It’s a beautiful hot and sunny day in Antigua (oh wait, it’s always beautiful hot and sunny in Antigua!) And today I get to sit down on the balcony and feel the cool breeze at the home of my young friend, the multi-talented Miss Vega Armstrong, to chat and find out about this rising talent.
Judd: Hi Miss V how are you?
VA: I’m good how are you?
Judd: Good! Ok I just need to let the readers know that at the point of this interview she has just turned 15yrs- so she’s really old folks!!
Judd: So how does it feel to be fifteen?
VA: So far it doesn’t feel too different…I guess another year to becoming an adult and leaving the house, so it’s kinda nerve racking in a way because you know you are gonna have to leave everything behind in a way…but it’s also exciting
Judd: Do you think you look fifteen? How old do you think you could play?
VA: It depends, because they cast a lot of people who are older to play like 15 year olds, I mean people that are based around me I look like a 15yrs, but I think I would be selected to play someone at least a year younger
Judd: You’re an actress, dancer, singer, musician, author, artist and a lover of books. When did it all start?
VA: It kinda developed around the atmosphere where I grew up. My parents read to me when I was tiny, and then my dad would read picture books and he would make up stories and get me involved with that, so that sparked the interest in reading and creating stories and writing, and then my Mom would be doing her art and that would interest me. And then as I go older I started doing dance because I did bally as a little girl.
Judd: It sounds like your parents really encourage you and supported you, because have some young people who have parents who don't encourage them to do the arts becuase they don't see it as a serious career
VA: Yeah definitely! If I wanted to try something new- like if I wanted to pick up a guitar and try it, they’d say “Go for it” you know? They wanted me to try something that I was passionate about to see if there was any further interest or if it was just a hobby?
Judd: How do you focus? Because dance demands a great deal of discipline, writing demands does, acting does…how do you prioritize?
VA: Well It’s kind of hard in a way because you have to think, when do I get to practice acting specifically or when do I get to write or when do I get to paint and things like that? I find for me, when I took singing, guitar and piano and when I had a break I would practice my dance. And when it came to writing and painting, whenever I would get a great idea for one of them, I’d work on that idea.
Judd: You have won writing awards for your short stories and poems from Wadadli Pen, where do you find inspiration for your characters and what is your preparation process? For me as a writer I would leave a piece of paper and a pen on the table for days until I felt as if the characters were calling me. August Wilson the African American playwright did a similar thing- so I know I’m not crazy.
VA: I put my mind to say “let’s come up with something”. So maybe I say to myself “I want the story to centre around the female character” and I sort of build-up on her personality and see if there are any stories that come to mind, sometimes an idea will pop into my mind. Or when I’m reading a book and the authors style inspires me, and then the idea almost jumps into your head.
Judd: Do you secretly observe people around you to form your fictional characters?
VA: In a way yes, you have to pay attention to the different characteristics of people with totally different personalities from yours.
Judd: Moving onto acting and dance, how do you prepare when you are about to go on stage?
VA: I kind of say to myself “Oh my gosh I’m going on stage!” and it kind of gets me hyped up and I get this nervous excitement like “Come on let’s get on stage already, let’s do this!!”. And I don’t do too much talking with other people, I just stay focused
Judd: Have you watched any plays or movies that you thought, “I could’ve played that character better”
VA: Oh yes…. I sort of think “Oh I wanna be like that” I had the pleasure to see a show in London called Wicked, and I remember thinking “Man I can see myself up on that stage” and not a specific character, I can just see myself there.
Judd: What would be your dream career?
VA: Definitely towards the arts. I think at this point I’m leaning towards singing and acting, but which ever one takes off first, I would pursue first. But I would want to try other things in the arts as well, and then branch off and do the other
Judd: In Antigua what do you think needs to be done to put more creative arts out there? And what can be done to encourage young persons who are not as passionate as you are to get involved?
VA: There is a lot of creativity here in Antigua, but you mainly hear people say you need to be a doctor or a lawyer or a conventional career, coz there is not many people in Antigua that have chosen a career in music and have taken off, like you have famous people in places like Jamaica where you have Bob Marley and in Barbados you have Rhianna. It’s been proven that people from those islands can do things, and I have seen the programmes that they have out there that can cater to train you up to a high standard like in Hollywood. They don’t really have that in Antigua so much. Once they start showing that you could have this as a career option instead of just something you can do after school, then I think it would really help to take off with the creativity here
Judd: Great advice Vega, I totally agree. Just before we go, here are a few quick fire questions
Judd: Favourite time of day?
VA: Sun Set
Judd: Acting or Singing?
Judd: Super Hero or Super Spy?
Judd: Comedy or Serious Drama
Judd: Hollywood or London
Judd: Ok, Hollywood you heard her. And thank you so much my lovely, remember to dream BIG. JB