Q&A with Actress Kellie Shirley

By Carolyn Enting

British actress Kellie Shirley plays the part of Pauline Clench in multiple award-winning hit comedy One Man, Two Guvnors.

The West End and Broadway show sensation is part of this year’s Auckland Arts Festival and runs from March 14 to 23 at Auckland’s Aotea Centre. it will premiere in Australia at the Adelaide Festival before showing at the Sydney Theatre Company from late March 2013, and in Melbourne until the end of June.

You work in film, TV, radio and theatre – which do you prefer and why?

I don’t have a favourite medium that I prefer to work in – it’s all about the part and who I’m working with. You get a buzz from an audience and clap at the end of a show in theatre, while in TV and film [your performance] is cut with music and the material can be changed and heightened so it’s a different experience. I just love working and every job brings new experiences.

You’ve succeeded across so many disciplines in your field. How have you achieved this? And what’s your advice to other actors hoping to follow a similar path?

I’m very cheap to hire! In all seriousness, I love working and I’m ambitious. You have to be very thick-skinned and believe in yourself as there can be a lot if knock backs that can be quite tough to pick yourself up from. It’s a great career choice being an actor – it’s precarious though, but things can change in a heartbeat and that’s what keeps you going. I want to be successful rather than famous.

One Man, Two Guvnors has been a massive hit on Broadway and the West End. Why do you think audiences find it so appealing?

One Man, Two Guvnors has been a big hit for the National Theatre [in London]. Richard Bean [the playwright] is brilliant at writing great comedy. It’s such a fun play to do every night. All the characters have a funny moment. It’s a farce – so high energy and it’s silly in places. We all need to laugh especially in a recession.

What do you like most about playing Pauline Clench?

My character, Pauline, is the dumbest of all blondes. She’s getting married and is head over heels in love with Alan. They are mad for each another, although there is a strange love triangle. I love playing her as she’s so stupid.

What do you find the most challenging about the part and why?

The most challenging is singing a three-part harmony. I’m on the bottom line so it’s hard to pitch. 

How do you achieve balance in your life?

When I’m working things get really busy so I try and see my mates when I have less work on. I make sure that I speak to my family every day. If I’m working it can be difficult to go to classes, so if there’s a window for me to do this I try my best to as it helps me to switch off. It’s important to get a good work-life balance or I’d end up going mad.

Is there anything particular you do to keep yourself centred or grounded?

My family keeps me grounded and I lead a pretty normal life. I’ve got friends who work in all types of jobs and mates that I’ve known from school days so just being around them keeps my feet firmly on the ground. They’d tell me if I was being an idiot.

You run marathons. What do you enjoy about them?

After I ran my first marathon on 2008, I thought I wouldn’t ever [do it] again as it really took it out of me. The training was hard, although I found it was good way to switch off. I got a real buzz from it and it was nice running for a charity that does amazing work that I believe in. I ran again in 2011 and my time improved by 30 minutes, so I want to beat my record. Anthony Nolan Leukaemia Trust asked me to run for them again [in the London Marathon] in 2014. It’s a lovely challenge to take up and a great way to keep in shape!

You also like doing Zumba and power plate classes. What do you find appealing about those?

I love Zumba classes and power plate. I find the gym quite boring so this works perfectly for me. Power plate is only 30 minutes and is intensive so if you haven’t got loads of time you can achieve something quickly. I love my food and drink so I need to work out every week so I can fit into my costume every night!

You’ve confessed that you love make-up. What beauty tips can you share with MiNDFOOD readers?

I wouldn’t be seen dead without a bit of slap on. I love creating new looks and playing with make-up it’s also a big part of my job to get different looks for characters. The best beauty tip is taking it off properly and doing the whole cleanse, tone and moisturise routine so your skin can breathe again – otherwise you end up quite spotty, which isn’t very sexy.

What is your personal philosophy for life? 

“Love is not what makes the world go around, it’s what makes the ride worthwhile.”


Print Recipe


Let us keep you up to date with our weekly MiNDFOOD e-newsletters which include the weekly menu plan, health and news updates or tempt your taste buds with the MiNDFOOD Daily Recipe. 

Member Login