Former model, Hollyoaks alumni and now comedic impresario James Redmond talks about how v, the National Young Volunteers Service has made voluntary work trendy, his 2010 dreams and being a career chameleon.
You hosted last year’s vinspired awards for volunteers working with the v charity. Do you feel a responsibility to raise awareness of good causes because you are in the public eye? Yes definitely. If you are lucky enough to be in a position where people are interested in what you have to say then I think its important to use that interest to influence change for the better.
What makes v different to other organisations, why do you support them?
Because it gives young people the power to be creative and it provides a vehicle for young people to be heard. Volunteers can create their own causes and unique methods of volunteering. The work can be fun and can also help develop skills that will kick start a young persons careers or even help them to set up their own business in the future.
What were your experiences as a volunteer when growing up?
Poor. I was either forced, or at coerced into ‘volunteering’ while at school and it could get a little boring. I did end up enjoying working with help the aged – funny old people!
When was the last time someone inspired you?
People inspire me daily. I’m in Thailand at the moment and today it was the Thai chef who failed to rise to provocation from an English tourist and patiently and courteously gave him his breakfast.
Who’s been the biggest influence in your life?
Biggest influence on my life? Me! I think that’s true of everyone. What’s the point of being only a secondary character in one’s life story?
You are going through a career change, what would you say drives you to keep seeking new experiences? What advice would you give people looking to change career?
The most stimulating thing is learning a new skill. Life is short, I want to reach the end knowing I had a go at all of my favoured careers. I’ve tried music, fashion, football, acting and presenting…with varied success, now for the big one! Its all about stand up comedy for me now- might just be a mid-life crisis though [Laughs.] I say just go for what excites you, if it works out great. If it doesn’t at least you know you gave it a shot.
When modelling what did you get out of bed for?
Between 10k and nothing at all, sometimes you work for free to boost your career, I was lucky to work with some hugely talented people…and some extremely hot girls.
Are you still in touch with the Hollyoaks crew?
Yeah, I was on the show for three years [playing Finn.] And I lived with Matt Littler [Max] so I’m still in touch with him and a few of the others.
What’s had the most impact on you? Modelling, acting or comedy?
Comedy, easily. I’ve been obsessed with it since I could talk and if you think about it we all use it far more frequently than any other art form.
How’s it going on the comedy circuit ?
Really encouragingly well thanks, I’m just learning at this stage but everyone has been very supportive and I think I’m doing okay…well people laugh anyway. I did actually go to comedy night school before I started getting up on stage though!
Can you tell us a joke?
Knock knock? Who’s there? The 1970s…when comedians got up and told jokes. I’ll tell you a story if you like, how much cash you got?
£10 any good?
No dice I’m afraid [Laughs.]
What’s been your most embarrassing moment on stage?
Forgetting to do the big reveal at the end of a play, it was kinda pivotal to the plot….
Do you ever watch yourself back on TV?
Yep, always. All actors do, even if they say they don’t. You can only learn by doing so. It’s like getting beach holiday photos back, having a look and thinking “Christ, I shouldn’t pull that face again/ God, I’m ugly/ fat…s***why do I do that?” etc. You know how to better your performance in front of the camera for next time!
What are your hopes for 2010?
To keep going with the comedy, work on my presenting & acting skills and stay positive…oh and for England to win the world cup, with Stevie G playing a major role. COME ON ENGLAND!
For more information on v, visit www.vinspired.com
James will be performing at The Comedy Night at the Watermans Arts Centre – London 28 February 2010 tickets are £10.00
Words by Mary Bello