Feature: Kate Hollowood



A future prospect to watch very closely.

Words by Sam Liddicott. 16 November, 2013, 09:00 G.M.T.


As the year nears its end, I focus on an actor whom has her sights firmly set.  I look back on a diverse and important year; signalling what is to come in 2014.


I can remember clearly the first my first encounter with Kate, and the word that stuck out:

'Force'.  It seems a perfect word to sum up the essence of Kate Hollowood.  An actor whom is a meteorological whirlwind of focus and foresight.  In all the time I have known her, she has never quit on her goals- nor will she ever, I hope...

  That word (force) came to my attention via her blog post called Music: Its Power' (http://mylittleponderings.com/2011/01/15/thepowerofmusic/).  That blog post was posted back on 15th January, 2011 (It was seventeen days after that blog entry was posted, that I found Kate).  Within the post, Kate talked of her passion for music; how she daydreams to it; how it soundtracks her life, and how- certainly at the time- it gave her some (much-needed) hope.  It was a particular phrase that struck me:  "Music has always been a passion but in the past two years, it has become more a way of life".  For me- at the time, and more so now- music is very much a "way of life".  Not in the sense that it is my steady job: more that it fills my mind completely.  For me, it is something that dominates my passions and desire; and- like Kate said- it is a passion that is hard to live without.  It may seem like a digression (given the fact that Kate is an actor); yet sums up this feature perfectly.  Before I'd even found out anything more of Kate- her interests, job, favourite song, what she sounded like- I was already hooked.  It was that one blog post that compelled me to go after her; to mail her and say how much it meant to me.  The post showed so much openness and honesty; so much genuine passion as well as a vulnerability as well.  It acted at once as a perfect metaphor for Kate as a person; and as an actor: there is modest present as well.  On 1st February, 2011, I mailed Kate (via Facebook), telling  her how struck I was by her words, and- given what I had read in her previous blog posts- how impressed I was by her fortitude, bravery and focus.  I had never done this with anyone else: never felt so bound to pay tribute and kudos in such a way- it was a moment that changed my life...

   It has been thirty-three and a half months since I sent that email.  Kate and I have been in communication ever since, and to this day have not met face-to-face; but do you know what: it is not something I would ever rush (to resolve).  From such a serendipitous initial encounter I have found so many common threads; so much shared familiarity with her, that has meant that I want the friendship to last for as long as possible: it has meant that much.  The reason for this feature was not to say "look how great my friend is; isn't she great etc...".  She is (of course); but my intentions are two-fold: to demonstratively show what a talent we have in her; as well as leave you with an indelible and crucial coda (which will arrive at the very end).  Through various different stages of my life- mainly through studying in Cambridge- I have had the pleasure to see a fair few actors )who have gone on to appear in Downtown Abbey and The Inbetweeners amongst other things) blossom.  I remember watching them eagerly, thinking about where they would be years in the future, unsure of what path their careers would take.  In retrospect, it is hardly surprising that they made it big and are having such an illustrious time.  When I watch Kate's performances (and look back at the experiences she has been through), I am in no mind that similarly brilliant opportunities are awaiting.  The industry (acting) is phenomenally tough to crack (and flourish in), yet windows open for those whose focus is strongest and most inflamed.

   My mind- even now- floats back to that blog post (Music: Its Power). As I type now I am listening to music (a kick-ass selection of Radiohead's finest); I am thinking about it (lyrics are springing to my mind); I am singing (in my best Thom Yorke-esque impression).  It is rare in this age- a digital age- that a human being has such an instantaneous connection with another; often connections are subjugated; forced down in favour of banality and the trite 'connection' usually only occurs when meeting in the flesh.  It was from Kate's impassioned manifesto that I learned a few things.  She was- and subsequent blog posts proved- that she was someone who was determined to succeed; someone keen to connect with as many people as possible, and above all: someone who would never let obstacles stand in her way.  Marilyn Monroe said: "Fame doesn't fulfil you.  It warms you for a bit.  But the warmth is temporary".  Kate is someone who wants genuine respect: to inspire and encourage others.  It is what she has worked at for years; and something that she will work tirelessly towards.  In her there is a genuine talent; someone worthy of close introspection.  I have had many a conversation where Kate has modestly downplayed any adulation I have given.  I know how much her career means to her, and how high she sets the bar for herself.  The past few years have seen her make an impact; change events and leave some sizeable footprints.  Foundations have been laid down, and we have in our midst a talent that has proven a lot already, and has a limitless amount of firepower and potential waiting to be unleashed.  Let us get down to business then...

   Kate Hollowood is a (recently turned) 26-year-old actor, hailing from Dorset.  Having attended the Arts University College at Bournemouth, she has achieved a great deal since graduating.  Her acting work has taken her all across the world, and spanned several continents.  As I type this, she is currently on her way to South Africa, and I am wondering if Kate will be embarking on any acting projects whilst out there.  There is something alternatively quintessential English, yet at the same time international about Kate.  Her voice is perhaps as soothing and calming as they come.  She has a great talent for accents, but her natural speaking voice is warm and intelligent.  Obviously music is a source of happiness and inspiration for Kate, and I have heard few that are as passionate about it than her.  She has a great affection and respect for lyrics, and is a big fan of The National, yet has an ear for a wide range of genres and bands.  Our young idol also displays an enthusiastic and detailed eye for photography, and has a keen visual eye and imagination.  Through Instagram updates and Facebook posts, Kate has captured many a beautiful and stunning image, and I feel that directing is something that would come very naturally to her (would be quite a double major).  In the months I have known her, she has faced a deal of stresses and pains of the heart (both physical and emotional); yet has soldiered doggedly through, making sure nothing gets on top of her.  It is her positive attitude and energy that enforced her ambition and hardy work rate.  In addition to extra circular interests and pursuits, modelling is also another string to her bow.  Her heartbreaking beauty is something that is emblematic, and her smile incredibly infectious.  Kate divides her time between London and Dorset and has a love of the bustle of city life, yet is possibly at her happiest when encapsulated by the coastal splendours of Mudeford and Christchurch.  There is a utilitarianism in her personality as well as her abilities that means as a person- as well as an actor- range and diversity will be synonymous bedfellows.  Many actors can be typecast and honed in by limitation, yet Kate has an adaptability that will see her moving in many different- and multifarious-directions.  It is early days (still) and the infant steps are starting to evolve, yet a great swathe of land has been covered.

    Kate's showreel is something that shows the range of our young heroine (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JczdeHpvv9M).  As well as appearing in a number of different advertising campaigns (for the likes of Arena Flowers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpZQ5SEF9Jg and Comedy Central: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJMcJiMbaAE), she has also leant her name and talent to the likes of The Underwater Realm and Toploader (she appeared in the music video for their single Never Stop Wondering: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-6_0YIQ6-w).  It is not just her work in advertisements, music videos and T.V. spots that has impressed me: there is a whole host more!  Recently I smiled broadly as I witness Kate on BBC One's Doctors.  There she played a 'promiscuous' and flirtatious patient, Ellie Barratt.  Appearing over the course of two episodes (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dycMogl-3zc and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4o450CtVsLg) Kate's performance was solid and scene-stealing, and was an important foothold.  I remember discussing (and praising) her performance on Doctors.  As well as being a little nervous about seeing herself on-screen, I sensed some doubt in Kate's mind.  Modest to a tee, she had nothing to fear.  The feedback and praise received from social media demonstrated what a great job she had done, yet I know one thing for sure: she wants to challenge bigger and bigger projects; stage shows and hard-hitting dramas.  It is always great seeing the lighter side of Kate, whether it is in Doctors; as the heroine in advertisements; or in music videos.  As much as that smile can intoxicate, the straight-faced side of our heroine can be equally if not more- powerful and potent.  Kate has appeared as Sarah Goddard in the Internet-based series Steffi, as well as the forthcoming Still Waters (appearing alongside John Hannah).  There is one character that strikes me; one role Kate has inhabited that has struck me hard: Myra Hindley.

  This is a woman who has been portrayed by the likes of Maxine Peake; had biographies and documentaries dedicated to her; as well as on-going news focus and scandal.  Even 11 years after her death, Hindley is still portrayed on-screen and stage: many are keen to try to understand the mind of one of the U.K.'s most prolific murderers.  Kate played the role of Hindley back in 2011, in the self-penned play, We Made It Happen.  Showcasing at the Southwark Playhouse, it was a production- and performance- that received positive reviews and proved what a fine dramatic actor Kate was (and is).  Since then Kate has also appeared in Myra: a short film where again she portrayed Hindley (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lszl7HE2SiU).  I know how proud Kate is of the film, and how much time and effort she has spent honing the characterisation of Hindley and given her unique take on a much-discussed figure.  If you look at the film (above), it is scary just how convincing the portrayal is: there is something quite terrifying and unsettling; yet gripping and compelling.  The role of Myra Hindley is something that I am sure Kate will be giving life to in the near-future.  A drama or film similar to See No Evil would be a tantalising prospect.  What Miss Hollowood has in mind with regards to a third outing, will be wonderful to see.

   Perhaps even more impressive than her chilling turns as Hindley, is Kate's activism for gay rights.  Last year Mike Buonaiuto directed the short film Invisible Parents.  It was a film that helps promote equality for gay couples hoping to become parents.  In a 21st century society where racism, sexism and homophobia are rampant and- sadly- too common, it is a campaign that has helped to redress the inequality gay couples face (when it comes to adoption).  Kate leant her voice to the film (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeBy_q4i40s) and tirelessly promoted and supported the campaign; as well as giving the film's images and scenes emotion, life and huge resonance.  Over the last few weeks, the film #LoveAlwaysWins has been viewed over 900,000 times on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AeqOFo7MRw&feature=youtu.be).  In spite of some truly disgusting and shocking YouTube comments, the campaign is striving to overturn a hard fact: that animalism and prejudice is still so widespread.  It is still illegal in Russia for gay couples to publicly show their love: a shocking fact in a modern-day society.  Russia will be hosting the Winter Olympics next year, and have a lot of growing to do.  As well as a homophobic ignorance, the country has been the subject of negative press due to racism in football as well.  #LoveAlwaysWins has received support and praise from the likes of Stephen Fry, and features Kate as one of the leads.  I was immensely proud of her, and- judging by the hoards of positive comments on Facebook and Twitter- many others are as well.  The issue of gay rights is something dear to Kate's heart, and something important to many millions.  So many actors are overly concerned with shallow endeavours and hollow projects, Kate has spent a lot of time and effort promoting and supporting worthy causes: something that has earned her an enormous amount of respect.

  The woman behind the characters is someone I admire hugely.  She is someone who is incredibly modest, with a restless ambition.  Our shared love of the likes of The National and Arcade Fire have fuelled many a pleasant conversation, and it is Kate's passion for music which has inspired a lot of musical inspiration in me.  She is someone who loves to encourage ambition and drive in others and has spent a great deal of time and energy helping friends (actors and non): spreading their messages, promoting their causes and pushing their ambitions farther and wider.  I have written a comedy with Kate in mind (as my blog post The Equality State highlighted); and have a grand music video idea (that she would be perfect for).  It is the talent that she has laid down, allied to the faith she shows in others; tied with the limitless potential, that has inspired me- and many others- to up their game; put their minds to use and write their little behinds off- with our heroine in mind.  With her immense beauty, down-to-earth and all-encompassing personality as well as her modest and drive, Kate will be working hard and striking high: a determination that will reap rewards and plaudits.  I know how hard she has worked this year; how many auditions she has been to- she has worked harder than anyone I know to make her voice heard.  The body of work that she has put out prove a tantalising glimpse of what the future holds, and what dedication she has to her craft.

   Of course all of my effusive words and proclamations are not to be taken lightly.  Over the last thirty-three months I have watched Kate go from an ambitious young actor, to someone who has done a great deal of important work- and helped a great number of people.  In a world- and an industry- with so much unspectacular talent (most of whom take their opportunities for granted), I am excited to see exactly what Kate achieves throughout 2014.  Whether it is starring roles in huge comedies and dramas; opportunities in the U.S., or appearances on the London stage: we can only guess.  She herself has clear goals.  I know how much the business means to her, and how strong a love she has for what she does.  Acting is not just a job (to make ends meet): it is something that she wants to dedicate her life to, and be as busy as possible.  I have known of very few actors whom have such a versatile adaptability.  The facets that Kate has in her arsenal, mean that future opportunities will come flooding in.  In the U.K., we are producing some quality dramas, and getting a lot more prolific and confident with regards to new comedy.  I hope that a mixture of theatre, drama and comedy will be featuring on Kate's C.V. in the coming years, and it will be exciting to see what is forthcoming and what adventures are ahead.

   Our heroine has already proved her versatility and set our her stall.  I would not be too surprised (far from it) if she were to appear in something as gritty (and mind-bending) as Breaking Bad; a huge long-running comedy, as well as some terrific films: her previous work demonstrates her versatility and abilities.  So keep your eyes peeled dear readers- as well as hungry casting directors!  It was Kate's blog (and her post Music: Its Power) that brought her to my attention; and now her to yours.  It is always worth taking risks; to connect with people and giving credit where its due.  If it hadn't been for that afternoon in February 2011, I would not have met Kate (and missed out on a great friendship).  Too many people are overly concerned with celebrity movements, fame-chasing and self-absorption.  There are a lot of great actors out there that will be coming through the ranks, and Kate is someone who will be making big impressions very soon.  I hope that broadcasters, directors and T.V. companies (at home and abroad) prick up their ears and open their eyes (and minds), as here is a young talent with the ability to do pretty much anything.  Acting means a great deal to Kate, and it is a passion and career that she is devoted to: and one which she wants to grow and grow- as the months and years pass.  If reading this compels or influences you in any way, it should be towards the realisation that leaps and risks should be taken; thinking and attitudes should be reassessed: it can lead to incredible things.  I know the subject will read this and demur (modest to praise); yet the plain truth is this: I have followed her trajectory for a while and immensely proud.  Many, many others are as well.  I am in no doubt that my prophecies and predictions will be fulfilled: you only have to look at what has been to know exactly what will come.

   I shall leave you with a final quote from Kate's Music: Its Power post, that perfectly distils our subject.  It described honestly her feelings about music- in January 2011, as of now- yet can equally be attributed to her desire to perform.  I hope that there will be a lot more blog posts coming from Kate very soon, as I have always found something personal and relatable in her postings.  Her infectious and undeterred resilience and determined soul will bring its rewards.  In terms of Kate's passion for music; her strength and fortitude in life; as well as her goals and desires towards acting, perhaps no one but her can say it better:

"It’s a passion and a need that I don’t think I would be able to live without".


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