creative with finding ways around it. I believe it’s important to be honest with oneself, have your reasons clear and act from an intention that’s nourishing and serves you. I journal a lot. It helps me digest what I feel. I love writing in the night, in the balcony and with candles, lots of them, everywhere. Also, we actors work with emotions so I believe a therapist is always our best ally.

 

 

Going a bit more into the personal sphere, what do you think has been the most testing and taxing experience that you’ve been through?

There is something that’s clearly my biggest scar, my mother. Let’s just say, that I was a little Matilda and that the story went on until I was 19 and I was welcomed to leave home. That was a hard year because I woke up being a teenager and next day, I still was a teenager going to university plus an adult, working, with a house, paying bills, with no support and unhealed trauma. It all happened like ‘poof’ and I had to catch up fast. Next year, I moved to London to study and I really needed to catch up fast because London on my own, so young, was wild. I’m very grateful to my friendships because they did make a difference. They still do.


What’s your current perspective of those events and how do you manage the emotions associated with those memories?

They happened such a long time ago and that past is so different from my present that it almost feels like a blurry memory, like it happened in another life. I’m not even mad at her, I can kind of understand but I do have to protect myself. Sometimes there’s triggers and some of it comes back but it feels distant, really like a blur. Probably what’s left of it it’s just the child, screaming for love, but I hear her and I am as gentle as I can with her. I speak to her, a lot.


How do you think your hardships have shaped you into the woman you are today?

It has definitely made me strong and brave. I think that, what I like the most, is that these hardships have turned me into a very sensitive human. I like my sensitivity because it allows me to feel so much and do so much. Sensitivity is this cute little spell that makes the world more pleasant.

 

 

Imagine you were allowed to rewrite your story: is there anything you’d change or would you choose to go through the exact same experiences?

This is very interesting because I recently got asked this question. The thing is, there’s so many beautiful memories that I’d gladly relive again because they are a gift, but there’s others that would be very hard to revisit. However, I am very aware that these experiences have shaped me and if I was to change anything, even the tiniest thing, I’d suddenly become someone else. Truth is, I don’t want to be someone else, I want to be me, but better. That means that I can not change the past. So yes, I would live everything again exactly as it happened.


I know you’re an avid reader: could you share with us your top 3 book picks?

Just three? Oh god, okay. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, Now Now Louison by Jean Frémon and When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill.


A quote that’s tattooed in your soul.

I am afraid I am going to have to quote Dumbledore. ‘It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live’ and also ‘Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all those who live without love’. My soul is fully tattooed with Dumbledore’s quotes.

 


Andrea Bennett: @andreaabennett

Photography by Lorena Sturlese

Jacket: Topshop

T-shirt: Uniqlo

Belt: Gucci

Jeans: And Other Stories

Red lipstick: Kylie Cosmetics