Amy Manson

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Top by ELLERY.

Your next project Edie is about a kind of journey or pilgrimage up a mountain, what was the most crucial Point A to Point B of your life?
The transition from a small town in Scotland to the UK capital when I was 17 for a dream that only I believed in. My time at drama school was a period of self-discovery but I think it had an adverse effect and stripped me of a sense of self. It was one of the loneliest periods of my life, trying to conquer the city, study and hold down four part-time jobs just to get by. It was especially difficult being so far away from the support network of my family. But the gift of this period was I learnt how strong I could be in the face of adversity.

What’s the most elaborate or ‘best’ Halloween costume you’ve ever worn?
Last year I spent Halloween in NYC, parading the streets as the Queen of Hearts. The Americans take Halloween to a whole other level – the more flamboyant the better! Helena Bonham Carter did it much better though 😉

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Top by LEON MAX. Jacket & skirt by TOPSHOP UNIQUE.

What is a film or book that you initially disliked but now enjoy?
My innate skepticism put me off self-help books like The Power of Now, however it’s now a reference point when life gets too hectic and I need to remind myself to stop planning ahead and enjoy where I am presently.

You’ve recently appeared on Once Upon A Time, a television series depicting a modern world converging with that of fantasy and fairy tales. If you were to take the opposite approach, transposing a modern (true) story and making it a fairytale, what would you pick?
Middle Eastern refugees having an uninhabited well-resourced/ fertile island closer to home to inhabit, away from oppressive regimes, where they can live freely and without fear. Run by children, allowing everyone to regain their lost innocence.

If you could only retain the memory of one year from your past five, which year would you pick?
My memories from 2015 make me smile. It was year of achievement and hard graft, it gave me a great sense of fulfillment and made me realise why I’ve spent so many years honing my craft. Awards for a role and play that I never actually thought I’d be blessed to do and also working on my first American show stateside. It was a year of adventures.

What is something you would try if your safety was guaranteed?
Well I have thrown myself out of an airplane at 14,000 feet, so it would have to be something as mental and thrilling as that. The initial free fall must be the most exhilarating 60 seconds of my life, I couldn’t breathe. I’d have to say, safety guaranteed, climbing to the summit of Mount Everest. Especially as my Mum has climbed to Everest’s basecamp!

Who was the first person you worked with whom you had seen onscreen before?
I couldn’t believe my luck when I found out Danny Mays was my partner in crime in the BBC show Outcasts. I saw him give a stellar performance opposite Anna Friel in an episode of The Street written by Jimmy McGovern and I was blown away. He is still a friend now and I always go out of my way to catch him performing on stage.

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Jumpsuit by MAX MARA. Top by TOPSHOP UNIQUE.

What is a song that always makes you think of a particular time?
Eva Cassidy’s Fields of Gold reminds me of home and playing in my Dad’s fields when I was a little girl.

Name something that you find is underpriced and something that is overpriced.
I think it’s absolutely ludicrous the prices we have to pay for theatre and film tickets in London. It’s a day’s wages just to go to the theatre for a few hours. Theatre is a place to be inspired and to be entertained, but it’s become an elitist organisation for the wealthy, and I find that so heartbreaking. It was once accessible to the masses, I’d like to see it getting back to that one day. Human life is undervalued for sure, but that’s a whole other story.

If you were kidnapped and could pick a fictional character from a book or film to save you who would you pick?
If I was kidnapped, the only person I would allow to save me would have to be Noah Calhoun from The Notebook and there would be no question that it would have to be Ryan Gosling in person.

Would you rather be a mall Santa or a birthday party clown?
I hate being cooped up in spaces and I get bored of surroundings and doing the same thing day after day very quickly. Routine would be a killer for my mind set. So I’d have to pick the party clown because the majority of time would hopefully be spent outside entertaining in the fresh air – with the air in your lungs and the smell of grass.

Have you ever had a palpably sitcom-like or cinematic moment of your real life?
I fell in love with someone whilst filming in Thailand just before my 21st birthday. We stayed on the island Koh Phi Phi for my 21st. He picked wild flowers for me to wake up to, then had a speed boat waiting to take us deserted island hopping, having lunch on white sands, then watching the sunset. He told me he booked a massage and dinner on the party side of island. But then I found out he had a whole other evening planned. We stayed on the deserted side of the island and he had ‘Happy Birthday Amy’ written in the sand for me using candles to light up my name. He imported red snapper and champagne from the mainland and we had the most romantic night of my life.

Want more? Watch our behind-the-scenes film.

Amy Manson can be seen in Season 5 of ABC’s Once Upon A Time, on DVD August 16 (US).

As told to Paul Vaughan for TPJ
Creative Director & Photographer: Jessie Craig
Stylist: Harriet Byczok
Hair & Makeup: Kim Kiefer

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