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I Realised I Would Never Be an Actor – Now I’m a Big Advocate of Giving up on Dreams

By Imogen West-Knights

23 Aug 2022 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

In this personal piece, the author describes why sometimes quitting may be the best option and she argues it is an essential life lesson in and of itself.

When I was eight, I won a competition for reading out loud. The passage I chose was from The Dare Game, the second Tracy Beaker book. I remember standing in front of my whole school, the purple book in my hands, pigtails bobbing in my peripheral vision. When I was done and I sat down, my body ringing with the applause, my dream was born. Clearly, I was destined for stardom on the stage.

I nursed this dream for another 14 years. I acted in school plays. I was, for my sins, a prolific sketch comedian at university. I performed in the upstairs rooms of pubs and in student theatres all over the country. I remember being backstage in Durham and wondering whether I had time to throw up from nerves in a bucket I’d spotted in the wings, still thinking: this is the life. I am sorry to say that there are, somewhere, a handful of short films that I starred in during my early 20s: kissing people and crying and, God help me, pretending to smoke a joint.

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