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Young actress Scherrikar Bell tells her story

30 November 2017

Young actress Scherrikar Bell tells her story from film-fan to acting work via teaching and cheerleading.

I have been obsessed with movies since childhood. I would almost every night watch films before going to sleep and re-enact scenes with my sister and cousin over the weekend. I loved the film Rush Hour, so without realising it, I guess I was acting from a young age. I never really knew what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew I enjoyed creating and helping people. Acting seemed so far away from me. I assumed I was too old and untrained to even attempt it. And so, I opted to study English Literature and Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at Roehampton University, in the hope that I may become a Drama Teacher in a secondary school. In the second year of Uni I attended a random open call casting for an Off-West End production of Oh What a Lovely War. I just went for laughs and to experience what an audition is like. I ended up landing a part.

So here I was at my first acting gig in a musical. I felt on top of the world and truly fell in love with acting. I was then cast in a supporting role in feature film Le Fear II, where I played a comedic role. I thought this acting game is easy. I'm on my way up. But little did I know what lay ahead.

I was attending more and more auditions assuming I was going to be cast in most of the roles, but I just kept falling flat on my face. I needed some training, some serious training. I did not have the time or money to go to a full-time Drama School, so I joined a part-time acting course with The Young Person's Theatre Company. This was awesome, I was learning and perfecting my craft and networking with like minded people. I went back on casting websites including mandy.com and began auditioning again. Now I was landing roles in short films. From these I was signed to my first agent.

I edited the footage from the films I was in and created a show-reel. I sent my headshots, show-reel and CV to various agents and uploaded it on to my Mandy.com profile. At this point I had just finished my degree at university.

I’ve worked on Eastenders, Doctors, Absolutely Fabulous, Bridget Jones' Baby and the latest HSBC Android and Pay commercial.

Eastenders was my first TV credit and a dream come true. I had one episode with Billy Mitchell on the live episode as the Torch Bearer in front of 20 million people. Doctors was fun to work on because they shoot their scenes at such a fast pace. Sometimes you literally have 2 takes to nail your scene. Absolutely Fabulous was dreamy because I was in a scene with Graham Norton and Joanna Lumley where I played a clumsy eager to please Secretary.

Bridget Jones's Baby was a pinch me moment, filming a scene with Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey and Renee Zellweger was just too cool. I had a small comedic role in this movie too. The HSBC commercial I am currently in has had over 3 million views which is great exposure.

I’ve also joined a cheerleading team and performed on Britain’s Got Talent, various competitions and performed for two seasons with the London Lions basketball team at the Olympic Copper Box Arena. All of this was achieved in 5 years.

Between acting I work as a supply teacher in schools all over London and Surrey. I ‘m able to take time off work at short notice, which is super flexible for last minute auditions. However, I would sometimes go for months without landing acting work. In 2016 I decided that my part time job had to be more enjoyable. I set-up cheerleading classes as an after-school club activity for primary schools. I pitched my idea to a few Headteachers and they loved it. I went through all the legalities and marketing and before I knew it I had 6 schools and was teaching 112 students. This was a great moment for me. I proved to myself that I can achieve anything I want as long as I put in the work.

by Scherrikar Bell.