Exclusive: Muddy meets actor Rosie Day
She has a hotline to Hollywood and a clutch of A-listers on speed-dial, but Rosie Day is rocking the Cotswolds with her one-woman show - Instructions for a Teenage Armageddon. Muddy tracked her down (between meltdowns) to chat Insta obsessions, dashed Olympic dreams and Sarah Jessica Parker.
If you think you recognise Rosie Day, it’s because you probably do. Despite being a spring lamb-like 25 years young, the actor turned writer has been on our screens for almost 20 years – as Sarah Jessica Parker’s daughter in the comedy All Roads Lead to Rome and with Uma Thurman in Down a Dark Hall – to namedrop but a few.
Add to that a starring role as Mary Hawkins in Golden Globe nominated TV time-travel saga Outlander, it’s her own Twitter bio that sums her up succinctly, as a ‘wide-eyed, pocket-sized, actor and director’ recently dubbed ‘Screen International Star of Tomorrow’.
Fresh from a pre-lockdown sell-out run in London, Day is currently making audiences chuckle at BarnFest with her one-woman, brilliantly named, Instructions for a Teenage Armageddon. Her take on teen angst and a play she’s written and stars in herself, featuring the voice of Maxine Peake as Sensible Scout Leader Susan.
With a vibe that reminds me of Emma Stone mixed with a dash of Stacey Dooley (can you see it?!) and a rep for being less bothered with Hollywood glamour and more concerned with effecting change in the industry, Muddy just had to find out more …
Wow, 20 years in TV. Tell us a bit about you?
I’m a bit rubbish at talking about myself, which I think makes me very British. I’m very small, I have fake red hair, a love of Taylor Swift and I can’t get through a day without cake. Career wise, I do TV, Film and Theatre, things like Outlander for example, but have recently gone into writing films and plays, for fun! Or, maybe a higher social purpose of wanting young girls to have more of a voice.
Teenage Armageddon sounds flippin’ amazing (we can’t wait to see it). Why the teen theme?
Teenage girls aren’t often given their own stories on stage. They are daughters to lead characters or part of a bigger story. I was interested in putting the teenage girl experience out there as honestly as possible, all the obstacles and challenges young girls face today. It covers all kinds of issues like eating disorders, consent, friendships and relationships with your parents. It’s about a teen trying to make her way to adulthood. I was filming in Spain for a few months and there wasn’t a lot to do on the weekends, so I began to write it, with no intention of it ever being on – but here we are!
Is it really about your own teen years?
It isn’t drawn on specific events of my life, but rather the feeling of it, which is why I think it’s gone down so well. Everyone has been a teenager and remembers the difficulties sometimes of it, so it has turned out to be quite universal. I also work as an Ambassador for mental health charity Stem4, so I see the issues young people are facing today and the impact on their mental health, a role which has inspired me too.
Did you always want to act or write?
I actually wanted to be a gymnast! (am I too late for the olympics now?) and I accidentally fell into acting. I’ve always loved stories and reading was always hugely encouraged in my house, I love books, so writing felt like a natural progression. One things it has taught me is a great work ethic. I was raised around adults, so I learnt a lot about life from sets and rehearsal rooms.
Why is it important to hand the microphone to women?
The percentage of female writers is still so tiny compared to men, so to have women writing their own stories, honestly, is so incredibly important. I decided to branch out from acting into writing because there’s a real empowerment in telling a story you want to tell, as opposed to something someone else has written.
Tell us how you surfed the solitude of lockdown?
Well, I have 5 cats! My cat actually gave birth in the Spring during lockdown and we kept all the kittens, so it’s been spent in London a bit sleep deprived, but it’s never boring in our house.
You’ve worked with Sean Pertwee, Sarah J Parker and Uma Thurman. Come on, who’s your fave? (confess!)
They’re really all wonderful people, quite genuinely, and I had amazing adventures working with them. But Sarah Jessica Parker who played my mum in All Roads Lead to Rome will always have a very, very special place in my heart, so I’d have to say her.
What are you obsessed with?
Films. I’ve directed two shorts, the second is in post- production, and have my new feature film in development, I’m fascinated with photography, and all things film.
We love your style. What are your daily go-to brands?
You won’t believe this but I actually get laughed at because literally all my clothes are from Zara Kids, I’m not kidding! I am really small and they fit perfectly, so I love shopping there.
Who would be your dream co-star?
I love Academy Award nominated Greta Gerwig, as both an actor and director, I’ve followed her for the past 12 years, so you could say I’m slightly obsessed.
What’s next on the radar for you?
Well, I have a few things on the pipeline (like my films, above) but right now, no one knows what’s going to happen in the next year with CoVid, so I am just hoping the world recovers, and we can all get back to work.
Rosie’s Quickfire Round
Fave film Erin Brockovich and American Beauty.
Fave TV and theatre I May Destroy You on BBC iPlayer and Billie Piper in Yerma.
Chill out heaven Baths!! Every time.
Insta addiction Maddie Ziegler from Dance Moms.
Dream role Hedda Gabler at The Young Vic.
What are you listening to now Taylor Swift’s Folklore
Your happy app Dazz Cam, it gives you 8mm and 16mm film options on your phone. I love it.
Guilty pleasure Modern Family, it’s like a TV hug.
Netflix and chill, or stilettos and strut? Stay at home with kittens please.
Who’d play you in a Netflix biopic? Ha! My life is too normal, but I’d say Emma Stone. She’s a fake ginger like me.
Life mantra ‘What’s for you, won’t go by you’, and, ‘be kind … always’.