Authentic, Honest Confidence | 2017

Why London and 2017 need self-identifying women of all ages, races, abilities, orientations and creeds to practise confidence authentically.

It’s been a shocker of a year…I don’t know about you but I’m exhausted. We’ve endured heartbreaking, mass, democratic decisions intrinsically linked to discrimination against minority groups. I’m angry, tired, scared, embarrassed and in the face of the shit-storm that has been this year, it’s hard to access personal strength and resolve.

Thing is, as a woman, I’ve had to work pretty hard on very gently coaxing out my legitimacy. But now that a racist, homophobic, misogynist has been voted into the most powerful position in the world, it’s quacking in it’s pretty-little-lady-boots and it doesn’t want to play. One of the most devastating skid marks this year has left us with, after allowing an awful man to shout his way to the top, is the lingering, unpleasant question: If, when push came to shove America chose a monster over a woman to lead us in the ‘free’ world – what kind of influence can women hope to have, really?

The white, middle-class, straight, male collective is the identity that the world and its history has been built on. This is the identity that women, people of colour, and members of the LGBTQ* community, and disabled communities are sized up against when trying to infiltrate it.

Margaret Thatcher is a useful example – “oh sure dear you can be Prime Minister, but if you want to have any actual power you must take voice classes to sound like a man and basically play at being a bloke for the entire time…if you do that – please feel free to fuck this country up as much as you like.” But as we continue to work hard at challenging this dominant male template on a global level – it’s vital we also think about how to tackle it as individuals in our daily lives…so here’s the plug:

This is Lauren. 

She’s badass for the following reasons:

She’s a public speaker. She speaks all over the world. People literally pay her to say stuff, loudly, in front of other people, and she is usually the only woman doing it. DESPITE THIS Lauren has perfected the technique of remaining unequivocally herself – she has a broad Scottish accent and an affinity with silver shoes that I doubt very much you could persuade her to part with.

I believe Lauren has achieved two very important things…

  1. She’s not scared to speak.
  2. She speaks in her authentic voice.

It’s an impressive combination, believe me, I’m an actor, I’m trained to speak loudly on stages and I still get nervous speaking in public and feel FAR more comfortable hiding behind a script and a character than I do speaking as myself. But I think, especially in the light of the aforementioned shitter of a year, it’s essential that women start to find and use their authentic voices whenever possible.

So to that end, Lauren and I are kickstarting our new year by facilitating a workshop in London for women in confidence and authenticity.  Buy your ticket here.

In our workshop, we’ll talk, we’ll play and we’ll try stuff out – but most importantly we’ll listen to YOU – we’ll give you an opportunity to hold the space in a safe and open environment and to practise what that feels like. This is not about forcing you into an extrovert personality – it’s about celebrating who you are. Here’s a video of us in action.

We’ve been running and working at these workshops for a year now and they’ve gone down bloody well.

Lauren shares her experiences as a woman working in a male-dominated environment, discusses the sorts of challenges she faces and shares stories about the different ways she’s tackled it. As an actor, I focus on the tools we’ve all been born into despite gender: our bodies and our voices. I’m not going to try to persuade you to do anything weird or uncomfortable and I’m certainly not going to encourage you to stand or speak like a middle aged, upper class, white man. What I am going to do is encourage you to understand that the way you’ve chosen to use these tools – through habit or psychological circumstance – is not set in stone… you may find, that through a deeper understanding of these fundamental instruments – you can access powerful parts of your communicative self that you’ve not realised can be utilised.

We aim for you to leave the workshop, having spent some awesome time with the other awesome women who join you – having shared stories and concerns – having made connections – and having been reminded of tangible tools with which to speak in whatever way you want to – whenever and to whoever.

Let’s find our voices, let’s be public and proud in our authenticity, let’s make some waves. 2017 needs us. 

Buy your ticket for our women’s workshop in London here. We are also running uni-sex workshops in Oxford (buy your ticket here) and Dundee (buy your ticket here). We are hosting a confidence party in London to celebrate #upfront turning one. Get your free ticket here.