Laura Whitmore“Sometimes you think you’re having the perfect life, but it’s not as perfect as you think it might be.”

As heard on The Ryan Tubridy Show

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Laura Whitmore has appeared on our screens in many different guises: MTV presenter, Strictly contestant, brand ambassador – and now screenwriter and actress. She told Ryan Tubridy this morning how she came to write and star in her short film, Sadhbh, which gets its premiere as part of the Irish Film London Festival this weekend.

“Maybe in Ireland particularly, growing up, you kind of have to pretend to the neighbours everything’s ok, when sometimes it’s not.”

Now at the age when a lot of her friends are having families, Laura explained that the film is about a young mother and how sometimes you think you’re having the perfect life, “but it’s not as perfect as you think it might be”. The film, she says, holds a mirror up to a society that puts pressure on people to have a perfect life. Ryan has, as yet, only seen the trailer, but he likens the tone of it to the films of Mike Leigh and Ken Loach. And Laura is, naturally, delighted that he did so. Her film is set in the very realistic sort of worlds that you can see in their films.

“Claire is a young mother, life’s new and she kinda wants to do it all by herself and there’re people there that want to help, but she doesn’t want their help. I think there’s a certain element, some might think Claire’s crazy, but she’s definitely not, she’s just dealing with life in the only way that she knows how.”

Both the writing and the acting demanded that Laura show some vulnerability, something that her presenting jobs hadn’t prepared her for. But the film – she describes it as a passion project – was too important to her to allow her give anything but her best.

“I think when you have TV shows, even though you’re being yourself, you kind of have the make-up and the glitz and the glam and I think for this, even though I’m playing a character, you kind of have to lose yourself a little bit in it and show vulnerability.”

And of course there is no shortage of people ready to pile on the first sign of vulnerability from a well-known figure. So, Laura says, she decided to make the film thinking to herself that no one would see it. And that made the experience a little easier.

Sadhbh premieres on Friday at the Irish Film Festival, London, as part of the Irish Shorts programme at 6pm.

And you can hear Ryan’s full chat with Laura Whitmore – including details of the award she received from the Irish Ambassador recently – as well as the rest of the Ryan Tubridy Show, here.

Niall Ó Sioradáin

© The Listener 2019

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