Interview of Lasharne Anderson, Georgia James, Candassie “Dass” Liburd, & Lizzie Roberts by Freya Bennett
Bloom is a new coming of age short film about four teenage girls: Sabrina, Rhianne, Tracey, and Ruby. We enter the world of these girls at a point in their lives when they are just beginning to grapple with the greater issues of adulthood.
Their world is a mélange of school subjects, dance routines, music, and the looming issue of sex. In this film we get to see how they manage themselves internally and together as friends. As their summer comes to an end, we realize that the sun may also be setting on a part of their youth that they will never be able to get back.
Bloom is expected to do the film festival circuit and then hopefully be released for public viewing in the first half of next year. Freya had a chat with the cast of the film about filming, their characters, and their experiences with girlhood.
Hello cast of Bloom, how are you?
Lizzie: Fab, thanks!
Lasharne: Good. A bit tired, but good!
Georgia: I’m amazing thank you for asking!
Dass: Great thanks!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
Lasherne: My name is Lasharne Anderson and I’m a new up and coming actress. I’ve previously had roles in BBC’s Crimewatch, Florence Foster Jenkins, and awarding winning short film Last Leg.
Georgia: I’m Georgia James, an actor who specialises in movement. I’ve just recently graduated from Rose Bruford College, a London-based drama school, studying the unique American Theatre Arts Course and together with two extremely talented women have begun our own feminist theatre company called Sisters of Eden.
Dass: I’m a British actress who went to a performing arts school. I’ve always loved acting.
Lizzie: I’m Lizzie and play the role of Tracey. I’m from London and have recently finished studying Sociology!
Tell us a little bit about the movie Bloom.
Lizzie: Bloom is a coming of age film which gives a glimpse into the lives of four teenage girls!
Georgia: A beautiful yet sad story of sisterhood, growing up, and identity.
Lasharne: Bloom essentially is a movie about four friends coming of age, celebrating what makes them each individually unique.
Dass: Bloom is a really unique film. It doesn’t have any pretence. The director Jesse was really cool about letting us experiment with our characters. Essentially though, it’s a coming of age film about 4 young girls.
Do you identify closely with your characters in anyway?
Dass: Yes! Especially me when I was that age. Rianne is very confident, self-assured, and thinks she knows it all and has life sussed. She’s also the cool girl. Although I wasn’t the cool girl at school, I did think I knew everything!
Lizzie: Tracey’s sort of the most down to earth of the group. She’s got her own goals set out and is driven, but she’s also very emotionally aware of how the others are feeling. I’d like to think that that’s something that I’ve got in common with her! She’s also continuously eating which is definitely something I identify with! Also her inability to dance!
Georgia: I guess I identify with Sabrina’s intense need for approval.
Lasharne: Ha ha, not really actually. My character Ruby is nothing like me! But I loved playing her, she’s really sweet.
How has the overall experience of filming together been?
Georgia: It was a remarkable process from the get go with our powerful director and writer, Jesse, who has a unique ability to keep everyone relaxed whilst also drawing strong performances from all on set. Not to mention the incredible Assistant Director Camille and our wonderful producer Kinsey and the phenomenal actors I shared a screen, they just made it so easy to get into character.
Dass: Fun! We all gelled really well. A fair amount of teasing between us four girls. It actually felt like we were still at school!
Lizzie: Really fun, we all got on really well and being on set was always filled with a lot of laughter! It’s always a bit scary when you first meet the rest of the cast especially when you’re playing such a close knit group of friends, but we straight away got on really well and just fit into our characters. Jesse really focused on bringing a sense of fun and energy onto set and into our characters; he took Georgia, Candassaie, and I to the fun fair a week before filming and then asked to recreate that hyperactive fun back on set!
Lasharne: Filming was only for a short period over the course of a weekend so it wasn’t too demanding. It was a great experience; the director was very relaxed and a gave us loads of freedom to explore our characters within the scene.
What is the best part of acting?
Dass: I love getting to be in somebody else’s shoes, to be able to see the world in a completely different way. When someone gets angry there’s about 15 different ways you can play that anger depending on where the anger comes from and that’s always interesting to figure out.
Lizzie: I love finding a character and bringing them to life, and just the excitement and adrenaline of being on set!
Lasharne: The best part of acting is that you can fully become the character and live out their life. Through this process you also learn and discover more about your own self. Your likes, your dislikes, weaknesses, strengths, fears, and desires.
Georgia: Ooh that’s a hard question. I love the escapism of acting, the ability to be whoever and transform; to rid yourself of your ego and serve another. I love the deep connection and empathy you experience when researching and developing characters. I also love the responsibility of telling someone’s story; the discipline it takes to convey the authenticity of that person’s life. It’s a privilege and honour.
What is the hardest part?
Georgia: The hardest part about acting is probably also the best part which is the shedding of your ego. It’s difficult and sometimes you can feel very insecure about your work but you have to constantly remind yourself that it’s not about you.
Lasharne: Always wanting to be good and never wanting to disappoint anyone. So I guess the hard part is the added pressure, but the key is to not crumble and to do the necessary preparation before your due to film and the rest I guess is down to luck!
Dass: When the character you’re playing has had something really awful happen in their life. By the time you go home you feel so drained!
Lizzie: Probably the waiting to hear back from auditions!
Why are films like Bloom important to the coming of age narrative?
Lizzie: Films like Bloom are important for a number of reasons; they remind us of the fragility of being at an age where society is pressuring us to become an adult and a reminder of the awkwardness of being at an age where we’re often so obsessed with the way that others see us. I think that there is something in them that everyone can relate to, so they allow the audience to reflect on their own experiences and choices. In relation to some of the themes presented in Bloom I think that it helps to remind us of the way that the pressure of conformity can act to silence those that don’t conform to the norm, even if they’re experience is in fact in the majority!
Dass: I think lots of films touch on the coming of age narrative but this one does so without “trying”, it doesn’t force anything.
Lasharne: Without giving too much away, I think it’s important that people who have experienced what some of the characters have know that they are not alone and their stories are being told.
Georgia: Bloom is important to the coming of age narrative because it sheds both light and dark on topics that both girls and boys are pressured to partake in. You don’t have to grow up fast and you don’t have to pretend that you’ve done something to impress other people. It also focuses on the time before life got complicated by technology and just the simplicity of spending time with your friends outdoors.
In your own experience of growing up, what would you change?
Lasharne: I think I would have listened more to my parents especially when my mother warned me about the dangers of wearing makeup at a young age.
Georgia: I wouldn’t change much because it’s made me who I am today, but I guess I’d remind young Georgia that it’s about cherishing moments and loving yourself regardless of what’s “expected” of you, basically just be you because that’s your power.
Dass: I would tell myself to wear better foundation and also not to worry about boys so much!
Lizzie: I’d care a little less about what others think and just stay young a little longer, as in not getting so wrapped up in becoming an adult and choosing what I wanted to be so early. I think there’s so much pressure on knowing your career path very early on which often stops you actually focusing on what you really want to do! I’d just be more confident in doing what I wanted to do!
What do you love about being a girl?
Georgia: I love being a woman, all aspects of it. There’s so much power in the unique blend of femininity and masculinity, and the ability to empathise with others.
Dass: That I never have to carry heavy things! Haha. But I also love the intuition you get from being a girl. I really do feel like that’s something guys don’t have. Women can just sense when things aren’t right.
Lizzie: Not having to conform to Lad Culture! As a women I think there’s an openness and a sense of unity and community, you don’t get judged for crying while watching Shrek…
Lasharne: What I love about being a women is our ability to create life, nurture that life, and eventually educate that life into a wonderful human being. And let’s not forget the powerful men who work in tandem with us to ensure this happens.
What do you find hard about being a girl?
Lizzie: The pressure placed on appearance and constantly being presentable!
Dass: The feeling of unobtainable beauty. If we’re too big, it’s a problem; too slim, it’s a problem; too loud or too quiet, etc. We’re made to feel like we’re never quite good enough.
Lasharne: The constant age limit that we are continually given. You have to have a child by a certain age, you have to get married by this age or you’re only in your prime between certain ages. I think the pressure that society puts on us is incredible; hopefully as the years go by that will change.
Georgia: What I find hard about being a girl/woman is societal pressures and expectations.
If you could change one thing about the way society sees girls and women, what would it be?
Georgia: Rape Culture would be a massive thing I would change; the sexual objectification of girls and women that makes them “lesser” than men. I mean when Hillary Clinton, and I’m not a major fan of her, is campaigning for president and all they can focus on is what she looks like, I’d say there’s a gargantuan problem in our society with how we are taught to view women and girls.
Lizzie: The way that society presents successful women! I think that a woman who is ambitious and driven continues to be presented as selfish or bossy or having to make a sacrifice; success shouldn’t be so gendered!
Dass: Women can be just as tough and rational as guys! I’m tougher and a LOT more rational than a lots of guys I know. Not all women make decisions based on emotions, or because of what looks pretty!
Lasharne: As said I touched upon before, the expectations that are put on us is crazy! So I would like to see that changed.
What advice do you have for girls interested in acting?
Lasharne: Take some classes, see if you enjoy it!
Dass: Keep going. Don’t stop. Not even after you’ve heard no for the millionth time. Keep going.
Georgia: GO FOR IT! You can be whatever you want to be and don’t let anyone, anyone, tell you otherwise. And remember sometimes things aren’t meant to be but don’t beat yourself up about it; lightness dispels darkness. Always keep going!
Lizzie: Just go for it! If the opportunities aren’t there then make your own opportunities, put on a play, attend workshops and drama classes and meet others with similar goals!!
Cast: Lasharne Anderson, Georgia James, Candassie Liburd, Elizabeth Roberts
Writer & Director: Jesse Gassongo-Alexander
Producor: Kinsey Zhang & Jesse Gassongo-Alexander
Cinematography: Luke Farley
Production & Costume Design: Claire Lemaigre
Assistant Director: Camille Nock
Editor: Ian Bradley
Music: Amane Suganami
Sound Design: Thomas Burge