Inspirational interview with actor Ritchi Edwards.
Name: Ritchi Edwards
Hi Ritchi I really appreciate you taking the time to answer some of my questions, especially as you are currently recovering from recent surgery, would you mind telling us about this?
Hello there I hope you're well. No problem at all, thank you for coming to me about answering some questions it's an honour. Well without going into too much detail I don't want to put anyone off their food reading this haha but about 3 years ago I almost passed away due to blood poisoning and cutting a long story short it all came back but I'm all good now my specialist is happy with my recovery progression so the only way is forward and I look forward to getting back to work. This must have been very tough, I'm pleased to hear that you are recovering well and remaining positive!
You only have one hand, were you born this way?
I was born with one hand and in a way I'm very grateful that that is how it is because from birth and obviously a young age I've learnt to progress and get better throughout life with the things people with two hands would find easy, it's just I may have to put in some extra work but i like to make it as easy as I can, no sweat as they say haha, that is why I respect so much the people who have lost a limb during life because it must be so hard for them but yet they keep moving forward and to me those people are truly inspirational, they are showing the power of the mind, body, and soul.
At what age did you realise that you were different, do you remember a specific time?I suppose it was when I was younger, as always there are the bullies that we deal with and when I was at a younger age I may not have handled the situation in the best way but as I grew older that improved and I learned to humour those small minded people.
On a November 28th 2013 FB post you wrote “I Know I’m different and I’m glad if it. I want to be different, something unique and I’m using it to my full advantage!” – Can you explain what you meant by this?
Wow you have a great memory, (I wish I did! I took a peak at your earlier posts!) Well it's basically what it says there I want to be different and stand out from the crowd and being different can be a major major advantage, sometimes change isn't welcomed, at the end of the day I could sit there hold my head in my hand and wish I had two hands but I know that's never ever going to happen and I wouldn't want it to, so the best solution to that nasty thought is to work with what you have and in anyone's case whatever your disability, race, gender etc. you'll always be good at something, we all have our strengths and weaknesses no matter our physical capabilities.
We are seeing a slow increase in people with ‘disabilities’ breaking into acting, with the likes of R J Mitte who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of 3, landing a role on the hit TV series Breaking Bad, and Jamie Brewer from TV’s American Horror Story who has down syndrome, do you think that they are helping change the way that actors are cast?
I think that actors with disabilities are truly inspirational because the industry I'm in and as an actor is very tough and you have to be thick skinned, they are showing that no matter the circumstances you can be whatever you want and do whatever you want, the disabled actors in the industry will be more and more and obviously you have to be good at what you do but the opportunities will become more and more, I say if you can't see an opportunity then you make your own.
How would you like to see the future of film and TV change with regards to actors who have disabilities?
In my eyes everyone is equal to each other no-one is better than anyone but we all have our strengths that are greater than certain individuals so the disabled actors coming into the industry I would love to see more of that and I know we will and it will have a positive impact on the industry. I myself will be pushing for more diversity along my journey and helping those who may need that little opportunity.
Cerrie Burnell CBeebies presenter was born with her right arm ending at her elbow apparently received complaints from parents who were not ready to explain disabilities to their children. What would you say to these parents? Have you ever experienced this? Similar? Concerning the complaints Cbeebies received due to that I think is quite disgusting but yes of course the parents will be upset if their children get scared but it's because they don't understand, but that's where they need to learn and see this because in the real life world they will most probably encounter someone with a missing limb, it's like anyone who doesn't understand something or see's something new that they don't like a natural instinct would be to complain or be wary, but in this sense I think it's silly and pathetic that complaints were received.
Your Facebook page is brimming with positivity! Do you ever have an off day?!
Haha thank you very much that's lovely of you to say, well I love to keep the positivity in the air as some say and I love to interact with my fans/followers as much as I can and spread the positivity to everyone and maybe brighten someone's day who may need it, I plan on doing some live videos in the future so anyone who wants to ask any questions feel free to drop by. Do I have an off day, yeah of course I do we all have our off days and days where we feel low but we just have to think about what we have in our lives to be grateful for.
What have been your biggest challenges in life so far and are they related to your ‘disability’? How did you overcome them?
I first started acting when i was young first playing Brian Epstein(The Beatles manager) on the West End and at first i was so low in confidence but as time went on my confidence grew so i suppose you could say acting was and is my savour, it gave me the chance to be free, to portray characters and delve into different worlds, it can be tough but as they say always look on the bright side of life, where there is good there is bad, but where there is bad there is good. There are lots of hurdles you may come across but with anything through time and perseverance there isn't a hurdle you can't jump.
Who do you get your inspiration from? I know that your uncle appeared in James Bond, and that Daniel Craig is one of your favourite actors, are these strong male influences in your life?
My Uncle Terence Mountain yes he was in two Bond movies On Her Majesty's Secret Service as Raphael he fought Bond on the beach and was also in Diamonds Are Forever aswell as acting with the likes of Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood in Where Eagles Dare, I'm a huge obsessed Bond fan so as you can imagine that news excited me haha, yes that's right Daniel Craig is my favourite actor. They do have huge influences on me yeah as I look at them and I know one day that's where I'm going to be, funny story I was once doing a play and I had a poster of Daniel Craig in the dressing room and every time before I went on I used to look at it and say one day, one day I'm going to be where you are, then my co-stars decided to draw hearts on it... man crush haha, hahaha! My biggest influences in life are my family as they have always pushed me to do my best.
Why is it important to you that you inspire others?
I think it's important that I inspire others as it gives them something to think about, a dream, a job, something that they want to do etc that they never thought about before and to me inspiring them and bringing positivity to their thoughts could have a major impact on them later on in life and hearing someone say you inspire them or are inspirational really makes me feel good, someone who may have been having a bad day then hearing that it really hits me close to home. I have no doubt that people ARE inspired by you.
Did you always want to be an actor? Do you think you would have considered another career if you did not have your ‘disability’? Does your ‘disability’ make it difficult for you to consider other careers?
I have indeed ever since I was young and I started at a young age, I believe that this is why I'm on this earth to act, but also inspire others through my acting and to bring joy and happiness to people's lives. I think two hands or not you would still see me on your screens.
Do you ever think of slowing down?!
I'll keep going and going until I'm not physically able anymore, obviously I've had a recent setback due to quite a big operation and that has slowed me down a bit but I'm on the road to recovery and I'll be back stronger and faster than ever before, although I do like to put my feet up and have a good cuppa haha.
This setback must have been hard on you being the determined character that you are.
We often see photographs of your family on your social media, how do your family support you with your choices? Did they ever have concerns with your career choice based on your ‘disability’?
My family are my rock they support me in everything I do, I like to keep certain aspects of my life private, this is understandable, but I do also like to share the love I have for my family because they support me in every decision every road I take, if it's not a good decision then they'll tell me I wont necessarily take there pointers all the time but I always listen and take what they have to say on board, as they say mum knows best haha. My family always knew I should do acting because of how I was when I was younger, very theatrical and hyper haha so I suppose this was always going to be the road I took.
Your sister Kelsey Edwards is several years your junior, is it important for you to be a good role model to her? Did you inspire her to want to go into acting to? We know she has appeared in TV adverts.
My sister Kelsey is 6 years old, I think it's good that I am a good role model to her because as a big brother I want to set a good example and no matter what she decides to do in life I will always support her. No matter where I am in the world she'll always have my support. I think that she is lucky to have such an inspirational and supportive big brother.
What advice would you give to people about perusing their dreams and ambitions?
The advice I would give to all of you lovely people out there chasing your dreams is to never give up, there will be good times there will be bad times but always remember that the more you keep going the more positive doors will open for you, dream, believe, act, achieve. Never stop being who you are and always carry on as you, be seen as you want to be seen you are the one that chooses your road if a door doesn't open by knocking, smash that mother open and introduce yourself. If you feel different, take a long hard think that that isn't such a bad thing after all. No matter what you do there will always be knock backs and hurdles but pick yourself up because that isn't the end of the line, keep jumping, you'll maybe fall but that's where you pick yourself up, it's the start of your journey and will lead to bettering yourself every time. If first we don't succeed we try and try again, first comes failure, then comes success, not just in life but in your mind.
I'm a great believer in never stop being who you are, this is great advice Ritchi and you are a great example of showing us how this is done!
So we know that ‘Witch’ is your latest project to come to an end, what’s next for you? What is your ultimate goal?
Yes indeed i'm looking forward to finishing my last scenes for the movie, a great great experience written and directed by my good friend Trevor Hayward and Produced by my other pal Paul Allen. I've just currently signed on to another movie called When Nothing Else Matters and i look forward to getting started with that and working with everyone involved. i'm also doing another called Homeless Ashes with my friend and fellow actor Marc Zammit, and later in the year a comedy with my good friend(i see him as my big brother) Fredi Nwaka who directed me in Absent Without Love which also starred another friend Charles Venn, so i look forward to that also, there's different projects going on this year and onwards so i'm very very excited. Very excited about the journey ahead. My ultimate goal is to keep bettering myself each and every time.
I wish you luck with your future projects, with your determination I'm sure we will be seeing much more of you in the future.
I thank you for your time Ritchie and wish you a speedy recovery.
Thank you very much and no problem at all, i thoroughly enjoyed answering them, I wish you all the best in everything you do. until next time xx