Exclusive Interview – By Dr Shahid Qureshi: –
Yulia Edgley is very famous British / Central Asian actress based in the United Kingdom. She is originally from Turkmenistan. She agreed to do an interview with The London Post. Here are few questions we asked:
Please tell us about your life, childhood and family?
I was born in Turkmenistan to a middle class family. My father was a physics lecturer at the local university and mother worked as an accountant. My mother was from a big family and as one of the oldest kids she was always helping her mother with the youngest ones, so it was important to her that her children had the best opportunities, such as having music education. So, I went to music school for seven years, where I learnt to play piano and sing and which at times I thought was too much to cope with as I wanted to spend more time playing with my friends, but now eternally grateful to my Mum for this
How was your schooling, education?
After finishing school, I was faced with a dilemma of what to study and which university to go to. By that time music school was long finished and the decision I had to make was really hard for me, as I always thought that I did not possess any special talents like for example my sister, who has an incredible voice. Besides that the public opinion of people who worked in an entertainment industry was very low, therefore in order to maintain a social status and to choose something that always will be needed, I decided to study economics and accounting like my Mum. My university years were educative and quite fun and I participated in any competition there was, which made it even more interesting. One of the most memorable one was ‘A nuka devushki’, which translates from Russian as something like ‘Come on girls’, where we had to sing, dance, do runway modelling, self-defence etc.
When I arrived in London, I decided to use my accounting skills and studied CIMA to become a part-qualified Chartered Management Accountant. And I still work as an Accountant on a part time basis
Please tell us about marriage, homes, kids and family life?
I am married to a wonderful man, who is very understanding and supportive of the choices I make. We met and started dating in London and from the very first date I could see the difference between him and other men I dated. On a first date he got disappointed when I had to leave, on the second date he took me to a theatre to see a play ‘Noises Off’ and on the third one he invited me over to his place and cooked me a three course dinner! We got married in Gretna Green, which is the place people used to elope to get married back in day. For me it was and still is the most romantic and exotic place. Now we live in South East London, where we’ve got a house near a dock. It’s a wonderful peaceful area. It took us a few years to fully refurbish the house and I was given a full freedom to decorate and furnish it the way I wanted and I even designed the kitchen and the bathrooms myself with a bit of my husband’s help, so it’s a really nice place and I love coming home to it.
How you spend your time, and your hobbies?
Despite of acting being my main passion, I have got lots of other interests. As I mentioned before, I work as an Accountant part time, in order to keep all the knowledge I have acquired plus I think it exercises a different part of my brain, so I like to keep it active.
I don’t do politics, as all the horrors in the world make me sad and tearful, so instead I meditate every day, sending a message to the Universe to make the world a better place.
Generally, I don’t have free time, as if I am in a play, I go to rehearsals 3-4 times a week, and then there are lots of lines to learn. Recently, I’ve decided to take signing lessons, as I used to sing with my sister and I love doing it and I also play the piano. My other passion is pole dancing. I’ve started doing it as a challenge to myself about three years ago and then I just couldn’t stop, as it is as much a physical exercise as a beautiful and expressive dancing. So, I do the classes 2-3 times a week, depending on how much free time I have. Also, I keep fit by jogging, going for a swim and I also have a cycling machine at home.
I love travelling too, so we try to go to different places, see the museums, art and ancient ruins. I make sure to bring a fridge magnet from every country we visited.
Also, I love reading and going to a theatre, there are so many good shows to see in London, cooking and baking, so I always cook if I have time.
When you decided to become an artist?
I got into acting relatively recently, when I was modelling for a Moving Stills project, which was lots of fun. Then I was asked by the same director to come to his film set while he was shooting a short movie. After that he offered me a role in his next short film, after we had a few workshops to practice. I was thinking that I would only do that one film, but to my surprise I enjoyed it tremendously and was told that I looked really good on screen and have very expressive face. That’s when I decided to learn more about acting, starting with a course on method acting, also I have been trained at City Academy, Actor’s Studio and RADA.
Since then, I had a few minor parts in feature films and did some extra roles, but mainly I am involved in theatre.
What difficulties you faced in becoming an artist and how did you overcome those difficulties?
Just to mention that I didn’t get into acting for fame or to become rich. I guess the main difficulty for me was a lack of confidence of being on stage at the beginning, but the more I perform the more confidence and experience I gain. Now, I just love being on stage. Another difficulty would be to change the persona completely for different roles. For example, for my role of Princess Betsy in Anna Karenina I was struggling to lose the sing song way I speak, which is my natural way of speaking and I am grateful to the directors who were relentlessly working with me on this and helped me to achieve it. And it is my personal and main goal as an actress and a performer to be able to be portray contrasting characters.
Another challenge would be to get roles and be in plays that are interesting. I remember one of my first roles in recently written play, where I didn’t like the play very much nor the role and that I had I in it. I don’t want to be in that situation very often! But, in a way it helped me to be more confident on stage plus from that moment I made a vow to myself to never agree to roles I don’t like.
Please tell us about your success stories?
I was fortunate enough to get into theatre last year, where I’ve played various roles, the most memorable would be the dual roles of Young Countess and Seven of Spades in a play called Queen of Spades; the role of Princess Betsy in Anna Karenina and more recently Varya Ivolgina in The Idiot. Also, I participated in a poetry festival recently, where I read a famous war-time poem called ‘Wait for Me’ by Russian poet Konstantin Simonov and it filled me with such positivity, energy, joy and happiness plus I had a chance to network with other actors, playwrights, poets and writers.
Currently, I am producing and starring in a detective comedy called ‘Who killed Monsieur Rocher?’ We will be performing at Theatro Technis on 28th– 29th May and 4th -5th June. I’ve always wanted to stage it and finally I had a chance to do it this year with the help of my closest friends!
It takes place in the firm of Mr Rocher, a lawyer in Paris. One night, when all employees have left, Miss Alice Postic, the telephonist and secretary, decides to stay and chat with her friend on the phone, and then discovers the corpse of Mr Rocher with a dagger in his back…
I don’t want to give away much, but it’s surprising, exciting and also very funny. It should be a great night out. Please see the link below.
What advice you will give to young and new comers?
My advice is to be true to yourself and to trust your instincts and to never be complacent with what you achieve and strive for more!
What are future plans, how you see yourself in next 5 years?
One of the perks of this industry is that you get to meet so many different people, actors, directors, so you never know what the future will bring and projects you’ll be involved in. I have to say that I have met some great and talented people, with many of whom I forged closed friendships and whom I admire.
I am planning on producing more plays, writing a script for a movie and shooting it myself, getting more interesting roles and be lucky enough to be struck with great ideas, to be involved in new projects and meet more wonderful people!
Thank you very much for your time.