Emina Ashman: A Q&A With The Actor, Writer, And Performance Artist

What is it you do?

Primarily, I’m a performer, but I often tend to create art and develop my artistic practice in a cross-disciplinary way. In the performing arts industry, I work across varying creative fields such as acting, visual art, poetry and play-writing, At this point in time, I juggle between acting on stage in productions of new contemporary works and working on my creative writing, focusing on poetry and writing for theatre, with the intention of performing in these pieces of work in the distant future.

What is the most surprising thing about you that most people don’t know?

I recite the hydrological cycle in my head as a mantra when I get scared.

What’s a typical day like in your life?

At the moment, I’m in rehearsals for a theatre production so my day will start off with me buying a coffee and croissant in the morning on my way to the theatre, rehearsing, grabbing some lunch, rehearsing a little more and then I’ll either do some exercise in the form of flamenco dancing or I’ll work on some of my own writing. Later on in the night, I try to go and sit by the river and night to reflect on the day before I head to bed after some reading or listening to music.

Emina, pictured with her mother

What’s the hardest thing you have had to deal with in your life?

The passing of my father. It came four weeks in of me moving to Melbourne by myself and starting drama school. It’s a harrowing thought, knowing that he won’t be there for many more milestones in my life.

What motivates you to keep going when the going gets tough?

By encouraging my self to keep ‘undulating’ through the ever-changing course of life. It also helps to keep reminding myself of how strong and resilient I am.

How do you relax when you’re not working?

I listen to soul and funk, admire my crystals, catch up with friends, read books on geology, go out dancing or eat cake.

What tools do you use that are indispensable? What can you not live without?

I can’t live without music. That’s not a tool, but I guess Spotify is pretty addictive (and necessary).

What books/documentaries would you recommend for someone who’d like to go into theatre?

Different Every Night by Mike Alfreds, Respect for Acting by Uta Hagen, The Body Speaks by Lorna Marshall are some great books about the craft of acting, but really as many plays as you can get your hands on.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

I’m currently rehearsing on a new play called ‘Hungry Ghosts’. It’s about how we perceive as ‘cultural identity’ and the nature and intensity of how we may associate and attach ourselves to it whilst using metaphors around the missing disappearance of flight MH370.

Your all time favourite song?

“Weather With You” by Crowded House

If you could give advice to your younger self, what would it be?

Do not see your sensitivity as something to be ashamed of. Speaking from your heart is a healing and revealing your feelings shows inner beauty and strength, not weakness. You can be as touchy-feely, airy-fairy as you wish!