How i make it work... MARINA PRIOR
AFTER LAST YEAR’S CAROLS BY CANDLELIGHT, THE SINGER WAS FORCED TO ENDURE CRITICISM OVER HER APPEARANCE. AT 52, SHE TALKS ABOUT AGEING IN PUBLIC AND IGNORING THE TROLLS
The thing I’m most proud of is the fact I’ve been doing this for 30 years. To sustain a long career, you need to evolve; to develop, change and learn as an artist. You can’t think you know it all. I never go into a situation without wanting to learn from it. You need to change all the time without losing the essence of who you are. Continuing to redefine myself has been the biggest challenge of my career, but it’s also been the most positive thing.
I am a different person now. When I started out, I wasn’t a mother. I hadn’t experienced people close to me dying. Life changes you – and that colours what you do as an artist. Every joy and sadness is heard in your voice. If you’ve been working for three decades, then there’s going to be a depth of experience.
In those 30 years, the industry has changed so much. Social media has become a fantastic platform to launch careers. The sites are really beneficial for building a support base, especially when you’re just starting out. But, ultimately, it comes down to what you do when you are performing onstage. You can put up the best Instagram posts in the world, but if you can’t move an audience in the theatre, then it’s not really going to do anything.
Social media is a double-edged sword. It gives everybody a platform for an opinion, whether or not it’s wanted, needed or justified. And when you’re a performer, everybody has an opinion about you. Some say, “I hate Marina Prior.” Others love me. You can’t focus on people’s opinions. It’s socially crippling.
There’s a pressure on women to be beautiful, smart and successful. That’s the misogynistic world that we live in. It’s the male newsreader syndrome; they can be old, balding and wear glasses, but female newsreaders have to be every bit as good and look stunning.
Of course, I do want to look good, but I don’t focus on it too much. Ageing is
the one thing you can’t change; you get older and you get wiser. You just try to look as good as you can and laugh it off.
You can’t listen to noise because it’s just that. Winston Churchill said, “You’ll never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.” I don’t stop to throw stones. I just keep going where I’m going.
Marina’s tips for staring down the haters
1. Comparison is the thief of joy. Don’t compare yourself to anybody else.
2. Focus on your work, family and friends – not the opinions of others.
3. Don’t sweat the small stuff – as it’s mostly small stuff.