Irish actress Audrey Hamilton moved to LA to experience living in the entertainment capital of the world, though the Dubliner admits the inauthentic reality of ‘making it’ in Hollywood didn’t sit quite right with her.
While there, however, she rediscovered something truly genuine, her innate talent and underlying passion for painting, something she has since turned into a business.
Now back living and working in Dublin, she will launch her latest collection ‘INSTINCT by Audrey Hamilton’ on Thursday the 12th April from at The Copper House Gallery.
Aside from her creative talents, Audrey’s own personality has captured the attention of over 12,000 followers on her personal Instagram page.
From there she shares a mixture of her paintings as well as snippets of her day-to-day life, and plenty of selfies – featuring flawless makeup every time and those piercing, icy blue eyes.
We caught up with Audrey to chat about the difference between working in Dublin and LA, her opinion on the gender balance in Hollywood, and the worst job she’s ever done…
When did your love of acting take hold?
I spent most of my childhood on the stage or acting like I “should be on the stage” and fell in love with performing from a very young age.
Indie films are the best fun when it comes to character acting as most of the time they allow you free rein to get your hands really dirty.
I remember being the only kid I knew who used to watch all the old black and white classics as a treat rather than a chore.
How did you get your start in the industry and what would you consider to have been your ‘big break’?
Oh I definitely don’t think I’ve had any sort of ‘big break’ in my acting career. I guess, I was never looking for that to be honest, I just loved the craft and getting my hands on a character I could bring to life.
So when I was approached to audition for my first Indie film years ago I couldn’t wait to get in front of the director and perform what I had prepared for the audition.
So I guess that was my start in the film world. Indies are the best fun when it comes to character acting as most of the time they allow you free rein to get your hands really dirty.
Why did you decide to move to LA and how did this influence your career?
Me and my fiancé decided we wanted to move away from Dublin for a bit and venture over to the States. LA being the obvious city for entertainment we thought we’d give it a go.
It’s a beautiful city and we made some amazing friends but I guess the downfall of moving to LA for a few years was it really opened our eyes to the industry as a whole and whats involved in ‘making it’ out there as opposed to working.
We realised very quickly it just wasn’t for us. We aren’t very good at the whole ‘networking’ thing as they call it and really didn’t enjoy that side of the scene. But the work we did do we really enjoyed.
You’ve since become established as an artist too. Was this something you’ve always dreamed of?
I have always loved art and painting and pretty much anything to do with creating. I hadn’t painted for a few years so decided last summer to take some time out to go back to one of the things I truly love. And I started to paint.
Out popped my take on animals and I have been painting ever since. I never expected my passion for painting to one day become my business and I feel extremely lucky to do what I love every day.
My fiancé on the other hand wakes up in a Zoo every morning, but sure where’s the harm in that!
Do you have a favourite painting of yours, and if so why?
That’s a tough one. I can’t exactly say no as that’s just an annoying answer but it’s hard to choose. They all mean something different to me.
But, I guess I’ll have to say the SNOW LEOPARD. I just think there’s a fierceness in the eyes that really resonates through the painting. I can spend hours looking at that one and find something different each time.
How do you balance both sides of your career?
Well there’s not much of a balance really as acting jobs are so seldom and far between in Dublin. I find it quite hard to get work here even though the pond is very small.
I got more work in the bigger pond in LA then I do here in my own city but we just didn’t love living in LA and missed Dublin so we moved home.
Theres definitely a catch 22 there! I am so happy we did though as starting my art business the past year has really been where my focus is.
What advice would you give to aspiring actresses or artists?
It’s a typical answer but it’s true. Work hard and don’t give up. If it’s what you want to do then it’s up to you and none else to make it happen.
Do you think their should be separate awards for best ‘actress’ and ‘actor’?
Well that’s a tough one. As equality in the work place is an externally important movement issue.
I think it’s about time both men and women were treated with the same amount of respect and equality as each other
However, if ‘Hollywood’ were to eliminate Best Actress and only have one award up for grabs which included both male and female competing I don’t think it would be a fair competition.
I’m talking in number here, not talent. Although it is improving, there is still a huge difference in the ratio of male to female lead actors in the industry at the moment so the numbers as a start aren’t fair.
Were you surprised with the revelations that arose as a result of #MeToo and #TimesUp?
No I’m not surprised in the slightest. Especially after living in LA the past few years.
Luckily I was never subjected to the behaviour that was in the media. But I definitely had a lot of friends and peers who had many similar experiences.
How have you noticed the industry shift in the wake of campaigns?
I think it’s about time both men and women were treated with the same amount of respect and equality as each other and I can definitely see a change happening since these campaigns have started.
Have you noticed Dublin has changed since you’ve returned?
YES! Dublin is so different. I was on the bus the other day and I think I was 1 of 5 Irish people on it!
I love how multi-cultural Dublin and Ireland have become. You could be anywhere but nowhere else but Dublin at the same time! It’s so much fun.
I have never believed the saying ‘you can’t beat the Irish’ more since living away. We are definitely a unique culture that’s for sure.
Is there a movie that you know by heart?
Well, with a niece who is obsessed with Annie at the moment I would definitely say that I know 90% of the film off by heart.
If you could raid anyone’s wardrobe, whose would it be?
Olivia Palermo all day everyday!
What are your three desert island beauty essentials?
Oh this is easy and may sound very strange but the first thing I would grab is my fan. I’m very weird but I LOVE the sound of white noise and can’t sleep without it. I love a cold breeze when all cozy in bed. Even when it was snowing I still had my fan on.
The Second thing would be my vitamin E oil, I put it all over my face and body and hair, it’s literally my favourite beauty essential.
And the third thing I would take would be a hair brush because I have a lot of hair and don’t think dread locks would suit me.
Are you an early bird or a night owl?
Night owl all the way!
What are your favourite ways to keep fit?
I pretty much walk everywhere. Since pretty much living in a car and traffic in the States for two years, I decided not to get a car for a while since being back in Dublin.
We have a great public transport system here and I try to use it as much as possible which means walking a lot! I also love yoga and swimming.
What is the worst job you’ve done?
We were only having a laugh about this the other evening over a few drinks. The worst job I’ve had was when I was 19 and was doing promotions.
Although it is improving, there is still a huge difference in the ratio of male to female lead actors in the industry
This one job came up that we had to do which was to hand out newspapers, in the lashing rain, at the traffic lights wearing an extremely fashionable Hi-vis vest which obviously every teenage girl wants to be seen wearing!
What is your greatest food pleasure?
Pesto! I’d put it on everything if I could!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t try to be anyone other than the best version of yourself.
Can you share any plans you have in the pipeline for 2018?
Yes, I am officially launching my current collection INSTINCT by Audrey Hamilton on Thursday the 12th April from 6-8pm at The Copper House Gallery and I am very excited and nervous at the same time. Everybody is welcome.