Hi from London, loves! 🙂 I’ve been so excited about all of the hot topics that have come up since opening the features to themes! I’m hoping to continue integrating the FFB Compelling Conversations when I’m back in New York but let me know how you guys are liking them!? Click the comment button up top and give me a shout with your thoughts, how your day’s going, or some good ol’ positive affirmations… whatever you want to leave, I love hearing from y’all!
Today’s convo is with my current twinsie, english bestie, partner in crime, Antony. He has an amazing, inspiring story about fueling the fire of his journey through a negative experience that has empowered him to become the best version of himself. He is breaking down his core values for becoming a leading man!
NOTE FROM ANTONY: Hey FFBers!! I’m Antony Hewitt – and I’m currently patiently waiting to start rehearsals as cover Aladdin in the broadway to west end transfer of … you guessed it … Aladdin, which will be my West End Debut! I’m an english boy born and bred and have only recently moved to London after spending the last 4.5 years since leaving college on UK tours with some wonderful shows. Theatre and fitness is such a huge part of my life and it’s an honour to be featured on this wonderful blog! 😀 Thanks for having me Jane! x
Q: My love! I can’t believe how close we’ve gotten over the last few weeks and today is so exciting to for me to share your amazing journey on the blog. Where did it all start for you?
A: Lovely girl, it’s such an honor to be featured on your inspirational blog. I’m #thrilled / #RAPT to have met you and that we’re making this happen 😀
For me – it all started fairly late. As a child growing up I was lucky enough to be given a lot of opportunities, thanks to my wonderful parents. I was, however, a quitter – I tried everything; from ballet, to football, to swimming, tennis, chess, kayaking… the list is endless… I settled on a few hobbies but until my early-mid teens performing wasn’t a big part of my life at all.
I began learning to play piano from the age of 14 and it was actually my piano teacher who noticed that I could sing when I was preparing for my Aural tests. She insisted I joined a choir – and from that my passion for singing exploded 😛
I threw myself into it, joining choirs and vocal groups galore! By this point I had seen a couple of musicals and was in Admiration of the performers. I remember the first musical I ever saw being Phantom of the Opera. All I could think about the whole time while watching the show was how much I wanted to get up on that stage and be in the shoes of the talented cast.
I went through school developing my “hobby”, not really considering it as a career option until I was doing my A Levels. I auditioned for some London dance and drama schools but had no luck. However, I wasn’t willing to let this stop me! So I went on to study on a 2 year Musical Theatre BTEC course in my hometown – I learnt so much in those two years and my dance abilities improved tenfold. I now knew I was ready for a London college and used my determination to secure myself a scholarship at the Arts Educational School in Chiswick where I trained for the next three years on the Musical Theatre degree course. YAY!!! 😀
Q: You recently had an extreme health kick and drastically changed your body shape. Was there a catalyst or turning point for you that led you to do this?
A: Definitely, there was a catalyst that persuaded me to finally get on track & look the best I ever have. About 6 months ago (just before I started to lose fat, get fitter and stronger) a person whom I was very close to and fond of accidentally “butt dialed” me – I answered to overhear them talking about me to a friend of theirs. They were saying what a great guy I was, that I had a cracking personality, SOH etc… but then went on to pick fault with my body and appearance. At the time it upset me and cut me deep but I wasn’t going to dwell on that or let it get the better of me. It lit a fire of determination within me to prove that I don’t need to be held back and that any obstacles can be overcome. This was my turning point and I decided it was time to stop being comfortable and work hard to become the best version of myself.
I got myself into a regular gym regime and completely changed my diet from ready meals and carb heavy snacks to the foods that made me feel good and were only fuelling my progress. My determination soon changed from being driven by the need to prove something. It became a part of the new me. I loved the way I felt – I loved the way I looked – I loved the recognition I was getting from my peers and I loved what I knew: that becoming the best version of myself wasn’t an impossible feat.
Antony’s Top 10 Tips for Training to be a Leading Man. He even managed to make an acrostic poem for you guys!! 🙂 How awesome is that?!
- Learn – not only in your profession, but also in life. You can never stop learning, you can never read too many books, and you can never watch too many performances. I believe that learning should ALWAYS be one of the biggest parts of an actor’s life. Learning starts inside the womb and should never stop. Acting is about becoming someone else onstage and the more you know and have experienced in life – the more you can use to portray a character.
- Embody – Become the leading male version of yourself. I don’t believe this is necessarily about getting the body of an Adonis, and I know I’ve said it loads but I honestly do think it’s about becoming the best version of you. It’s about learning to work with what god has given you and using this to get what you want. An example for me is that I drink far too much coffee and red wine – and so whiten my teeth. *insert cheesy emoji*
- Admire – admiration is a wonderful thing. Find people around you that are achieving great things and admire their success, using it to inspire you to achieve the same. It’s great to have your own personal goals, but it’s also great to learn and be inspired by the success of your peers – and give them the recognition they deserve – because you’ll appreciate it when you receive the recognition you deserve from people who admire you.
- Determination – it’s a POWERFUL thing! If you believe you can do it – you will do it. Find the answers to the questions that you don’t know, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. DO NOT GIVE UP! There are times when it will be hard, but determination is wonderful – and as long as you use it right it will help you to achieve things that some people will tell you are possible. I was always told I’d never be able to change my body shape, because it’s just the way I was made. However, I was determined to get that V shape torso and tight waist. Now I have it, and I am so happy that I didn’t give up and succumb to negative influence.
- Improve – I’ve always been told that there is always room for improvement. Don’t be content – don’t be satisfied. I think that a good way of looking at this is to say to yourself – “what are my strengths?”… and start working on everything else.
- Never say Never – This kind of goes hand in hand with determination – but focuses on the mentality of believing that nothing is impossible. Tell yourself you can do it – and know that you can.
- Gumption – The dictionary defines gumption as common sense, resourcefulness, initiative and courage. Have the gumption to achieve your goals. Be resourceful – find the songs that best suit your voice for those auditions. Learn the songs for the characters for the shows you’re suitable for – because there’s no doubt that you’re going to have to in the recalls that you WILL get. Confidence (courage) is also such an important trait to carry – if you walk into the room knowing you can do this – that will translate in your performance.
- Move – For my journey, fitness was an important factor for success. I got myself into the gym, learning to use free weights, did this in conjunction with healthy eating and I changed my body into the body I needed in order to achieve my goals. Also, looking good made me feel good – it gave me so much confidence; Confidence to walk into an audition for a leading role – knowing that I looked the part and could be trusted to carry this forward onto the stage. Before, I was wearing my boxers up to my belly button to pull in my love handles. Now I’m not afraid, when asked in auditions, to take my top off – I was asked to dance a routine topless recently… and I did it with my head held high – whereas before I probably would have snuck out of the door at the back of the audition room. Getting fit not only gave me confidence. It gave me energy! I am able to be so much more resourceful with my days as I have the energy to power through the hours. There’s nothing better than the feeling after a good workout. It may take time at first to reap these rewarding feelings – but once fitness is a part of your life (if it isn’t already) you will ask yourself why you didn’t get fitter sooner.
- Achievement – this is something that will just happen. Big achievements will manifest as a result of your smaller, personal achievements. So keep working hard and enjoy it when you achieve your dreams.
- Nourish – Food is wonderful. I love it! I want it… all the time. But I had to teach myself what I could eat and when I could eat it. I also learned to love the food that is good for me (lean protein, colourful fruit & vegetables and small portions of complex carbohydrates. I’m still learning how to get creative with food as it’s so easy to just go to the convenience store and pick up a ready meal – But I feel so much better after eating a delicious, fresh, healthy and well balanced meal; so I focus on this to stop me from giving into temptation. I feel that nourishment can also be related to maintenance; just like learning, practice can never stop. They say ‘practice makes perfect’, but if you stop practicing that perfection can quickly fade. You only have one body and one life. So nourish everything about it. Nourish your body, your skills, and your being. Also nourish your friendships and your family – because these are the people that have been there to support you and will continue to be there for you on your journey.
Q: Did you always know you wanted to be a leading man?
A: In a nutshell… Absolutely Yes! Although it’s a hard question to answer as I was always so inspired by the leading characters but also absolutely admired the work of the ensemble. I wanted to do it all and I’m lucky that I’ve been given the opportunity to do this in the shows I’ve done so far.
Q: If you could pick one leading gal to play opposite of, who would it be?
A: Megan Hilty – what a dream!
Q: What’s your leading man dream role?
A: The role of Aladdin is one that I’ve always wanted to play, and to know that as an Aladdin Cover I will definitely get the opportunity to play the title role in one of the West End’s most beautiful theatres is an absolute dream come true. If I have to pick another role that I’d LOVE to play in years to come – it’d probably be Elder Price in the wonderful show that is The Book of Mormon.