Susie Porter on resilience & reinvention

Wentworth star told Women in TV breakfast she battled unemployment & alcohol to reinvent herself.

To make it in the entertainment industry Susie Porter is a staunch believer in the importance of resilience.

Speaking at the Women in Television breakfast this week, the Wentworth star recalled some of the lowest points in her career and how tough times had shaped her character.

Attending the prestigious midnight screening of Welcome to Woop Woop in Cannes in 1997, an excited Porter had been told her life was about to change forever.

“I was told to get ready for the big time,” she recalled.

But the film bombed, with boos and hisses from the audience.

“A film with a $10m budget barely made over $500,000 at the box office,” she explained.

“I went straight into making pineapple, mint and lime frappes at Sloane Rangers on Oxford Street. I went from a film set to 8 hour shifts in a juice bar. How did this happen? ‘How could life be so unfair?’ I thought.”

But The Artist’s Way written by Julia Cameron helped her to claw her way back.

“I wrote what are known as ‘morning pages,’ took myself on ‘Artist’s dates,’ visualised my future and cut off all my hair. Like a phoenix from the ashes I had reinvented myself.”

After an audition for erotic thriller The Monkey’s Mask her 2 year acting drought had been broken.

“Once more it confirmed to me that resilience and reinvention were key to my survival in the entertainment industry. A couple of years later I reinvented another part of my life. A part that was becoming unhealthy, destructive and dangerous.

“With money in my pocket and time on my hands my drinking started to get out of control. My life was full of broken promises, broken relationships, and hangovers. I felt like I was not reaching my full potential as an actor or as a person.

“In 2001 I made the decision to quit drinking completely. This has turned out to be one of the best reinventions of all.

“Resilience and the ability to bounce back into shape has been invaluable. But like most things in life resilience is something that can’t be taught. It has to be experienced. When we experience difficult times and we survive, that’s when we gain resilience.”

Porter also skilled up to broaden her work opportunities.

“I learned the art of voice-overs for commercials and documentaries and had time to work with some of the animal welfare charities that I belong to,” she continued.

“Throughout my career I’ve also looked at the things that were no longer working for me and I’ve had to change them. The choice to be healthy and look after my mental health has been paramount.

“Again, reinvention is the key. Disappointment, mistakes and failures are just a part of life. It’s important that we accept them, learn from them and keep moving forward.”

4 Responses

  1. An interesting interview with one of my all time favourite Australian actresses.
    Yes, the ability to bounce back and reinvent yourself would be vital in a career like acting, which has so many ups and downs along the way.
    Susie is such an inspiration, as well as being a damn fine actor.

  2. I love her comment about resilience. I teach at a senior college and the students bail out all the time reluctant to take advice about resilience. I’m going to share her thoughts with my students next term 🙂

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