Whether she’s reciting The Schuyler Sisters at 3 in the morning, or seeing unknown plays, theatre is in the core of this girls being. Olivia Girling, graduate and self-proclaimed theatre nerd, has released her first issue of Finale, all about – you guessed it – theatre. If her Spotify playlist of 1,499 songs, spanning over 85 hours, shows anything, it is that she is one of musical theatres’ biggest fans. I caught up with her to discuss university life, graduating and what she learned whilst making this wonderful magazine!
Girling has spent the last three years studying Fashion Journalism at UCA, one of the UK’s best creative arts universities. She has recently graduated with very fond memories of her time there. “I loved my time at university. I met some amazing people that have now become my closest friends. We’ve barely finished and we’re already calling each other up about jobs we’ve seen that might suit them – we’ve got our own mini community.“
Whilst for most people university is the best time of their life, it isn’t always laughs. At some point you come to the realisation that it will cost a lot of money and takes full dedication. For Girling the hardest part was accepting that it will change you. “I, so badly, wanted to stay the same person throughout the three years, but that was foolish. University is such a massive life event – you make friends, you lose friends, you make enemies, you fail, you succeed, you learn. It’s a lot to deal with. You’ve just got to let it transpire – there’s no point trying to sway the outcome because what’s going to happen WILL happen, and it’s for a reason.
“Never compare yourself to others. It only ever leads to disappointment.”
Life doesn’t just stop after university. As someone who graduated a year ago, I can vouch that this is when the real hard work starts. As a student, you have some form of structure, loans coming in and a timetable to follow. Graduation brings freedom, a concept Olivia is looking forward to embracing. “A month ago, I knew what I needed to do day-by-day, but now it’s all up in the air! I’m more excited than scared, I think, I love the freedom. It’s just a case of cracking on immediately and emailing everyone you can! It’s my goal to get a graduate job before I can start enjoying the summer.”
When creating something, whether it be a magazine or a six-outfit collection, you are constantly learning and developing. You overcome obstacles you didn’t even know could exist and are forced to find new ways to carry on. Girling had her fair share of this, however she came out on top and with a new mantra, “Never compare yourself to others. It only ever leads to disappointment.”
She exercised this a lot during the dreaded final six months of university. It is very easy to look at what everyone else is doing and question yourself. Regarding this, Olivia told me, “The magazines that my peers and I have created could not be more different; theatre, spiritual healing, feminism, Brexit, grime music, dance. There’s no way to compare what we’re doing because we’re all exploring different estuaries. I was so absorbed with what those around me were doing that I started thinking I was nowhere near as good as them. The amazing thing about the creative industries is that they are subjective. It’s impossible to compare your ideas to someone else’s. If you’re confident in your own work then that’s all that matters.”
Olivia leaves us with two final sentiments. The first is her advice for aspiring writers. “Read! Read all the time. Whether it’s literature or the news, make sure your brain is always ticking. Not only are you opening your mind to fiction, or the world, but your vocabulary will be expanding like CRAZY. After finishing my dissertation, I kept on whipping out words that I’d never used before. All because I’d been reading academic literature for three months straight!”
The second is a play she recommends that you probably haven’t heard of before.“I was lucky enough to see Murder for Two during its super short run at The Other Palace in March. It’s your standard whodunit story line, but twisted into an absolutely hilarious musical comedy. There’s only two people in the cast, but they portray 13 characters effortlessly. Unfortunately, its run has finished but I’m praying they bring it back. The soundtrack is on Spotify though – have a listen!”
Words by Hayley North