Don't let anyone set your limitations and certainly don't set them for yourself. Sit down, work out what it is you like and make up a job/business from what you find. You have to like what you do or what's the point?
- Holly Matthews, Actress & Multiple Business Owner

You work as an actress as well as owning your own business and you’re very innovative about how you use social media to promote what you do whilst also being very ‘real’. You’ve created a strong personal brand and are seen as a role model. Can you tell us a bit more about the evolution of this?

I’ve always been a very open person and being an actress from Newcastle, this has helped to keep me grounded. Those working class roots definitely help to keep you ‘real’. When I first started out I was completely focused on being an actress, I would just concentrate on auditions and nothing else came into it. As I got older and certainly when I met my husband (he has his own business, he helped me to think about my ‘brand’ and what I was putting out in the world. We looked at how I could control my online presence. Social media has come on so much and it’s now so easy to reach those that want to support you. I think it’s very important to recognise that support too. I’m an extremely positive person and I often attract people (particularly young women) who want to learn how to be like that. I hope that I can help them to be, in any way.


In the times that you weren’t acting did you have any other jobs/careers?

I always said when I was starting out that alongside acting I would like to do as many diverse jobs as possible. I couldn’t do a 9-5 or anything too structured though as I’d always have to leave at a moments notice to go to auditions. I’ve done everything from typing up an autobiography and dressing up as a yoghurt pot to working in a museum and even in a strip club (although not as a stripper!) I’ve kept it diverse. I’m not afraid of work but my aim is to work as little as possible. I used to be very money driven but now I prefer to concentrate on the worth and value of what I’m doing, how can I stay close to my family and how can I work for myself. So in the last 4 years I have created my own work.


What inspired you to become an actress?

I wanted to be an actress since I was 6 or 7 and started professionally at 11. I don’t really know what made me want to do it. I’ve asked myself this question as an adult and really feel that I never wanted to be ‘famous’ (though I’m aware this is a consequence of what I do). I just love people and I love their stories and how their minds work. I find it fascinating to think about why we’re all doing what we’re doing and as an actress, I get to walk around in someone else’s shoes and understand them. Acting makes you have a greater understanding of the human mind and allows you to have empathy for those around you.

How do you manage building The Headshot Doctor alongside your full time career as an actress in addition of course, to being a mum?

It happened organically and neither Kayleigh (my business partner) nor I have ever put pressure on it. We have our own things going on and our joint skills and different areas of expertise work well together. Kayleigh is a fantastic photographer and I add the understanding of the industry. People often come to pick my brains too, which I don’t mind at all.


What’s been the biggest highlight?

My biggest career highlight, hmmm. I’m not sure it’s my biggest highlight as I hope this is yet to come! But I was really pleased with some of the scenes I did in a recent Casualty episode. This was a real personal journey.


What’s been the biggest challenge for you so far?

Well, my biggest challenge has come out of illness. Unfortunately my husband has been diagnosed with Grade 4 brain cancer. This has happened in the last 3 months and has been a great shock to our world. It will undoubtedly be our greatest challenge and we hope to have it within us to work it all out. It’s rubbish, it’s no ones fault, it’s life and we will cope. As a family, we are balanced and happy. We just have to take each day as it comes now. This has meant I’ve had to change my whole outlook once again though and many things are on hold.


What advice would you give to other women who dream of becoming an actress or starting their own business?

I would say to not let anyone set your limitations and certainly don’t set them for yourself. Sit down, work out what it is you like and make up a job/business from what you find. You have to like what you do or what’s the point? When it comes to business especially too, support others and they will in turn, support you. Be brave. Don’t get too excited by the highs or too down about the lows.


What’s next for you?

Well, it’s each day at a time at the moment. I’m working on my blog as a way to make sense of what is going on in my world right now and I’m also working on some longer-term projects. Acting is on hold for now but I will be back to this. Right now, my biggest role is to get my family through this situation unscathed and having learnt from the experience.


What’s your favourite quote?

I LOVE quotes. I can’t tell you just one so here are my favourite 3 -:

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

“If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got”

“Grasp the nettle”


Holly Matthews has a dynamic portfolio career combining work as a well know TV actress, blogger, actors headshot & health and wellness business owner. You can found out more about her over at her blog

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