Meet our MAY MUSE, Actress and Writer, Fuschia Kate Sumner! This adventurous London transplant dishes about her acting career and all that it entails, her love for rescuing animals, as well as her everyday mantra and how it came to be. #CHECKIT #hautestreet #theMUSEdiaries
HAUTE STREET: Tell us a little bit about Fuschia Kate Sumner.
FUSCHIA KATE SUMNER: Here's the whistle stop tour of my life so far.... I grew up in North West London. Went to school in London until I was 16, then went to boarding school in Dorset for 2 years. Took a GAP year, went traveling around the world and ended in New York to take a intensive summer class at NYU in acting for film. Went to University in Bristol, acted in lots of plays, started auditioning. I have a degree in Drama and English Literature. After graduating I lived in London for 2 years, acting, auditioning and working at a film distribution company. I now live between London and LA. I am an actress. My first acting job was at age 11 in a play and a radio play called "Echoes in the Park". Boom, there it is, in a very small nutshell. :)
I have an amazing family! Three brothers and two sisters, I love them all so much and it makes me so happy when all six of us are together.
HS: How would you explain your upbringing and how has that shaped who you are today?
FKS: At home with my mum was a very loving, free, liberal and creative environment. When visiting my dad I had to behave a bit more and curb my wild ways. This taught me early on how to read the mood of a room and adjust accordingly. This can be a good quality as it means I am able to fit in in most situations but the downside is that sometimes I have a hard time being my true self because I'm afraid to rock the boat (disturb the energy in the room). As an actress, playing a character, when you walk on stage, the character must change the energy in the room. So this is something I am constantly struggling to overcome for both myself and for my profession.
HS: What is your current state-of-mind?
FKS: Creative and fearless in a way I haven't felt since I was 19, except now I have some wisdom and experience under my belt. I'm excited about my life right now.
HS: Your idea of happiness?
FKS: Anytime I am fully and truly content and present in a moment is when I feel happy. Being in nature, hiking with my dog, swimming in the ocean, spending time with family and friends, listening to live music, eating delicious food, traveling, visiting a new place, adventures, a great day at work. Fulfilling experiences are what make me happy.
One of my favorite quotes is, "There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way" - Buddah
HS: Is there an influential woman in your life that inspires you? Who and why?
FKS: My mum, Frances Tomelty, firstly because she is the most incredible mother and I feel so lucky to have her guidance, love and support. Secondly because she is a phenomenal woman, friend and actress.
My mum has taught me how to be strong and independent but to also remain sensitive and aware to myself and others. Someone once said "to be an actor you must have the skin of a rhino and the soul of a rose". I'm working on making my skin a little thicker, I'm far too sensitive for my own good sometimes.
HS: When did you decide that you wanted to be an actress?
FKS: I've always wanted to be an actress, I never thought I'd do anything else. My mum is an actress, I grew up watching her in the theatre in the West End in London. She was also in the Royal Shakespeare Company so we would go and live in Stratford Upon Avon for months at a time whilst she was in productions. I have such fond memories from the house we lived in there. She would take me with her a lot of nights and I would hang out in her dressing room, on the side of the stage and I knew very early on that that was what I wanted to do too. Acting is also very much in my DNA, my Grandfather Joseph Tomelty was an actor and writer, he has a street named after him in the seaside town where he grew up in Ireland. Basically everyone on my mums side of the family are actors and writers, it's who we are. As my cousin Ruth (also an actress) recently said "It's in our bone marrow".
HS: What role has been your favorite to date?
FKS: I just worked on a short film called "146 BPM", I play a modern dancer that is faced with some tough decisions. It was a really challenging but very satisfying role to play. I feel that plenty more juicier roles are still to come for me. I can't wait for when they do.
HS: Is there a special way that you prepare for an audition or role?
FKS: Script analysis! I study every word, punctuation and stage direction that the writer has given. I then flesh out my characters entire lives and personal history, work on their physicality, how they walk, how they talk. I am there to tell that characters story, it is really nothing to do with me, so it's fun and exciting to build an entire life for each character and really feel what it's like to be in their world.
HS: What does a typical day for you look like?
FKS: Every day is different. Breakfast is my favorite meal so I always start the day with either a delicious smoothie or greek yoghurt with honey and berries and ALWAYS a cup of English breakfast tea. Unless I'm feeling extra healthy in which case I'll have hot water and lemon.
Exercise is always a part of my day, spinning, hiking, yoga, pilates, running, whatever I feel like and have time for that day. If I'm not working on a project, it's all about auditions and voice over auditions. The rest of the time I spend working on my own writing and other creative projects. When working on my own stuff at home I always carve out time to make a good lunch, normally a spinach, goats cheese and turkey salad or some form of eggs. I'm useless if I'm hungry so I make sure to keep the fridge well stocked with healthy food. If I don't have any fun evening plans, I love to cook dinner at home and either write or watch TV if Im feeling lazy.
HS: One of our favorite questions to ask… What is the best advice someone has given to you that has kept you going & growing?
FKS: When all your confidence is gone and you feel you having nothing left, you have to dig down into the deepest part of yourself and find the strength to keep going. On the flip side of that, it's also good to know when it's time to let something go.
HS: Tell us something that no one really knows about you.
FKS: I'm extremely silly, very very silly.
My close friends know this about me but I tend to disguise it when I'm around people I don't know too well. Wouldn't want to freak them out and scare them off. Toilet humor is and always will be funny. I tend not to get on with people who don't share this opinion :)
Also, I play classical piano, have done since I was 5 years old.
HS: What advice would you give someone who is just getting started in acting?
FKS: Educate yourself by reading and going to see great plays, watch movies, good ones. Study with a teacher that challenges you. Take voice lessons and Alexander Technique. Really work on your tool. My acting teacher Larry Moss always says, an athlete trains everyday, a musician practices their instrument everyday, actors should work on their tool everyday.
HS: Can you share a significant moment that has changed you?
FKS: This might sound cheesy but... I got really into surfing a few years ago, it's amazing! One of the hardest parts about it though is when you wipe out and the wave takes you on a roller coaster ride under water, it's pretty scary, you don't know which way is up or down. You finally come up for air and then another wave crashes right on top of you and it all happens again. I had an epiphany during one of these moments. I said to myself, 'this will be over soon, I just have to get through it.' I now apply that mantra to anything challenging in my life. I just have to allow myself to feel whatever it is Im feeling, even if its difficult and painful and just know that I will get through it eventually, I will come up for air and I will be ok.
HS: You backpacked through India when you were 18 years old. Can you share a little bit about that experience?
FKS: India is just bursting with culture and beauty! It is a HUGE country, I spent 3 months there on my Gap year but I could have stayed longer as there was still so much to see. Each part of the country is so unique that you really experience a totally different environment in each and every place. The greatest part about spending such a long period of time somewhere was that I had none of the anxiety that we all have in our normal lives, all I had to think about was what I wanted to see or do that day and where should we travel to next. It was all about just taking it in and experiencing India. It was an experience that will stay with me forever. Though I have always been a very independent person, I'm really very grateful to my school, Bryanston, who took 30 of us to Nepal when we were 17 to hike the Anna Purna Trail in the Himalayas for 3 weeks. We also spent time in Kathamandu with an orphanage that the school sponsored. This trip gave all of us the confidence to continue to visit 3rd world countries and not be afraid to do so. Travel is truly the greatest education, a Gap year is highly encouraged in the UK and I think it's an amazing thing that everyone should do. When I returned from my travels I was so ready and excited to start University and I could really see a maturity in people that had taken a gap year that wasn't there for those that didn't. I hope the US starts to embrace this idea and I think it provides room for so much growth!
HS: How would you describe your personal style?
FKS: I mostly like to be comfortable and cool, never too "done". Daytime I dress very practically, comfort is key. Evenings are a different story, I love to get dressed up, heels, lipstick, all of it but always with an element of cool.
HS: Your “Go-To” item in your closet?
FKS: My red Chloe Sally bag, it goes with everything.
HS: Who’s your MUSE of the moment?
FKS: Solange, she's just so cool.
HS: What are your top 5 all-time favorites books & What are you currently reading?
Currently reading... "The Metamorphisis" by Franz Kafka
"The Honeymoon Effect" - Bruce Lipton
"Middlesex" - Jeffrey Eugenides
"The Magus" - John Fowles
"Bright Shiny Morning" - James Frey
"Pride & Prejudice" - Jane Austen
HS: How did you rescue your dog, Baci?
FKS: I had been wanting a dog for a while. I grew up in a house with 3 dogs, 4 cats, rats, fish and a tarantula, it's safe to say that I love animals!
I had seen a sign on Runyan Canyon for a dog that needed a home, I called, that dog had already been homed but the lady took my number and said she would call me if any dogs came in. Two weeks later I got a phone call, a dog she had placed needed a new home, a man had had her for two months and complained that she was destructive, he was also refusing to pay the adoption fee. She asked if I would be interested in fostering, I said yes! Baci arrived that evening and that was it. Three months later I officially adopted her and now she has been with me for over 5 years. Lucky me.
HS: Tell us about your passion project and why you chose this cause?
FKS: I am a sucker for a lost dog. I've picked up several off the streets, brought them back to health and found good homes for them. I'm all about rescuing, if someone mentions that they got their dog from a pet store or a breeder, I go very quiet. If a friend is thinking about getting a dog I make them promise that they will rescue.
Living with my pit/lab Baci has made me acutely aware of peoples negative perceptions of pitbulls. They are extremely loving, loyal and intelligent dogs but they are also incredibly strong, so owners need to be responsible and understand how to handle them. The bad cases are often due to irresponsible owners that have encouraged aggression in their dogs. I want to help educate people on this so that this beautiful breed isn't so misunderstood.
HS: Other upcoming projects & involvements Haute Street viewers can look forward to seeing?
FKS: I've got a some exciting projects up my sleeve but I don't like to talk about things until they've actually come to fruition. You'll just have to wait and see!
HS: Your favorite place you’ve ever traveled to and why?
FKS: I visited Iceland last year with my family which was SO cool!! I felt like we were on the moon, seriously, it feels like a different planet. It's incredible!
HS: To somebody who has not ever been to this place what would you recommend they do while visiting?
FKS: Go see the black sand beach, the waterfalls, the geisers, climb through a lava cave and an ice cave, hot springs, see the northern lights. It goes on and on. The food is a little salty for my taste but I was satiated by all the amazing things to look at. :)
HS: Next place you want to travel to & why?
FKS: Peru and Chile. I've always wanted to go.
HS: 3 of your all time favorite movies?
FKS: Ferris Buellers Day Off
The Godfather (all of them)
HS: Top 3 Instagram’s that you are following and why?
FKS: @TheFatJewish - he's hilarious and incredibly inappropriate. (Easily offended people should NOT look at his profile, I warned you!)
@MICHELGAUBERT - his posts are always totally random and always make me smile.
@ERICBUTERBAUGH - Flowers and funny quotes, two of my favorite things.
HS: Each month we ask what you would like to ask the next month's MUSE. April’s MUSE, Blanda, asked: “If you could give your 15 year old self a piece of advice, what would it be?”
FKS: Always be yourself! Believe in yourself, your choices and your ideas, they are valid!
HS: What should we ask the next Muse?
FKS: If you could spend 24 hours in someone else's shoes, who would it be?
(Mine would be Beyonce, in case you were wondering.)