I first met Lauren McCrostie on an abnormally hot day in London. I was pleasantly surprised by how humble she was, considering this emerging young actress has worked with the likes of visionary director Tim Burton, Oscar winner Judi Dench, and Hollywood A-list star Samuel L. Jackson.
Here was this interesting and accomplished young actress, with plenty to talk about, and yet she was asking me what I studied at university.
Getting to Know Lauren McCrostie
The first thing I noticed about Lauren was that she is someone who takes initiative; determined in her nature and true to her beliefs as an environmentalist, she politely asked if she could have her tea in a mug so she does not waste plastic needlessly.
Embarrassed, I removed my plastic water bottle off the table and popped it back into my bag. Within those first few moments, I immediately felt that we needed more people like her to be put in a position of power and influence.
McCrostie proceeded to tell us about how she was invited to Tim Burton’s house for her audition for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016).
In a long awkward silence, Burton gently held her face and inspected her eyes under a massive bright bulb to see if they were distinctive enough for the role of Olive, as all the Peculiars were required to have very beautiful eyes as part of the narrative of the story. She confirmed that her eccentric Tim Burton expectations were met.
Pursue Your Dreams with a Fighting Spirit
McCrostie is an advocate for pursuing your dreams, but this belief was not stated without a fair level of humility, she recognises that she was extremely lucky to get the opportunities that she has had. And she emphasised, prior to the interview, how much luck and money have to do with it.
In our increasingly competitive and economically difficult world, it was refreshing to hear from an accomplished and successful person that is it is not futile to pursue your dreams. And McCrostie is living proof of the fruits you reap if you prescribe to this belief that is so often deemed naïve and unrealistic.
This attitude is precisely what makes McCrostie the perfect patron for Barnes Film Festival, as the festival connects young people interested in film with industry professionals, with the hopes that this support will encourage and inspire those with this passion to pursue this untraditional and challenging career path.
At a very young age, McCrostie decided to become an actress as it was her dream. I found her word choice rather interesting. She declared that she “decided”, not that she wanted to or liked the idea of it, but she had made a conscious decision to pursue this difficult career, regardless of the inevitable hindrances that come her way.
Behind the language is a mind-set, perhaps this is what separates McCrostie from other young people who merely wish to become actors, there is an unstoppable attitude behind this statement to which we could all adopt for our own personal goals.
We Can All Create & Play For a Living
This strong willed approach was reinforced as she stated “I don’t think you should let any obstacles prevent the pursuit of your dream in any way”. The young actress was referring to being dyslexic in a field that is inundated with language and pressure to read and memorise lengthy scripts, highlighting her determination even further.
She jokingly added that ever since that decision she has been “following this path blindly and aimlessly”. She said this rather self-deprecatingly, however, to me that translated as a person having unwavering faith in oneself and their dream.
McCrostie wanted “to be able to create and play for her job” reminding us that joy and fun are paramount aspects to incorporate in our careers and subsequently in our lives. We are often told we have to work painfully hard to feel like we have earnt the right to make a decent living. But McCrostie reminds us there are thousands of people out there creating and playing for their job, so therefore, why can’t we?
Using Her Power
McCrostie possessed many impressive qualities, from her confidence in eloquently articulating answers, to her courage in taking an unconventional and unstable career path with no guarantee of fruits at the end of it.
What I found most impressive was how she used her voice and platform to make a positive difference in the world. McCrostie is an ambassador for Earth Angle, an American based environmental organisation that aims to make film and television sets as environmentally friendly as possible. In addition to this, she runs a sustainable living newsletter, which works to promote and encourage ethical behaviours which one can easily adopt into their life.
McCrostie reminded me of something very important; even if we sometimes feel powerless, we all have some value to provide. You do not have to wait until you are a millionaire or Prime Minister to make a change in the world. Indeed, she has a platform and, therefore, an audience to listen to her. But she is still in the very early stages of her career, yet as an emerging actress she wasted no time to make changes where she felt passionate, and that is truly admirable.
I think many young emerging actors get carried away by the excitement of it all, by meeting Tim Burton and being given parts to Oscar wining films without auditioning, but she does not forget that with power comes responsibility: “Fame has made me more aware of its power” she states.
With a great deal of maturity, McCrostie takes advantage of the fact that influence is the most valuable currency we have, and she is most definitely helping to make positive changes with the power that she does have, and this is something we can all strive to do.
Stay tuned for the full interview.
By Alya Soliman