STOPTIME: Live in the Moment.

Anna Tierney: Embracing Her Rougher Edges

April 14, 2022 Lisa Hopkins, Wide Open Stages Season 6 Episode 5
STOPTIME: Live in the Moment.
Anna Tierney: Embracing Her Rougher Edges
Show Notes Transcript

Lisa and actress Anna Tierney go deep in this episode about her journey as an actor and her desire to lean in to all of the parts that make her who she is and break through the limitations both external and internal beliefs of "how" actors are supposed to present themselves:

"The example in the industry, up until very recently was, you know, you want to look like this kind of homogenous of gravy of bland things, you know, or perfection or whatever that is. But I'm glad that's changing now, and I'm embracing all those rougher edges."

Highlights include her affectionate recollection of her childhood  and the influence of her well known actor father Malcolm Tierney:

"My dad was such a charming, funny, dedicated, personable man, you know, it was he was one of those people that it was just a dream to be around he could hold court in a room and, and you'd be kind of hanging off every word. "

And her fear that she wouldn't be good enough to get into drama school:

"I was applying for drama schools when I was at university, and so went straight to drama school. And it wasn't until I got there that I realized that that was where I was supposed to be. And I'd kind of I think been putting it off to an extent, was maybe a bit afraid of going to, to drama school, or would I be good enough to go there?"

Anna's bio:

Anna Tierney is a Drama Centre London graduate; her training was supported through many awards and the support of actors including Jeremy Irons, Ian McKellen, and Ian McShane.

 Upon graduation she landed a role in BBC's long running series Doctors, and performed (AT or WITH) The Globe, The National, The Royal Shakespeare Company.  In North America Anna performed at the Guthrie and Royal Alexandra Theatre with frequent collaborators Out of Joint Theatre in Our Country's Good.   

Film and television credits include the animated series Summer Lane Drive, the feature PSYCHO GOREMAN that premiered at SXSW and the limited Channel 4 series Deceit where she met showrunner Emilia Di Girolamo.  Anna and Emilia reunited on the Amazon series Three Pines based on Louise Penny’s Gamache series where Anna is a series regular.

Born in Manchester, to Irish and Austrian ancestry, Anna speaks fluent German. Off-screen she plays roller derby and converted a dilapidated narrow boat into a home.

Follow Anna on  Instagram @whenisaygroupyousayseven
https://twitter.com/annatierney





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Lisa Hopkins:

This is the stop time podcast. I'm your host, Lisa Hopkins, and I'm here to engage you in thought provoking motivational conversations around practicing the art of living in the moment. I'm a certified life coach, and I'm excited to dig deep and offer insights into embracing who we are and where we are at. So my next guest is an actress who has worked on stage with some of the world's most prestigious theaters including the Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare's Globe and the National Theatre. She is a Drama Centre London graduate whose training was supported through many awards in the support of actors, including Jeremy Irons, Ian McKellen and Ian McShane. Upon graduation, she landed a role in BBC is long running series doctors. Film and television credits include The Animated Series summer Lane drive, the features cycle, Gorman and the limited channel four series to seat. She recently finished shooting for an upcoming Amazon Series Three Pines based on Louise Penny's Commercial Series, where she has a series regular. Born in Manchester to Irish and Austrian ancestry. Anna speaks fluent German. Offscreen she plays roller derby and converted a dilapidated narrow boat into a home. It is my pleasure to introduce you to to Anna Tierney. Welcome. Thank you. Thank you so much for joining me today. First of all, I'm so curious to know about the dilapidated boat you turn into a home.

Anna Tierney:

Well, I mean, it's it's probably my all time favorite place that I ever lived in first home, I owned the only home that I've ever owned. And it was a really special time. You know, living in London, it's it's difficult to afford a place of your own. So me and my partner, we we bought an old narrow boat, and then yeah, just just snatched her up. And she just she was called the looking glass. And she now belongs to someone else. We don't have her anymore. But yeah, it was one of the most beautiful times living in London, but in in the most amazing parts of the city, but always on the water and always near some green or a park. And you know, the canals are like this sort of secret part of the city that you don't always notice straight away. But yeah, it's pretty magical.

Lisa Hopkins:

How fabulous. How long did you live there?

Anna Tierney:

We had the boat for four years. Yeah. So on and off. For around that time.

Lisa Hopkins:

What was going on for you and your life then like what was what did your life look like?

Anna Tierney:

I mean, it was a mixture of I think I was working on various different theater shows. Then I was still skating then. So I was playing roller derby. And at one point, I was making a show about roller derby. So as a lot of skating, I think at that point in my life.Yeah, just being a working actor and being on a boat.

Lisa Hopkins:

It conjures up all sorts of wonderful romantic ideas of being an actor in London, right? I mean,well, I love that you included it in your bio, too. It says a lot about you that you included it in your bio, actually.

Anna Tierney:

Well, my agent likes that little tidbit.

Lisa Hopkins:

Is that right?

Anna Tierney:

Yeah. She's like, Oh, what, you know, it's, it's, I guess it is an interesting fact. I didn't, I always just thought it was my way of life. But I think yeah, like you said, it probably does say a lot about a person that, you know, they're willing to live on the water and be live in this kind of wandering way. And, and it's romantic. It does, I guess it says a lot in that it's one kind of snapshot image. And you can imagine a lot in that image. But yeah, it was was my life a big part of my life.

Lisa Hopkins:

I love it. You're talking about, you know, Jeremy Irons in the Old Globe and the Royal Shakespeare, blah, blah. And then it's like, you know, she plays roller derby and converted a dilapidated boat.Like, that is awesome. Like, it's like the full embracing of, of, you know, what you do and who you are. And they were given equal value. If not, I mean, usually the bio is left with, you know, you know, your sort of biggest credit at the end or whatever. And I think that's pretty. That's pretty cool.

Anna Tierney:

Ah, thanks.

Lisa Hopkins:

I love that. I love that. Take us back a little bit. Because I don't know really much about you. And I'd love to I'd love it if you wouldn't mind taking us back a little bit to your to your origin story. Like to little Anna, back in England. Right. You You were born. Were you born born there?

Anna Tierney:

Yeah. Yeah, I was born in Manchester and my dad's Mancunian and my mum's Austrian. And so I was born in the north of England and then moved to London toAnd then I grew up there. And my dad was an actor who's he passed away eight years ago, this month, actually. And so I think that was always sort of there in the, in, in our world, and my mum is an artist and a painter, and many different mediums. And so we've all kind of been very artistic and lots of different ways, I think growing up, but somehow acting and I think writing and as a kid growing up, and now has always been a big part of my life.

Lisa Hopkins:

Do you sort of have a recollection of when you started getting interested yourself? Or thinking yourself? You know, we often look at our parents don't we and think, Oh, that's cool, or we admire them? I'm just curious to know. Yeah.

Anna Tierney:

Yeah. Well, I think, you know, my dad was, he was such a charming, funny, dedicated, personable man, you know, it was he was one of those people that it was just a dream to be around, he could hold court in a room and, and you'd be kind of hanging off every word. And he was hilariously funny. You know, like, piss your pants funny, he's just the best. And those people are really rare. So I think, you know, having someone like that, who you can kind of look up to, and probably as a kid, you sort of emulate and replicate things that your parents do, or you, you have that example. So you know how far you can go. You know, I think about that a lot, you know, must, must have played a role. But I think you have to have some kind of aptitude for it. Like, my sister isn't an actor. And she just, I guess, doesn't have like the same aptitude for it. But she is very artistic. And she makes jewelry and she paints and like, and we all kind of do a bit of all of that. But like, there's a reason why she's gone down that path. And I've gone down this one. Yeah,

Lisa Hopkins:

ya know, for sure. Well, it's so interesting, because I think, you know, sometimes artistic parents, you know, really don't want their kids, you know, they say anything, do anything, but and they sort of discourage them from the arts, and others, you know, expected. I mean, there's so many different sort of trajectories or expectations or non expectations. And I'm just so curious to know, was it was your household? Did it feel? Did it feel sort of, did you feel that choice? Or did you Yeah. How did that sort of what was the rhythm of your your life growing up?

Anna Tierney:

Well, I mean, there were definitely, when I was, I guess, when I decided that's what I wanted to do. My dad definitely, I think, I don't think he was encouraging of it, because he knew how hard it could be, obviously. But it's sort of problematic, I think, when parents sort of discourage you to do something, because it just makes you want to do it more, you know, you want to like either prove your parent wrong, or you think like, why don't they want me to do it? Do they not think I'm good at that thing? It creates so much more of a kind of store story around the thing that just, yeah, it gets in the way, I think, but my mom was always supportive of anything that I wanted to do, which I'm very grateful for. And, you know, they were both supportive at every step.

Lisa Hopkins:

Do you remember your first performance? Like, do you remember how old were you would you say when you did your first acting,

Anna Tierney:

I did Bugsy Malone. And because I wasn't a confident singer, then. And so I had a very small role. I was Louella I remember my dad coming to watch that night and I just, I forgot my like one of my two lines. Just so painful. I think it was so painful that i i forgot to go out for the curtain call. I forgot to bow and my my parents had said you know what? Well, we didn't see you. Oh, yeah, I was out there. I was out there. And just sort of lied. I made up this live but I was just like, in pain in backstage that I'd forgotten this one line. And I think I remember being really method about the show to like, I was like knitting in the show. And, and that's clearly why I forgot my line. Like just trying to do it. All right, but getting it all wrong. It's so weird being a kid isn't it?

Lisa Hopkins:

You said that you were being method. Right? So it sounds like if I'm hearing you correctly, that you were so involved in the act of what you were supposed what you were doing, that you actually forgot the context of which but actually, you have to remember lines and remember you're blocking and so on so forth. Right? Yeah.

Anna Tierney:

And I think it was totally out of context. Like there's no reason why this character would have needed to be knitting, but I do I'd made a choice, I guess. Just unnecessary.

Lisa Hopkins:

So high school. High School finished. And you did? I'm guessing you did really? Well. And the reason I say that is because in my research also, I know that you're fluent in German, and that you received a scholarship to Oxford. Is that right? For language?

Anna Tierney:

Yeah, yeah. And I mean, I did, I did not bad at high school, actually, I had kind of average grades. And then when I went to sixth form, and I did my A levels, and I was doing subjects that I liked, I started to do better. But you know, it's funny, I don't really talk a lot about Oxford and my time there, I kind of always felt a bit like an outsider, because I grew up in a part of London, where it wasn't the expectation that you got into that kind of university. And I always felt like I was climbing a very big hill while I was there. And I think then I also had this, this feeling like when I came out of Oxford, that people who knew me or where I grew up, that they would somehow look at me differently or think like, you know, that you sort of somehow think you're better than other people. And I honestly never really felt like I belonged there. But I know, I know, it was very useful in so many ways that that kind of university training, you read so much, you're so you're so well read. And, you know, you have exposure to a lot of plays and literature that you maybe wouldn't take the time to get into if you didn't have that kind of degree. And then I also spent a year abroad in Berlin, which was really formative for me. And, you know, I was applying for drama schools when I was at university, and so went straight to drama school. And it wasn't until I got there that I realized that that was where I was supposed to be. And I'd kind of I think been putting it off to an extent, was maybe a bit afraid of going to, to drama school, or would I be good enough to go there? Or, you know, all those self doubts that you have and things?

Lisa Hopkins:

Yeah, that distinction is brilliant. Because if I heard you correctly, you went from high school to university not to not to theater school. Right. So your plot? Yeah. So. So you I'm sure you were well aware that going to Oxford would bring these things for a girl of your class or stature wherever you were coming from to go to Oxford. So it was probably, obviously it's difficult to get in you got in so so there was an element of proof there somewhere that that must have been important to you. Right. But then I also heard you say, which is really, really interesting, that there was maybe an element of not being ready yet to apply to theater school, or even if, if you were if you were maybe strong enough, so it seemed like a good option. Right. It talked to me a bit more about that.

Anna Tierney:

Yeah. I think a lot of people think that, yeah, studying a degree first, so that it's like a backup, or I'm not I'm not even sure. Yeah, I think I think I thought it would be sensible to do and maybe I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. And then when you get into a university like that, you sort of think, well, I have to go. And I remember arriving there and feeling so out of my depth, but just kept going and kept trying to sort of prove to myself that I could do it. And maybe that sort of forged a quality in me where, you know, you just keep going until, until you get there. And those are useful qualities, I think, as an actor, too, you can feel very out of your depth. And you you just have to keep going and keep getting better at it and, you know, fight those voices that are telling you you don't belong in that place.

Lisa Hopkins:

Yeah, it's it's, it's a great catch that if nothing else, you Well, you've learned a lot, obviously. But if nothing else, you also learned a very important tool for this industry, right for the industry, that you're in the resilience and the you know, not always being in your, in your in the zone or in the Yeah, no, I mean, I think that makes perfect sense.

Anna Tierney:

I think also, you know, we're sort of, we're sort of told that those are like, the pinnacle places that you should be going to, and I think, I think that's really wrong. Because, you know, I think it can lead you or definitely for me, because I think I'm a little bit of a kind of adaptive personality. So I think that's the thing that I have to do and I'll adapt myself in a way to fit into those invites. moments. And actually, if I just embraced, like, where I came from and, and, you know, didn't feel the need to sort of prove so many things. I think our society now in our industry is much more accepting of difference and definitely more accepting of working class actors. And in my dad's generation, you know, maybe I was sort of following a similar example. Like, he grew up in Manchester, but completely eradicated his accent. He sounded, you know, very posh. And that was the trend, then, to sound what's called RP, I think you call the same thing, don't you receive pronunciation you You sound a certain way to be accepted into theatre and television. And now, we're seeing that, you know, all accents are embraced like regional accents. Or even like, if you have a list, it's fine, like, but I think back then it was like, No, you have to, you have to speak properly. And you have to do things a certain way. And I remember my dad commenting on certain, like speech things when I was a kid, and I just think you should just be allowed to embrace all those things, because that's what makes it interesting. And yeah, I wish I had trusted that a little bit more. But I think, you know, the example in the industry, up until very recently was, you know, you want to look like this kind of homogenous of gravy of bland things, you know, or perfection or whatever that is. But I'm glad that's changing now, and I'm embracing all those rougher edges.

Lisa Hopkins:

Yeah, no, absolutely. What makes you different right is now what's interesting. That's the sort of new the new thing right is, you know, you know, hence the, you know, let's talk about the boat at the end of your bio. Right. I mean, there was a time when that would not have been a thing, right?

Anna Tierney:

They would have just thought you were some some strange homeless person.

Lisa Hopkins:

Exactly, exactly. They would have put you right, in a box. What discoveries have you made about yourself since the world changed so much in 2020?

Anna Tierney:

Yeah, that's a really good question. I think I have discovered that slowing down and taking time with things often yields better results, you know, certainly within the way that things move online, with social media and everything like that the pace is just relentless. And it's not really doable in a lot of ways. And I think now I'm starting to enjoy, again, that kind of, you know, the long periods of gestation, where you're thinking about a project, knowing that something can take a really long time before it's ready to be shown to the world. But it's really difficult with the way that things I think, are marketed online, you're, you're made to feel like you need to share things so much quicker. It's just not really conducive for good work, you know. So I think that's been a nice thing to realize.

Lisa Hopkins:

Do you think that things actually changed? Or do you think just your perception changed? I mean, things have changed. Obviously, there's external things. But it's interesting, right? I mean, it's the same business. It's the same. The Internet certainly was going full, strong, and there wasn't much actually going on.

Anna Tierney:

Yeah. Have things actually changed? I mean, probably not. Will they ever change? No, I think it'll probably get more and more intense as things go along. You know, it'll just be a different kind of content. But it will be coming out just as thick and fast. Yeah, there's a new thing every second, every minute of the day, you're never going to be relevant. And if you are relevant for a moment, then trust me, everyone's forgotten by the next day. You can't possibly keep up with that stuff. I think there's this confusion about the more visible I am somehow the more worth it I am or the more merit I have. And that's just not true. That just means there's more pictures of you online. There's more of a kind of trace of your sort of online journey, but it's definitely something I struggle with the sort of relentlessness of social media and a news via social media. I mean, it feels like I'm surfing this sort of information wave but I'm just on the surface and it's very hard to go deep. And I think that's something I have We'd like to try and harness a little more is to stay more deeply in my thoughts and my connections and physical connections with people and exist further away from that online place. Yeah, no, I hear you. I find it really confusing too. Because, like I said earlier, I think I'm a little bit too adaptive to things. So I'll go online, and I'll, you know, and because I am artistic, and I like to draw and I follow these illustrators and things and, or I might, I could see anything, and I'll just think, Oh, well, I should do that. Maybe I should be doing that. And I should do an illustration and posting it. You know, it's like, what I'm making up all these tasks for myself that just don't need to be in my handbag,

Lisa Hopkins:

you know, I really like to sort of delineate the big difference between should and could, right. I, I always define should as could with shame. So when I heard you say that, when I heard you, I heard you first say that. I saw some art, and I really liked it. Energetically, you looked like, I'm a good artist! Like it was very positive. It wasn't like, oh, I should do that. Because I can do that. What I heard from you what, and maybe I'm wrong, but what I was hearing was, oh, I can do that, too. That might be fun. I mean, I actually had an element of fun. But then I heard this sort of sensible you go, what am I thinking? If I do that, then I won't be able to do this, which is where I'm trying to focus there it's almost a paralysis by analysis at the end of the day, isn't it?

Anna Tierney:

Definitely. I mean, there's just so many options. But the thing is, there are so many options, you just don't have to share them all online. You know, you can you can do all that you actually can do all those things for fun, you know, and not make a living out of them. Like, we don't live in the age where, you know, Jefferson knew, like all those people, I had a million different jobs and, and qualifications that they were, they were architects and philosophers and politicians, and they kind of did everything. And I think it is good to do many different things. But you just don't have to worry about sharing all of it online.

Lisa Hopkins:

Yeah, you don't have to be reporting it.

Anna Tierney:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I think another thing about slowing down during the pandemic, too, was, I think, before I was very concerned or consumed with thinking or what makes the most sense as an actor, what should I do to kind of further you know, where I'm going with things instead of thinking about what do I actually want to do? And what do I enjoy that like, Should versus could thing that you said that you were just talking about? And I think that's so true, and only just, in recent months been actually realizing what I genuinely enjoy? And just taking the pedal off doing things for the sake of thinking I should do them for my career, or, you know, whatever it is. And that feels really, really wonderful.

Lisa Hopkins:

I love that. Yeah, it's the slowing down to speed

Anna Tierney:

Yeah, yeah. Well, there's a good boat term, up. actually, when we were when we first had the narrow boat, where this much more experienced boater told us this boat term, which is slow is smooth and smooth is fast. So the slower you go, the easier it is to pull into, you know, a lock and you're less likely to capsize your boat or whatever. And, and you'll get along quicker in the end. Yeah, yeah, always remember that?

Lisa Hopkins:

Yeah. Oh, I love that. So what's your definition of living in the moment?

Anna Tierney:

I think this year, I've been thinking a lot more about surrendering to the moment and not controlling the moment so much. I think I didn't realize it, but I was a bit of a controller.

Lisa Hopkins:

But how did you discover how did you discover that, that you were a controller?

Anna Tierney:

going back home for Christmas? And you know, when you get into that family dynamic, and everyone's sort of jumping on each other's toes and your own personalities sort of amped up I think when you're with family, and then I just realized that when I took my foot off the pedal and was just trying less to control like what my mom or my sister were doing, things run smoother, and I was like, oh, maybe I'm the problem. Maybe they're not the you know, you always think God my family's so, so hard to deal with. But you know, maybe maybe it's you I think most of the time, everyone can just let go a bit more on things, things definitely run smoother. So I've been trying to kind of implement that a little bit more.

Lisa Hopkins:

I love that. What about in your regular day life? Is living in the moment important to you? Is that something that? What does that look like for you? Is that even something that you're interested in?

Anna Tierney:

Yeah. I mean, what is that? Like? There's living in the moment. And then in my head, I'm like, okay, but then there's living in the moment successfully, like, how do I do that? Have the optimum level? And I think, I don't know, as actors. There's, there's a lot of time where you're like, am I using my time? optimally? What is what does that mean? I was actually listening to one of your other podcast guests with Rodney Hicks. And he, he said something about when he wakes up in the morning, and he says to words, he says, Thank you. And there's part of me, that sort of, can sometimes cringe at like, you know, gratefulness. And even though I do do a lot of those, like gratitude things and, and I thought, Okay, sure. But then I woke up this morning. And I was kind of feeling like all those usual aches and pains, and you're like, Oh, the day? And then I was like, thank you. I just thought those two words popped into my head that he'd said, and I did instantly feel better. I was like, Yeah, I, I am grateful. Why wouldn't I be grateful for this life? And it's something about, there's like a little bit of forward energy, like, how do you generate, like a happy forward energy for yourself. And those little moments of gratitude, I think, just give yourself a little bit of dynamism in the morning that you need, I think. And the other day, for example, I got it with like, physical activity. So there was a ton of snow here in Toronto, and I was shoveling away for a good hour, and I was sweating. And I felt amazing. Afterwards, like, I felt so good in my body. I, you know, I felt useful, and I was ready to like, dive into work. I thought that's really interesting. How do you create that kind of physical, emotional, high? You know, at the beginning of your day, it's not always the easiest thing to do, how to live in the moment, when you first wake up, and you're sort of not sure what's gonna happen. And, and how do you keep that going throughout the day? You know? Yeah, it's tricky. I think I think there's a million different ways of doing it isn't, isn't there? I don't think there's a one way of living in the moment.

Lisa Hopkins:

Well, well, it's funny, because from my point of view, every moment is a moment. And we do live in every moment. We're just not aware of it. So the distinction for me is that, you know, those moments like when you were shoveling the snow, you weren't thinking, I've got to shovel the snow so that I can get back to work. You were shoveling the snow, the snow was always there. It's the attitude to what you're doing right, the awareness around what you're doing without attachment. So if you make the in the moment, conditional to all live in the moment, if it'll make me feel better, or get through the day, like, just as you said, with the gratitude thing, right? Like it's like, yeah, gratitude, and then you might all right, whatever skeptically. Thank you. And then you're like, oh, but it's interesting, right?

Anna Tierney:

Yeah. No, just hear you talk about that. Like, yes, shoveling snow is actually there's certain activities that where you're just focused on the task to I mean, those ones you really are sort of, never thought I'd say I'm living in the moment when I'm shoveling snow. But like, but you but you're very much in the moment. And I would say I'd experienced that. Playing roller derby because it's such an intense physical sport. The only thing that you can focus on is well being safe on skates, but like doing that intense physical action in the moment, and just focusing on that task, it does feel amazing to do those things. And I just recently started pottery and tap dancing as well. Yeah, that's a lot of hobbies. But yeah, you really have to be in the moment. And I don't know if it's like a meditative thing or not, or whether it's just nice to shut your brain up sometimes, isn't it? I think it's important to turn it off.

Lisa Hopkins:

No, absolutely. I saw something I know you're not a big social media gal. But nevertheless, I did see something and I'm not sure if you wrote it or not. I think you might have on your Instagram. Can I share it you said "I am fancy. I am fleeting. I am edges gently meeting"

Anna Tierney:

I did write that. Yeah. It's, I'm glad that stood out. I mean, when you, you know, when you write something in your bio on Instagram, you think, God, what? hope people don't take this seriously. But I put that up there I was. I love to write, and I and I love to write poetry. And I was just thinking the other day, because I've been thinking a lot about identity and gender and how we kind of define ourselves. And it's something I've been thinking a lot about recently. And I was thinking, like, what are all the different ways that I can describe myself that don't really categorize into boxes and things like that? And I guess I was thinking about all the different sides of myself. And a way of describing myself but wasn't just I don't know putting myself in a box, I guess. But then I also thought, well, I am fancy I am fleeting. I'm edges gently me thing. Almost edges gently meeting like, this could almost describe the way in Instagram grid looks like as well. That's terrific. If Instagram wanted to, like describe itself in poem form. I am edges gently meeting like the squares. And when it is I was like, Oh, God, I hope no one thinks that. Anyway. Yeah, it's just a bit of fun. I think with social media, I'm sort of really trying to figure out, how do I, how do I want to share myself with total strangers, you know, so I'm really thinking about how to use it in a way that's healthy and fun. But, yeah, it's a journey.

Lisa Hopkins:

Yeah. Well, I thank you and honor you for that, because I thought that was beautiful. What do you mean by images gently meaning?

Anna Tierney:

I suppose the hard and soft parts of yourself of your personality or of your physical being? And yeah, I was trying to think of all the different parts that could comprise me.

Lisa Hopkins:

It's cool. Sorry, I'm totally riffing off that. When I think about edges gently meeting there is that one the mascot is crazy question. If you were a Venn diagram,

Anna Tierney:

Oh, yeah.

Lisa Hopkins:

The two circles, you know?

Anna Tierney:

Yeah,

Lisa Hopkins:

yeah. What? What is the golden section there in the middle of you that is both of those sides. So not the two edges just meeting but rather, where's the crossover? Which I think is the is the beautiful, sort of blend of all of Anna.

Anna Tierney:

Yeah, I think I'm only very recently discovering what that middle part is, I think, you know, that we talked about earlier, I think for a long time, I thought I had to be a certain way. And like, I had curly hair, for example. And for the longest time for auditions, I blow dry my hair, straighten it, you know, think that I had to look a certain way in it. It's sort of these weird things that you do to sort of deny parts of yourself. So I think I'm trying to judge less. Okay, what's the middle of the Venn diagram? I think it's that peaceful place in the middle where you're not judging yourself. And you're not putting any pressure on yourself to perform a version of yourself or others. That's so of the middle, isn't it?

Lisa Hopkins:

Because when you talked about Oh, my God, I hope it doesn't look like an Instagram grid. When when I pulled up that the poem that you wrote, right, that's interesting, that fear right there that fear of I hope it's not, is really interesting. And then now when we're talking about the Venn, you're able to access, probably what that field would feel like, but it's conjuring up for me that currently even though you know, it's a place you can go to, it's not a place that you can come from, so it's really a safe place. Again, this is all conjecture. I don't know if this is true, but this is what's coming up from it. So imagine the Venn diagram with the outside circles as the wings of a butterfly and the crossover place as this as the core as the cocoon. Interestingly enough that that is where the cocoon begins. But the wings are what makes it fly, right?

Anna Tierney:

No, and actually, the sort of winged image does resonate that kind of Angel winged figure is probably like one of those archetypal figures is one of those kind of protective figures, but they're also quite worldly wise, aren't they? They've, they've lived for centuries, and they know how to live in the middle. And also, like you said, those winged parts of yourself, the other parts that you use to sort of be in the world, they they're not bad parts, they're just other parts. And when you can see them for the whole for what they are, they can be kind of magical. You know, that's really interesting that you see it like a butterfly, because that's an image that's definitely for me,

Lisa Hopkins:

yeah. And I mean, I see you as the butterfly. It's interesting, because when you talk about the angel we think about, it sounded even, like even when you were saying it, maybe I heard you wrong, but there's a tendency to think of the angel is something that maybe comes to us that we relate to, whereas what I'm proposing is that you are the butterfly, and that you can use your cocoon to keep yourself safe or to visit when you want to retreat, or you can recognize it from that cocoon is where your wings grow, and that when you fly, you take all of you with you.

Anna Tierney:

Absolutely. And that requires a certain amount of self awareness and surrender at the same and I guess living in the moment, you know, but yeah, how to sort of hold yourself energetically. With all those parts. It does require, it requires a certain amount of thought and consideration. This is why I think social media and online stuff is just such a distraction from being energetically in yourself, really, in the day to day. Yeah, yeah.

Lisa Hopkins:

No, absolutely. If you were to call me five years from now, and you were to say to me, Lisa, since we spoke, my whole life has transformed. What would you be telling me?

Anna Tierney:

Well, I had thought about this recently.

Lisa Hopkins:

You know what, I'm gonna start I'm gonna stop you for one second.

Anna Tierney:

Yeah,

Lisa Hopkins:

embody it, and tell me.... an acting exercise. So so so "Hey, Lisa, I haven't spoken to an however long. Oh, my God, my life has changed. This is what's happening and tell me in real time.

Anna Tierney:

Okay. I've had an amazing five years. It's been busy, but also, there have been so many brilliant life moments where I've been able to explore the world and take some holidays. And I've been working on some projects that have been very dear to me for a long time. And we made them and I've worked with some really incredible creative teams in a way that I didn't think would be possible. And here we are, they've won some awards you know, there's been the Oscars. Yeah, I think I've yeah, I've I've achieved some personal project goals. These last five years that have been very satisfying. And you know, flexed my muscles and in ways that I didn't foresee.

Lisa Hopkins:

that was beautiful. What did you notice?

Anna Tierney:

What did I notice? It's really fun to think about things in that way. Yeah.

Lisa Hopkins:

You completely lit up until you got to the Oscar thing. And then Brain came in.

Anna Tierney:

Oh, yeah.

Lisa Hopkins:

said Oh, no, no, no. Big

Anna Tierney:

Well, I just don't know if it's gonna happen in the next five years. I think that will be 10

Lisa Hopkins:

If we don't believe in the possibility that it could happen then it probably won't.

Anna Tierney:

That's very true. That's very true. You're living how we shoot ourselves down yeah,

Lisa Hopkins:

like like living into your limitation you know, literally I mean it's it's living a default futures what I call it instead of created life. Let's say you have all the material things that you ever needed all the creature comforts all of that. And then I come to you and say you could have anything you want that money can't buy what would you want?

Anna Tierney:

Why are these questions so hard?! Connection, just connection with people, I think. Yeah, I think that's the thing I crave the most now and then I definitely don't want to decrease with time.

Lisa Hopkins:

Yeah. Brilliant. That's brilliant. Because you were pretty as hard as it felt you were pretty, pretty quick to, to draw out one of your biggest values, which is connection.

Anna Tierney:

Definitely,

Lisa Hopkins:

Anna, how do you want to be remembered?

Anna Tierney:

With love and fondness?

Lisa Hopkins:

What's something that you don't want people to know about you?

Anna Tierney:

That's a funny one, isn't it? I think often I don't want it don't want people to know how playful I am. I think sometimes I sort of, I get the impression that in the industry, that it's a weakness to show too many sides of yourself, you know, but actually, I think it's probably the thing that I want to lean into the most is being being playful and being silly, especially with with other actors and other creative people. But there's a sort of, yeah, I think you can often think why should better present my my best again, it's this thing of presenting your best self, which it just doesn't exist as it you know, that's, that's some kind of sleek version of yourself that's really put together. But actually, the, the interesting part is, is the sort of unpolished. I don't want people to see my unpolished. So God, I'm a perfectionist. This is terrible. I'm finding all these terrible things.

Lisa Hopkins:

Yeah, so often, our strengths are hidden in our weaknesses, and vice versa.

Anna Tierney:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Lisa Hopkins:

So there's a cornucopia of possibilities that are untapped...

Anna Tierney:

That's so true. I think I think, yes, the things we want to hide our strengths, if we can own them, and not, you know, self deprecate while we do those things, because then I think that's where probably other people's doubt creeps in about you. She seems so playful, but why is she so unsure about herself? Yeah, I think that's so true. And that's why often, you know, when a self tape or set or an audition is bland, because you're trying not to show those little sides of yourself that actually make a character more interesting. And I think when I was at drama school, you know, we were our school was big on transformative acting, and we did, I mean, anyway, I won't go into detail. But that was kind of like the epitome for me being something very different. And thinking that I couldn't, couldn't put any of myself in it. But that was misguided. And I wasn't necessarily being taught that. But I was telling myself that, that I can't use all of those things that I can access really easily, even if they're right for the character. And now I know it's like, oh, no, it definitely use that first if you can, because you're it's just so much more easily accessible. Yeah.

Lisa Hopkins:

Yeah. Let's do the rapid fire. I'm gonna say what makes you and then I'll say a word and then you say what comes to mind? All right. Okay. Cool. What makes you hungry?

Anna Tierney:

Pasta pizza, Chinese food, Thai food, I'll eat , anything. Food makes me hungry.

Lisa Hopkins:

What makes you sad?

Anna Tierney:

Oh, loneliness. Yeah.

Lisa Hopkins:

What inspires you?

Anna Tierney:

A good book, nature? I think stand up comedians are pretty inspiring new parents, but I've seen it. I've had a lot of friends who have children. I think that's pretty inspiring.

Lisa Hopkins:

What frustrates you?

Anna Tierney:

When friends disappoint you, that can be frustrating.

Lisa Hopkins:

What makes you laugh?

Anna Tierney:

One of the things that really makes me laugh is a podcast called three girls one Keith, it's Amy Schumer's podcast, it is my comfort place. listening to other people laugh is really enjoyable.

Lisa Hopkins:

And finally, what makes you grateful?

Anna Tierney:

I think I feel most grateful with family and friends. Again, it just comes back to connection. I think that's when I feel most blissed out is is when I'm with really good company. Who I can be myself around.

Lisa Hopkins:

Yeah, no, fair enough. What are the top three things that have happened so far today?

Anna Tierney:

Wow, okay, I had a lovely phone call with a friend of mine in the UK to that was nice. And I had a walk when I did that. And I was working on a self tape this morning. And because it's not in my natural accent, there's a lot of repetition and going through sound. So I was doing a lot of lot of that this morning. And I talked to my mom,

Lisa Hopkins:

what is something that you're looking forward to?

Anna Tierney:

I'm looking forward to warmer weather, although I very much enjoy the cold but the winters in Toronto are longer than I'm used to. More time physically spent with friends and family and more physical activity.

Lisa Hopkins:

Yeah, yeah. Roller skating. Right?

Anna Tierney:

Exactly. I'm ready to ready to get my skates on.

Lisa Hopkins:

And I thank you so much for joining me today. It's been such fun.

Anna Tierney:

My pleasure. Thank you so much for having me. It's been really lovely.

Lisa Hopkins:

I've been speaking today with an attorney. Thanks for listening. Stay safe and healthy everyone and remember to live in the moment. In music, stop time is that beautiful moment where the band is suspended and rhythmic unison, supporting the soloist to express their individuality. In the moment, I encourage you to take that time and create your own rhythm. Until next time, I'm Lisa Hopkins. Thanks for listening