A few years ago, I created a show, Feathers and Toast, along with my producing partner Holly Payberg Torroija about a woman on the edge who was trying to save the world one sandwich at a time. What she was really interested in doing was saving the lonely cook, trying to inspire the single person to make an effort for themselves even if they are simply cooking for one, that they were worth it. It had struck me that we as women are great at nurturing others but somehow not very good at times at nurturing ourselves. Tallulah made it her mission to inspire the lonely cook to dress up, to play for the moments preparing lunch or dinner…all the while however Tallulah was completely incapable of realizing that she herself was the person who needed saving. Holly and I produced 2 seasons of the show, did a couple of hundred weekly VLOGS, took it to festivals, performed live with the incredible French company Cabaret Versatile, created a few off shoots of the show, sandwich therapy, kitchen therapy…(Now that I look back at the show titles maybe subconsciously I was trying to tell myself something with the running theme of one of the words which appears in many of the titles…)
For the past 18 months I’ve been healing from my own trauma as a result of a sexual assault that happened to me at the beginning of my acting career in Paris nearly 19 years ago. I was drugged and sexually assaulted by a well known French film director. For the past 18 months I have focused on my healing, lots of therapy, quiet times and taking on board and recovering from what happened. I simply had not been in a place mentally or emotionally to connect with the show, with my character of Tallulah. All that I was able to manage was the occasional silent mime.
Then somewhat ironically in light of my being a mime, Sadie Jemmett wrote me the song Don’t Silence Me for me in response to what had happened in Paris and asked me to produce the music video. Which I did and which was an incredibly healing experience. As well as having the video unfold beyond my wildest dreams, bringing with it the opportunity to meet other survivors, to share and to heal together, to talk live on CBS and the BBC. To hold events in LA, London, Paris and Glasgow with panel discussions on the MeToo Movement. To give my speech in French, to discuss the situation in France and to share my story with more people than I could ever have imagined possible. It’s been a truly remarkable endeavor that I am honored to have been apart of.
I had thought that when I finished the world tour of the video in May I would jump straight back into things and my life but in May I was exhausted and had no energy for anything. As a dear friend pointed out, I was now largely a different person than I had been 18 months ago, so to jump back into my old life just wouldn’t be possible.
In June the fog started to clear, in no small part down to a breakfast with Lili Bernard who asked me about my art and encouraged me to keep doing it. For 2 years I had wanted to upload the show onto Amazon but something was always delaying me in the process…Now was the time.
As I’ve been uploading files, writing synopsis’ and such I’ve been rewatching the show and considering what I want to do with it. Having come through my own healing journey I now look at the character of Tallulah as being a version of myself before I started to look at my trauma. She is on lock down, buttoned up and runs herself like a tight ship. Her level of control and her laser focus at winning a Nobel peace prize…she can’t allow herself to let go, to be in the moment as that would mean opening herself up to potential danger; its safer to control and to hold on with a tight grip.
So as I develop the character and the show now into what I hope will become a half hour show, I’m interested now in what happens next with Tallulah, her realization of what she has been suppressing… her breakdown, her recovery and her rise from the ashes. This is her story. This is my story and as this past 18 months have shown me, it’s many women’s stories. So this is for us, for the survivors, for the ones who have held on for dear life, who have fallen to their knees on their kitchen floors and who are now rising as eagles. Thank you so much for reading…I realize this maybe the longest post I have ever written and thank you for baring with me throughout this journey.
I’d be incredibly grateful if you could click on the link below to watch Feathers and Toast on Amazon and, if you feel so inclined, I would be over the moon if you could take a moment to write a review of the show on Amazon.
So grateful to my dear friend singer/songwriter Sadie Jemmett who wrote the song ‘Don’t Silence Me’ in response to a sexual assault that happened to me at the beginning of my career by a well known French film director in Paris.
CBS News interviewed artist and activist who also appears in the video Lili Bernard and I for the Evening News
Bon apetit darling.
Please leave your guess as to what I am miming in the comments below. Winner will be announced Friday and wins a mime dedicated to themselves of their own choosing. Possibly the most unique prize in the entire world. Clue: Think Halloween.
Dedicated to all those currently scaling tall buildings. May your journey be graceful and your landing light.