We recently caught up with inspiring actor Tom Ainsley who opened up about his mental health, latest projects as well as some of the highlights of his career so far. As well as giving us an insight into his background, he was also happy to give some advice to other artists coming into the industry. Here is what he had to share with the readers.
First of all Tom, it’s great to catch up with you again to find out what you have been up to. Do you feel like you have grown a lot more as an artist over the years, through your experiences?
I like to think I have. I like to believe that every experience we have, whether it be good or bad, helps us to grow in one way or another. And as I’ve grown as a person, I feel like I’ve grown as an artist too. Who I am as an actor is a reflection of who I am as a person.
What has been one of your favorite projects to work on so far?
I wouldn’t say it was my favorite, but I think your first ever project is always going to be special. I remember booking my first professional job, a guest lead on a British day-time drama called Doctors (rather unsurprisingly a medical drama), and I was amazed that someone was actually paying me to do this! I remember feeling like I had absolutely no idea what I was even doing there (hopefully everyone else wasn’t thinking the same), but the whole experience was very special to me. It was crazy how we filmed a ridiculous number of scenes each day – but I learned so much from just being there that it really stuck with me.
What has been one of the biggest challenges for you?
The biggest challenges I’ve faced throughout my career have always come from the work itself and they always involve my mental health. It is something I’ve struggled desperately with for most of my adult life and will no doubt be something I struggle with for the rest of it.
In truth, I’ve found myself painfully unhappy at times and not necessarily when things haven’t been going well professionally – quite the opposite in fact. There have been moments where I was working constantly on big, exciting projects, but going home in the evening and feeling like my world was collapsing.
But I see it as very much a part of who I am. Once I accepted this, spoke out, and asked for help – things began to get a lot better –and they have continued to get a lot better. Now I find myself in a place where I am happy and able to deal with things in a much healthier way.
I’m proud of how far I have come with regards to this and how far the world has come with regards to the stigmas surrounding this issue – but we still have a long way to go!
Who has been one of your favorite actors/filmmakers you have worked with so far and why?
I’m going to name check an old friend of mine – Charlie Webber (How To Get Away With Murder). We worked together on my first every feature film and (without knowing it) he taught me what hard work really looked like and how a true leading actor should treat those around him.
He has an amazing ‘first to arrive, last to leave’ work ethic and (whilst it might seem like a small detail) by the end of our first day he knew the name of every crew member on set. This always stuck with me and is something I’ve tried to emulate on every project I’ve worked on since.
What other projects do you have coming up?
I’m fortunate enough to have a few projects in the pipeline at the moment. A television series that will be filming in several locations around Europe and then a feature film after that. Unfortunately that’s all I can say on this matter – or some executive producers will be very mad with me!
What is your best piece of advice for aspiring artists?
It’s nothing that hasn’t been said before – but it’s true nonetheless! Keep the faith. Quite often no one will believe in you as much as you believe in yourself, so that self-belief must be unwavering! We all fall down, it’s about how many times you can get back up.