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  1. As the Academy Awards nominees take their seats tonight, I recall my own LA “Oscar” like red carpet experience. In November 2016, I was in LA as I had been nominated for a Society of Voice Arts and Science award. What an honour to be recognised by the great and the good in the voice world. It is such a prestigious award ceremony that I was thrilled. I had made the shortlist for outstanding TV promo campaign for my work with Sony TV. Hopping across the pond, I was ready for a great adventure. My destination? The home of The Big Bang Theory: The Warner Bros. Studio. In the high-spec Warner Bros. studio, I watched a live radio drama; saw a panel talk led by ACX with narrators and producers; witnessed a live audition for a contract with an agent; and heard million-dollar voices talk about work. In the afternoon, I had a one-in-a-million chance to meet and greet some casting directors, agents and managers in a speed dating session. It was a huge opportunity to play my reels to people with over 300 years of cumulative experience.

    The LA red carpet

    Drum roll please! The day of the Voice Arts Awards gala ceremony! A knock at the door: a Redken artist appeared ready to make me look fantastic. What a fantastic gift – thank you Redken – Zoraida Saray is amazing! Joan Baker and Rudy Gaskins were our hosts and – wow - they host in high-octane style with a fantastic red carpet. It was a glitzy affair and lights flashed on and off as I walked along it. I smiled widely, stepping along in my pink high heels that were clashing wonderfully. I stood centre stage and grinned as the light bulbs went off left, right and centre. What a wonderful red carpet moment!

    Redken to the Red Carpet Rescue

    My top tips for the red carpet:

    1.       Lights, Camera, Action - It can be daunting with banks of cameras and lights set up. When you stand on your mark, adopt a comfortable stance and turn slightly with the upper body to the camera (photographer’s top tip) and smile. Smile, smile smile.

     2.       Stars are wonderful up close - At red carpets events, with everyone all dressed up, it is like a show but this time when you are there taking part, you realise that even the Stars and Celebrities are like you and me. Or rather, wonderfully normal people like you and me.

     3.       Keep hydrated - From prep to red carpet it takes hours, so in warm weather keep hydrated by drinking water in sips, little and often.

     4.       Be more cat - Red carpet events can be overwhelming with something exciting to look for at each turn. Be cool and, just like being a cat, own each step you take on the red carpet.

     5.       Enjoy - Looking great on the red carpet is hard work but it is a lot of fun and an utterly fabulous place to shine, but it can be over in quick as a flash! Work that smile, take that step and ENJOY IT!

     And the award goes to….

    What a spectacle! The awards categories were announced in style. Everyone was cheering on their favourite nominee. My highlights included an academy award winner on stage, famous voices being honoured and Erin Brockovich making an impassioned speech. I held hands with other nominees that night and, although I didn’t win, I still felt like a winner. The best part was seeing and feeling the passion, respect and love for the art of voice over. Thank you. For all the Oscar nominees tonight, good luck y buena suerte! 

    Voice Arts Awards 2016

  2. After the fun festivities and gatherings in December, January can often look boring and grey in comparison. Not so. January is ….CREATIVITY MONTH. This is a great reason to carry on celebrating.  

    Einstein

    Being creative can take many forms and I love how you can feel fulfilled when you uncap a pen, bring out the paint, tap away on the keyboard or simply head out to take some photos.  Even rustling up batches of some homemade cooking or baking can encourage the creative juices to flow. I even have a friend whose doodles during meetings are things of creative genius.  

    Creativity is magical. I love how taking a moment to imagine something can take you to new ideas and directions.  As I was typing this, the radio was on.  I sat through Pop Master in the morning and then came by my favourite feature, on the Jeremy Vine Show: What Makes Us Human. This time it was Brian Eno who talked about imagination and creation. Have a listen.

    Shaw 

    Many people tell me that they are not creative.  I beg to differ.  Everyone has creativity bubbling away inside of them; the form of expressing it just varies.  I love to express my creativity through voicing, writing and even social media.  I carve time and space for creativity so that I can come up with something personally and professionally satisfying.

    This quote from Leo Burnett sums up that magical secret ingredient to creativity:  

     Burnett

    Being creative through curiosity brings us back to being a child.  Remember those days when you had no concept of time as you played and played, making up stories, giving them life through the magic of your imagination?  That joyous state should be celebrated.  

    But just how to unleash your creativity?  Some of my favourite creative outlets include: bringing characters to life, dancing, taking photos, hiking and storytelling.  The list is endless and I keep adding to it every month. What brings out the creativity in you?  What do you enjoy as a creative outlet? 

    To tap into your creative side, take a moment and reflect what “being creative” means to you?  Is it writing, painting, planning or something else?  Even organising your books into colour-coordinating sections is being creative.  Make the time to be creative and when you get the urge, use that energy to concentrate on your creative project.  It will be rewarding.

    Make January a creative month and celebrate what your imagination and curiosity brings to you.