Q&A: Have You Met... Libby Christensen

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Q&A: Have You Met... Libby Christensen

The next Have You Met? interview is with performer and photographer Libby Christensen.

What’s your name? Where do you come from and where do you live now?

Hello! My name is Libby, I’m originally from a tiny village by the sea in South Wales, but I have lived in London for the last 15 years, so this is where I call home.

Tell us who you are and what you do?
I am an actor and photographer. I studied musical theatre at Mountview and worked as an actor more or less exclusively (along with the usual colourful array of part time ‘day jobs’!) for about 10 years, before starting my photography business. I now shoot actor’s headshots and weddings alongside my performing career. 
What age did you start performing? What did  5 year old Libby want to be?
I started dancing when I was 3 years old and made my stage debut that very same year 😉 I danced every night of the week growing up, as well as attending drama workshop, music lessons and performing in the school shows and local Am Dram productions. I’m pretty sure 5 year old Libby wanted to be a ballerina – that is until I discovered that my body seriously was not built for it!
Have You Met... Libby Christensen
You have what I like to call a ‘Parallel Career’ as a photographer. how is it having a side career that you are also passionate about? Has it helped with your performance career?

I feel incredibly fortunate to have a parallel career (love that term by the way – much nicer than ‘sideline’ which implies it is less important!) that I am passionate about, there was definitely a time when I didn’t think I ever would. Performing professionally is hard primarily because no matter how good you are or how proactive you are, your fate ultimately lies in someone else’s hands.

It’s wonderful to have a job that I feel I have a little bit more control over. I have always been very artistic and used to think that if I didn’t go to drama school I would like to be an illustrator, so it feels right that I have come back to a visual art form. Photography has helped my performing career in that it has helped to keep me stimulated, creative, curious, proactive and organised. I have definitely seen the benefits of a parallel career the other way around too, as I know a lot of actors, who know actors who want headshots and portfolio shoots (and who are getting married!), so it has been relatively easy to get my name out there. I’ve even shot the production photos of shows I’ve been in during the interval – in my costume!!

Have You Met... Libby Christensen
Do you feel that by coming from a performance background you are able to help performers feel more relaxed at their headshot/portfolio session?

Oh absolutely, as a headshot photographer I understand exactly how it feels to be in my client’s shoes. I also remember all the pros and cons of the various headshot sessions I have had and try to apply these to my shoots accordingly.My acting training and experience has also been hugely beneficial to me as a wedding photographer, which I didn’t really anticipate when I started out. Over the years I have become accustomed to being thrown into new casts, new social circles and new situations, often for limited periods of time, so I’ve learned how to embrace talking to strangers and make friends fast – something that can not be underestimated on a wedding day (especially for a natural born introvert like me)! You have to very quickly integrate yourself with the couple and the guests in order to get the best, most intimate and natural shots. 

What has been your best and/or worst audition?
Ha! Well, my worst was probably a commercial casting I did over 10 years ago for a well known brand of men’s deodorant (you know the one), who were looking for a ‘girl next door’ (yup). I went in with about 8 other women and we had to improvise non stop for 45 minutes. FORTY. FIVE. MINUTES. Whilst being objectified and stereotyped throughout, obvs. Needless to say I’m pretty ok with the fact I didn’t get it! And as far as my best audition is concerned, well that’s easy… it would have to be the one where I met my husband!!
Tell us something that you love about the place you live in?

Well, apart from the fact that London is wonderfully liberal, welcoming, multicultural, vibrant and creative, the thing I love most about where I live, is that my flat is mine. My husband and I bought our first home last year without any help, as two self employed artists (he is an actor) – and that is something I am really very proud of! It can be done! Rather aptly, it is also the product of having a parallel career – I saved my half of the deposit as an actor and got my mortgage as a photographer. I think that’s pretty cool 🙂

Do you have any quotes you live by?
I could quote you any number of Frank Turner lyrics here, but I think ‘We could get better, because we’re not dead yet’ is my favourite. To me it means that there is always room for improvement, so keep on striving to be better – but also (and more importantly) it means that no matter what has happened, what mistakes you’ve made, or how bad things have become, while you still have breath in your body, you can always turn it around. I also try to live by ‘Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always’. At the end of the day, we’re all human beings and we’ve all got our own stuff going on – everyone deserves kindness and respect. 
Where would you like to be in 5 years time?

Ooo… living in a Georgian Town House by the sea with my husband and loads of Danish furniture! Seriously, I’d love to focus on my photography and grow my business so that I have more control over my life and my time (..and can buy more scandi furniture!)

You’ve tour with the show Rat Pack live From las Vegas and performed on cruise ships. Do you love traveling with work or are you glad to be in one city at the moment?

I have been incredibly fortunate to travel to some amazing places that I would never have had the opportunity to visit were it not for my job and I will forever be grateful for that. I had so much fun on tour, so I’m really glad I did it and I would 100% recommend that everyone tries a cruise ship contract at least once! It’s not for everyone, but you don’t know unless you try and you learn so much about yourself in the process! But touring is exhausting and it can be tough to be away from your loved ones for extended periods of time.I worked away from home for a long time. It was fun and exciting and eye opening, but as I get older I find that my priorities are changing, so now it’s someone else turn! So, although I definitely hope to keep travelling and adventuring – and to shoot more destination weddings! – I’m thoroughly enjoying being in one place right now and have no intention of going on tour again any time soon.

Have You Met Libby Christensen
Where can the readers find out more about you or see your photography work?
If you made it to the end of this you can have 10% off headshots if you quote ‘have you met’ at the time of booking!
Have You Met... Libby Christensen
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