WHAT’S IT LIKE TO BE A...

Diva (UK) - - Welcome | Contents - Find out more about Leigh-ann’s work at re­gaan­man­age­ment.co.uk.

Tal­ent agent Leigh-ann Re­gan on her job in show-busi­ness

Leigh-ann Re­gan, 43, is the di­rec­tor of lead­ing UK tal­ent agency Re­gan Man­age­ment and Larca Cast­ing. She rep­re­sents a large per­cent­age of the ac­tors in Wales and across the rest of the UK, with over 200 on her books, and has also worked as a cast­ing di­rec­tor.

DIVA: What’s the best thing about your job?

LEIGH-ANN RE­GAN: Dis­cov­er­ing new tal­ent. When I was at the Ed­in­burgh Fringe a few years ago I spot­ted Tom Mack­ley. I signed him and he’s now play­ing the lead in Harry Pot­ter And The Cursed Child in the West End.

What’s the worst thing about your job?

Hav­ing to tell ac­tors that they didn’t get the part. I feel ter­ri­ble ev­ery time.

What did you want to be when you were grow­ing up?

A singer and an ac­tress. For years I played the lead in mu­si­cals such as Les Mis­er­ables, Gypsy and Fame, and ap­peared in TV dra­mas Lon­don’s Burn­ing and Ca­su­alty. It was go­ing re­ally well but I felt that my fu­ture was in busi­ness and as a tal­ent agent. I re­alised there were hardly any agents in Wales rep­re­sent­ing ac­tors back then. Also, be­ing an ac­tress my­self, I knew there were very few op­por­tu­ni­ties for Welsh ac­tors out­side of Wales and I wanted to change that.

What has been the big­gest chal­lenge in your pro­fes­sional life?

Rais­ing three chil­dren on my own and start­ing a new busi­ness at the same time has prob­a­bly been the big­gest chal­lenge I’ve ever faced. I re­mem­ber once be­ing in the liv­ing room, with my seven-year- old us­ing the sofa as a tram­po­line, my new­born baby boy in my arms and my three-year- old daugh­ter do­ing her best Hou­dini act, con­stantly climb­ing out of the “se­cure” pen – all this while I was on the phone ne­go­ti­at­ing con­tracts and deals. But I wouldn’t change a thing. The busi­ness has grown beyond my wildest dreams and I have a beau­ti­ful fam­ily.

What’s the fun­ni­est thing that’s hap­pened to you at work?

When I was cast­ing a mu­si­cal a few years ago, we held open au­di­tions for some­one to play a 25-year- old male – then an 85-year- old man with no teeth walks on stage and he couldn’t sing! That gave us a gig­gle for a few weeks. But it was lovely that he gave it a go and we did put him through to the next round.

Has your sex­u­al­ity or gen­der iden­tity ever been an is­sue?

Twenty years ago as an ac­tress, yes, def­i­nitely. If men in the in­dus­try were told I was gay back then they would usu­ally try and get me into bed to prove a point. Some peo­ple found it hard to be­lieve that I was ac­tu­ally a les­bian and wouldn’t take it se­ri­ously or re­spect that. Things have changed a lot, of course, and I’m proud to say that a large num­ber of the ac­tors I rep­re­sent iden­tify as LGBT.

Did you ever have any doubts about be­ing out at work?

I’ve al­ways been me. If any­one has a prob­lem with that, they re­ally shouldn’t be part of my world. I am open about my sex­u­al­ity and my part­ner and I of­ten go to events to­gether as a cou­ple. She is a jour­nal­ist and a Stonewall LGBT role model, so we are pretty out and proud to­gether!

Where do you see your­self in five years?

I will still be CEO of Re­gan Man­age­ment but I will also be in the first phase of set­ting up a dog res­cue cen­tre. As well as my day job, I am also of­fi­cially known as “crazy dog lady” and I have five dogs at home – Liza Minelli, Bo Jan­gles, Gra­cie Fields, Tup­pence and Arthur! Bo Jan­gles and Gra­cie Fields are res­cue dogs and it’s been amaz­ing to see them de­velop over the years from the sad and fright­ened lit­tle things they were when I first saw them to these lov­ing, con­fi­dent dogs they’ve now be­come. My dream is to be able to help more dogs like them.

What one su­per­power would make your job eas­ier?

To be able to clone my­self as and when needed so I could be ev­ery­where at once! My day starts at 7am when I get up, make sure the chil­dren are dressed and fed, with home­work in bags, and take them to school. Then I drive to the of­fice for var­i­ous meet­ings, cast­ings and work­shops and my phone doesn’t re­ally stop ring­ing ei­ther. At 3pm I leave work to get the chil­dren from school, come home and cook for them and spend time with them in the evening. So if any­one hears of a start-up com­pany of­fer­ing the means to clone com­pany di­rec­tors, do let me know and I will in­vest!

How do you mea­sure suc­cess?

I mea­sure it through how happy fam­ily life is at home. It’s great to see the com­pany de­velop. And ob­vi­ously a huge part of the job sat­is­fac­tion is when you see an ac­tor re­ceive an award at a big cer­e­mony. But what I en­joy most is fam­ily time where we all snug­gle up in front of the fire to watch a good film. They are such beau­ti­ful, clever, funny kids and when I look at them some­times, it takes my breath away that I ac­tu­ally cre­ated them. They, above all else, are my world.

TAL­ENT AGENT LEIGH-ANN RE­GAN RAISES THE CUR­TAIN ON HER JOB IN SHOW BUSI­NESS IN­TER­VIEW

CAR­RIE LYELL “The best thing about my job? Dis­cov­er­ing new tal­ent”

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