How I Got My Job: Actress and writer Amy De Bhrún
In a new series on Independent.ie Style, we speak to Irish women who inspire us and find out how they got the job they're in today, what trials and tribulations they faced on their career path and what advice they have to give to working women in today's world.
Second in our series, we speak to Dublin actress and writer Amy De Bhrún, who has starred alongside Matt Damon in Jason Bourne and held roles in Vikings and The Stag.
Did you always want to be an actress?
I always wanted to be an actress for as long as I can remember. I never wanted to be anything different. When I was three years old my mum used to come into rooms around the house and find me acting out scenes from Annie. Whenever anyone asked me what I wanted to be, I always said, “actress,” even though I wasn’t 100pc sure what it was.
My mum was a drama teacher and my older sister is an actress and singer, so I knew about the acting world. I always wanted to go to plays and see shows in the local theatre.
How did you find yourself on this career path?
I started off doing drama classes. When I finished secondary school I went to Trinity College, but I left after three months. I took a year out and then I moved to London when I was 19 to go to drama school. It all just took off then. I spent two years training full time, from 9am to 6pm. When I finished there, I started auditioning. Luckily, the first few jobs I auditioned for, I got. I had a role on The Southbank Show and in a feature film called Bigger Than Ben. They were small but significant roles, now I look back.
What are some notable obstacles you faced during your career and how did you overcome them?
There was tonnes of rejection. I could make it to the final two for big jobs, be recalled a few times and then I’d be told I didn’t get it. You have to believe that if it’s meant for you, you’ll get it. There’s a lot of hard work involved. If the hiring agent doesn’t see it, you can’t convince them. Often rejection leads to something else. If you take rejection well, it will stand by you.
I let rejection brush by me and remember that it’s not a judgement of who I am as a person. Without that attitude it would be very difficult to get out of bed in the morning.
Are you a believer in having a five year plan?
I’m a bit goal setter. I always set short term and long term goals at the start of the year. I’ve definitely learned that there’s a fine balance between having big goals and being able to let them go.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be an actress?
Work hard. Be prepared to work hard and create your own work if you have to. There’s no joy in just sitting by the phone. Don’t take rejection to heart. As a writer, I’d say just do it. Write every day and get up every day. Just keep doing it and find a way to do what makes you happy.
What women inspire you?
On a personal level, my mother and sisters inspire me. They’re hard working and can do it all. On a professional level, I’d say Kristen Wigg, Amy Poehler, Amy Schumer, Meryl Streep and Emily Blunt. Each of these women embody both comedy and serious roles, and have the ability to bring a lightness to the serious roles. I try to apply that to my acting and marry the light and dark sides.
What’s a typical day like?
Every day varies. I start every day with yoga. It’s instrumental in my day and sometimes it's the only routine I have. I go to a class or do it at home if I can’t make it out. If I’m acting, I could be on set or if I’m writing, I commit to writing for the day. Sometimes I’m doing photoshoots, interviews or rehearsals. If I can take a break, I go out and walk the dog.
I have an office at home, so if I experience a mental block, I change my environment and go to a coffee shop to get a different perspective. I’m quite disciplined at working by myself after years of training. There’s no benefit to letting time slip away when someone else could be doing the same job better.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Working on Jason Bourne was a professional high. I’d never worked on anything to such a scale. It was quite a big thing. A personal highlight was performing and producing my first one woman show. That was very rewarding. Another one would be being on the An Irish Man Abroad podcast because I was such a fan and it was like things came full circle.
What skills and traits are necessary for your job?
Extreme resilience, focus, drive and an innate confidence. And, of course, the ability to accept rejection well!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I’d like to have written and produced some feature length films, and be regularly making content for television, film and theatre. I’d like to do some more Irish films as well.