Gretel Scarlett is an Australian performing artist currently performing the role of Sandy in Grease the Musical, previously she has performed in Mamma Mia! and Wicked the Musical. We were fortunate to find out a little more about her.
Hi Gretel and welcome to Beauty and Lace
When did you know you wanted to be a performing artist? Was there ever anything else you wanted to do?
Ever since I was a little girl, I always knew I wanted to pursue a career in performing. I loved going to dance class, singing and speech & drama lessons. I thrived off rehearsing and constantly being busy. If I wasn’t at school, I spent most of my waking moments at the performance studio. It was my social time and I felt completely fulfilled every time I stepped foot on stage.
However, I did study nuclear medicine when I went to the University of Sydney. I had a moment where I was contemplating back up plans, as this is a very unstable industry. But my life turned around during that phase and took me back on this path and I’ve been very lucky to not turn away since!
You graduated from the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts as well as undertaking training in Classical Voice, Speech, Drama, RAD Classical Ballet, Contemporary, FATD Jazz and Tap. How did you fit in all of that training and why such a wide variety?
Growing up, I danced 7 days a week and had singing and speech/drama lessons 1-2 times a week. I lived and breathed performing arts and in this industry, versatility is a big advantage. You never know what a director, choreographer or musical director may ask you to do!
Can you tell us a little about the experience of singing the National Anthem at the 2013 NRL State of Origin in Brisbane?
It was a phenomenal night – one of the most magical moments of my life. To be in front of a crowd on my own state soil, was a dream come true. When I stood up at the microphone, I saw the stadium stand and for a second, I inhaled and thought how wonderful life is for me and how lucky I was to have this opportunity.
Currently you are playing Sandy in Grease the musical, can you tell us a little about how you landed the role and what sort of schedule you are on with the show?
I originally didn’t audition for the role of Sandy, I had submitted myself for any of the Pink Ladies. The audition process was over 2 weeks (one week in Melbourne, one week in Sydney) in front of the UK and Australian creatives and producers. They kept calling me back to read and sing Sandy material and eventually they asked me to fly from Melbourne to Sydney, and it ended with myself and Rob Mills reading opposite each other. There was an immediate chemistry which apparently the panel witnessed. We perform 8 shows a week (sometimes 9 shows when we were in Brisbane); Tuesday night, Wednesday matinee, Wednesday night, Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday matinee, Saturday night and Sunday matinee.
How do you keep in shape with such a full schedule?
I am actually very blessed to have great genes that my parents have passed on to me. The show is very physical but to keep healthy and well, I always eat very good food. I am a vegetarian, so I tend to make all my meals, packed with vegetables.
What’s your number one fitness tip?
I believe holding your core is essential to getting the most out of any form of fitness. It makes sure your alignment and posture is correct, and I believe it helps your body get the maximum out of all movements.
You must be on the move quite a bit, how do you deal with eating on the run?
I always carry natural sugar snacks or nuts/dried fruit bars. I like to make my own superfood snacks too, packed with nuts, fruit, coconut oil, agave – they are easy and quick to grab before work. If I know it’s going to be a busy week, I prepare my meals for the week on my day off.
Spending so much time on the stage must have you pretty heavily made up, how does that affect your natural complexion? Have you got any makeup or clear skin tips for our readers?
I am from the school of thought that less-is-more! I’ve had terrible experiences in the past with excessive 5 step programs for skin care. It generally takes your first stage show to figure out what make up is best for your complexion. I have sensitive skin, so I have figured out that it’s important that the make up I use is non-comedogenic as we sweat a lot. I use natural products and a tip I would suggest is to always give your face recovery time.
What has been your career highlight to date?
It has to be playing “Sandy” in Grease. It’s a dream come true to be leading a musical in Australia, so this has to be my major highlight.
What’s next for Gretel Scarlett?
I’m continuing with Grease to Perth and Adelaide until mid 2014, so I’ll have to wait and see!
What does being a woman mean to you?
I love being a woman. The clothing, the shoes, the makeup, the hair… It’s wonderful to celebrate femininity, intelligence, strength and beauty!