This week I’ve had the absolute pleasure of getting into the head of Australia’s Most Employed Performer, Melbourne based Alinta Chidzey.
Most recently Alinta rose to public awareness in West Side Story playing the feisty Anita but she has performed as Demeter in Cats, featured in Dusty, Leader of the Pack, Dirty Dancing (Holland) just to name a few after making her debut in Mamma Mia at just 18 yrs of age.
As well as being a great performer, Alinta has for over 10 years been respected as a hard working, talented and hilarious down to earth woman and generous colleague. We speak to her and uncover her faithful mindset, her grateful approach to life and the tips and tools she has to offer our up-and-coming artists.
What has been your biggest highlight over the years of consistent work? Roles, friendships, connections, growth?
I guess the biggest highlight is living the dream of what I am truly passionate about. Having the opportunity to work with great people who I’ve also become close friends with and travel the world.
Playing Anita in West Side Story was the highlight of my career as it really struck a chord with me. With a show that has so much heart, has a fantastic book, score and choreography I got to develop my skills in singing, dancing and acting even further.
Is there someone or a team of people you confer with to decide on options or is it an instinctual thing?
I do discuss options with my partner as I believe it’s important for us both to both be happy. I also confer with my agent and close friends if it’s a really difficult decision but ultimately I believe you always have a gut instinct of what you really wish to do.
You have been one of the most consistently working performers in Australia, landing your first job at 18 and finishing up an Andrew Lloyd Webber tour last year. Do you think this has something to do with your outlook on life?
A strong belief, healthy mindset and hard work is my attitude to life. Only you are what stops yourself in achieving your dreams. An Olympic athlete would never win if she/he didn’t practice. There is always something to work on. When in-between jobs I am always training. A lot of people are lazy thinking it will come to them, but even if you’re lucky enough to have that happen, you’re only cheating yourself of your true potential. Anything is possible if you set your mind to it. We are our worst enemy in thinking something is not possible. I know a lot of people would go through life thinking I won’t choose that road because of fear of not making it, but I believe its worth it every moment.
You’ve been a successful triple threat performer — from dance to song and more recently concentrating on your on-camera skills. How do you make the choices which shape your career?
I believe we all have a desire to do something. I would like to express myself fully in all areas and I’ve gravitated in this direction as I see how effective and important acting is in our world. I’m fascinated by people and human behavior and how powerful it can be used as a voice for our community.
You are a firm believer in faith over fear - do you believe you’re born with this faith or is it something you chose?
Without faith or belief, the dream is dead. You would walk into an audition with ‘doom’ written on your face. Of course we all have fear, but we also have a choice of what we do with it. It’s not easy being a performer, you need to have determination and commitment and persist with knock backs when they come. You have to remember that when a show is being cast you may not fit the mold, no matter how well your audition went. It could be to do with a number of other things that determine who gets the job, such as type, pairing, budget etc. Remember when one door closes, another door opens. For example, I was auditioning for Fame the musical and didn’t get it, the next thing I know West Side Story announced it was auditioning, which ended up being my dream job. I wouldn’t have been able to do it if I had got Fame. It’s scary not knowing what’s around the corner, but it’s also exciting! Isn’t a life of spontaneity much more rewarding than being in an office knowing what you’re going to do everyday? We also have the choice to put on our own projects. Whenever I hear performers complain that there are no auditions why don’t you put on your own work?
You have mentioned before that actors are voices for people who don’t have a voice? What does that mean to you?
We have the power to voice for those less fortunate than us. To make society aware of untold truths and stories that need to be addressed or taken seriously. Why do people go to theatre or listen to music or watch film? Because it’s something they can relate to. It brings us together. It makes us aware of what else is out there. To empathise and connect with people that may be in the same circumstance, whether it be troubled relationships, mistreatment, family issues, struggles of life, celebration of life or even laugh at ourselves etc… It was said that Singing in the Rain was made in the time of the war to uplift people’s spirits, to give them hope in a time of depression. There is so much value in what we do, that is why I love it! If we can move one person in the audience, then we have done our job. And if we can move more, that’s even better!
What would you say to people who are in that position of being offered a job for the money sake of it vs doing a gig that would REALLY fulfill their soul?
I always go with what makes me happy. I, as a person, want to keep growing and developing. Recently I chose to not take a job because I believe I’m destined to peruse other things at this moment. It’s easy to take the path that is solid financially, and I understand that there needs to be balance, but if you can survive and take the path that fulfills your soul, I know that it’s more rewarding. “Isn’t life too short to not do what you love?”
You’ve managed to maintain a fulfilling relationship and family life. How important to you is it to have a life ‘outside’ performing?
Balance of career, family and self is so important in your life. It can be difficult managing everything, but it’s really important to maintain healthy relationships with those you love. If anything these relationships will help you when going through rough periods and keep you centered throughout your life. Having time out for yourself will also revitalise you to come back and focus on what you love with new energy.
Alinta has most recently finished filming The Frontier (U.S. Pilot) and Dr. Blake Mysteries for (ABC) which will be aired later this year.