Listen: Penny McNamee chats to Hope 103.2 Breakfast team about her break into acting. Image source: Facebook
Home and Away star Penny McNamee’s journey into acting was a slightly unusual one.
After deciding she wanted to work in showbiz, the singer and actor headed to the local library, grabbed copy of the Showcast book, then began phoning every agent in Sydney one by one—until someone took a gamble, and invited her in for a chat.
She showed off her singing skills, ended up with a role in a musical in Melbourne, and eventually was signed with the agent.
Today, Penny is one of the latest stars of Home and Away, playing Dr Tori Morgan, and has played guest TV roles in Australian shows such as All Saints, White Collar Blue and The Harringtons. She’s also starred in musicals like Wicked and US TV series like The Pacific, Blue Bloods and Elementary.
No Path into Showbiz is ‘Normal’
While hers was not the typical route into the industry, no path is ‘normal’, said Penny, in a chat with Hope 103.2 during our O-Week interview series.
Many people step into entertainment via the more traditional paths such as acting schools like NIDA, but Penny said no method is easy.
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“Look it’s so hard, every person’s story is so different; everyone’s path into the industry is so different,” she said.
Penny might be considered Home and Away’s new star, but she’s been in the game 15 years now. Yet still, roles roles aren’t easy to come by.
“Rejection is a big part of the industry,” she told Laura and Duncan. “One thing I’ve learned from being in the industry is that your self-worth isn’t tied to whether or not you get the job.”
Typically an actor only gets about 10 percent of the roles they go for. So learning to navigate rejection and tie your identity to something other than your jobs become crucial in the industry.
To Become an Actor, Work on Your Craft
Penny’s advice for any actor looking to break into the market now is simple: get into acting school and work at your craft.
With the advent of reality TV, there are many people attempting to get into the business, but the most credible way is to sign up at an acting school and develop your skills.
To hear more from Penny MacNamee, including her thoughts on acting in the USA and which two people she’d most love to meet, listen to the full interview above.
See the full O-Week interview series below.