I met Juliet because she contacted me via the site (I still get a kick when this happens), telling me about her multi-tasking existence and asking if I wanted to meet. It was such an enjoyable interview (always made better when someone offers to grab my son Otis and hold him for half of it), and I hope you enjoy hearing about Juliet's multi-tasking existence as mother of one, actress and owner of Bedazzled events, a business she has run since University.
Tell us about what you’re doing now and how you got here...
I'd always wanted to be an actress from a very young age. My parents were brilliant and gave me guidance in doing classes in dancing and drama, but also made me have a normal education. I went through school and my A-levels and along the way also had a job in drama. It was a local thing where we did a performance every couple of months. After that I went to drama school and did a degree, which was brilliant, although it's not something I'd repeat again. If I knew then what I know now, I'd have done a shorter course.
You don't have that much involvement in the actual industry, so when I came out, although they give you the tools for drama, you don't have the tools for the industry itself, so you have to learn that on your own quite quickly.
My father was a restaurant owner, and at the time owned the chain that was part of Holmes Place (the gym). I had always worked, as my parents were passionate about learning the value of money from early on. I was collecting trays in my Dad's first restaurant at 12, and I loved it, getting the tips as my pay. I always worked very hard, and whilst I did my degree I started doing entertaining at the weekends as a way to pay my bills. I was a fairy, a princess, and a gingerbread woman once (which was my breaking point). I didn't want to do it anymore, but I enjoyed the creative aspect of performance, and the design and events side.
In my last year of drama school I set up Bedazzled as an events company for children. It was very grass roots. I did everything. I ran the parties, organised the rental of the location, I employed my friends to do any parties I couldn't do. If there were party bags, I did the party bags, I literally did the lot.
At the same time, when I finished drama school I started performing and working the circuit, doing shows above pubs. I toured with lots of shows, and then got an agent. I did shows that were really quite minor, with audiences of 50, but then I got an audition for Bronson with Tom Hardy and got a minor role after about 4 auditions (it was a long process because I was quite a risk, as an actress with hardly any experience).
I was really excited about it. I was staying in a hotel room that they'd put me up in, and then I got called back onto set after hours. I honestly thought I'd been fired, or they'd decided to cut my one line, but it turned out that I'd been given the role of Tom Hardy's girlfriend in the film. I remember calling my mum, and having to lie down on the floor to do it! I had to learn the lines that night and go on set the next day. It made me realise that you should never turn things down (within reason!), as they might lead to something better.
So that was my first big hit, and from then on I was really lucky. My most recent job was 'Critical', a big Sky TV drama. It was amazing, because of the budget it had, and working with the same team for a whole year.
Whilst this was all going on (over about 8 years), Bedazzled has grown organically with me. As my acting has got bigger, the business has got bigger too. At times it's been utterly ludicrous. I remember vividly being in a trailer getting ready to go on set to do quite a violent scene, and I was confirming a Peppa Pig party on the phone.
Bedazzled is ultimately an events company that focuses on interactive storytelling and getting kids imaginations popping and enjoying the theme around a character. We know we've done a good job when they really believe they've met that character. We do the whole lot, from the theme to the decorations, often completely transforming the venue. I still love the design part of it, so I tend to do a lot of the creative side of things and then get my team to implement it. We set up mood boards, and every single party is bespoke, we never do the same party again.
My team are mostly freelance; entertainers, florists, balloon stylists, all people who I've worked with for years. However, I now have a marketing manager, Mary, who I met since having Amelie, when I realised that I can't do everything on my own.
I've done adult parties, from when they've seen our kid's parties; and also book and film launches; and weddings. We've got new exciting developments coming, which unfortunately I can't talk about yet! I absolutely love it - it works around my acting, and my daughter, and it's just really good fun.
I fell pregnant just after filming Critical, so while it was out on the big screen I was having to initially hide being pregnant. Now after a year I've started to get back into acting. I did a live reading performance with Burberry recently, which was really cool. I've just changed agents and it's all bubbling away.
What made you take the leap to do things differently at university when you started Bedazzled?
The reason I set it up is because I wanted to be an actress, and I always knew I'd make it, but it's a really hard industry that is awful at times. I wanted the flexibility of having my own business, and something that I could flit in and out of, so I could make auditions when I need to.
How long did it take you to feel like you’d made progress in your new venture?
For acting it was about a year after acting school, when I got a really great agent and was involved in Bronson. It was an exciting time. I got photographed and interviewed for Dazed and Confused as an up and coming actress to watch, which was a nice moment.
For Bedazzled, because I wasn't doing it full-time, it probably took about 3 years to really get going. I remember getting my first big gig for Bedazzled. It was this really big house in Sloane Square, and was still in the first year, when I was still doing all of the parties myself. I turned up with the balloons and the decorations, and I did the show, everything myself, and then I came out and I had a parking ticket! I was so excited to have got the job I just didn't even think about it, and that was all of the profit gone!
Now I have clients that book me year in and year out, for their younger child, and their older child and then I work with their friends and other people they know.
I was afraid of the two worlds of acting and Bedazzled mixing, but now I feel that they help each other.
How often did you feel like ‘it’ wasn’t going to work?
Loads of times with acting. The thing is that you can't help yourself, you go into an audition and before you've come out of it you've lived the dream, spent the money, and seen yourself filming it. Then if you don't get it, it comes as a real blow! That was more when I first started. Now I know that when I get a job, it's because I'm right for it, and when I don't, it's genuinely because I'm not the right person, or I haven't done a good enough job because it wasn't my day. That's only come with time, taking it on the chin.
For Bedazzled, when companies started to copy us, it used to depress me a bit. At one point I even thought there was an insider! But now, it gives me a buzz. It makes me realise that I can't sit still, and that I want to do things better and bigger each time. I like creating the new stuff, and it makes me work a little harder!
What do you find difficult about managing multiple jobs?
I sometimes wish I had more time, particularly now that Amelie is here as well. My family are amazing. Some days are a real juggle, talking to clients in the morning, and making sure they're happy with all of the plans. Part of the reason that people book us is that I offer a personal service, so I can't always offer them over to someone else.
Then I have to get Amelie into childcare, while I go off to auditions, and afterwards I come home and put the mum hat on. I'm trying to be better with my time management and dedicate the morning to something, and the afternoon to something else, because if it's a muddle, I feel like I don't do any of them well.
Do you get the fear, and what do you do to spur yourself on when you do?
I do get the fear, but that's part of the fire in my belly and without it I wouldn't be very happy. I think Amelie has helped that a lot. I have a really big meaning and purpose to life now, and it's her. I need to make this all work as I want to be a good mum for her, I want to be a good partner and generally take life for what it is, which spurs me on.
What or who do you find intimidating?
I used to find a lot intimidating, particularly approaching new people. Top producers can often be really intimidating as they don't say much in a room and you can't read them, which is really unnerving. Generally if I am intimidated I try and pretend I'm not, which is often when I talk a lot of rubbish and completely blag it. If my partner is there he gives me a little look, like "You're doing it again - calm down!". Which is probably how I sound in this interview!
What drives you, your legacy, or enjoying the moment?
I've always been about enjoying the moment, but now I live for Amelie, and for that relationship, enjoying miniscule tiny moments with her that make my heart skip a beat. For example, when she reaches out to hold my hand, and it's just because she wants to hold my hand, not for support. That is better than anything.
Do you feel like you've achieved a good work/life balance?
There are moments where it's utter chaos and I think 'what am I doing', but when I first came out of drama school I did things like temping, and I got offered a really amazing job reforming the drama department in a school that was being rebuilt in White City. It was good pay, flexible hours, with a budget and a team. I was just out of university, so it was an amazing opportunity, but I realised I couldn't do it, as it wasn't my dream. I do have moments where I think about how much easier that would have been, but it wouldn't have made me happy.
Where would you like your acting and Bedazzled to get to?
Acting is my number one career and it always has been and Bedazzled was there to support it. Now, luckily enough Bedazzled is in a position that 90% of the time it runs itself. I'm really lucky that my partner is amazing. He works 9-5 Monday to Friday, in a totally different industry. He then works with me at the weekends, for example, he'll go and man a party when I'm at another one. I'm completely bonkers, but he's completely stable. I'm lucky in the sense that I have a support network that will allow me growth, and as the business gets bigger, I'll take on more people. I want to be able to make both work ultimately.
How do you start your day?
We've got Amelie into a pattern where she sleeps from 8-8, which is lovely, so I try and wake up before her. I do a couple of hours of work, have a very strong cup of coffee and get a lot done. Once I've got all of those emails out of the way I feel so much better. I can't go to bed with things still on my to do list even though my partner thinks I'm crazy sometimes! Then I dedicate time to her. I don't have a strict daily routine, every single day is different, and I think that's what I like about it.
How do you organise yourself?
I have a massive filo fax that I'm constantly scribbling notes on, and two laptops! A lot of my work can be done from wherever I am, via mobile, text or whatsapp. I used to be able to carry everything in my head, but since Amelie, I've got more to think about in the diary, so for now I have no choice but to write it all down.
How do you come up with new ideas?
Pinterest is brilliant for party ideas. I try to keep on top of trends, like what is coming out at the cinema, and who is wearing what and where, as it all has a knock on effect. Sometimes in contrast I shut the door on all of it, and don't worry about what's going on and focus on things that I've seen, or places that I've visited and take inspiration from that as an idea. I collect things over the years and keep hold of them as well. For example, we're doing our house up at the moment (we moved midst all of this!), so whenever I go to a cafe or restaurant at the moment, I'm eyeing up the lights and other features.
For acting, I still try and do workshops for fun, as you have to keep the craft alive and fresh (I know it sounds wanky!)
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be an actress - although I loved maths, which is really odd! I gave up Maths at A/S level, which is my only regret and I still have a burning desire to do it, so I still do my own accounts.
What will you tell Amelie about working out what she wants to do in life?
To follow her dreams and don't look back - keep going and keep striving. I'll help her as much as I can. I don't want there to be a ceiling for her. I want her to understand the value of work. I hope that I'm doing a good job already of letting her know that the sky is the limit.
What's the single best piece of advice you’ve been given along your journey?
My mum has always said to me 'Go Girl!'. They've always believed at me 110% and made sure I get out there and face things head on.
To find out more about Bedazzled events visit http://www.bedazzledevents.org.uk/
Follow Juliet on Instagram @julietoldfield and Bedazzled Events
Photo credits: Francesca Oldfield