Amelia Brooks made her screen debut playing lead character Grace in Rebel Cheer Squad – A Get Even Series, which was launched earlier this year on BBC iPlayer and is set to be released internationally on Netflix. Continuing her training, Amelia is currently studying acting and performing arts at Northbrook Metropolitan College and also attends The Apollo Academy, with whom she performed in their 2019 production of Spring Awakening. Talking with us, Amelia chats about playing Grace in Rebel Cheer Squad, having the show as her professional acting debut and training with Northbrook Metropolitan College and The Apollo Academy.
You’ve recently been seen playing lead character Grace in Rebel Cheer Squad – A Get Even Series, how did it feel booking your first screen role?
Oh my goodness, it felt so amazing, it’s a cliché but it really was a dream come true! The whole audition process was so much fun, and I feel incredibly lucky to have had this as my first screen job, getting the phone call telling me I’d been cast was very, very special!
Had you seen Series 1 of Get Even before booking your role and what drew you to the series?
I hadn’t! I watched it for the first time with my younger sister after my third or fourth recall for Grace, and we both absolutely loved it. The main thing that drew me to the show was the fact it was female-led, and had a strong sense of female presence throughout, with these amazing characters who all had their own strengths and individualities, it was very refreshing to see!
What was Grace like to play and how was it preparing for the role?
Getting to play Grace really was an amazing experience, in some ways we’re very similar, and I see lots of myself in her, especially from when I was at school, so it was very easy to relate to her from the start when preparing for the role. It was such a pleasure to play a character that really values her relationships with people, and stands up for what she believes in, even if she has to face consequences. I definitely learnt lots from my time playing Grace, and hope that the younger girls watching the show also take away some of her kindness and her determination.
Was there anything you enjoyed most about being on set of the TV show and being part of the Rebel Cheer Squad cast?
Oh my goodness, I could talk about this for ages, haha, everything! It really was the best time, I enjoyed every single second of the whole experience, and the cast were one of the best parts. We genuinely became like a family, and spent every day together without fail, the amount of hours we spent in the bowling alley next to our hotel when we weren’t on set or at cheer practice is unmatched. I definitely made friends for life on that job, and my fellow members of DGM, Ashling (O’Shea) and Lashay (Anderson) have a special place in my heart.
How was it seeing the completed series for the first time?
It was very emotional! It was an absolute whirlwind of feelings watching it for the first time, I think the last scene in Episode 8 actually made me weep, haha. It was just so heartwarming to see something you worked so hard on turn out better than you could’ve imagined, whilst also reminding you of some of the best months of your life! I felt very proud, and very, very grateful.
The series was well-received by viewers on BBC iPlayer, what was this like and why would you recommend watching it?
I’m so glad people enjoy the show! I really think it’s because of the amazing characters that Holly Phillips (our writer) created, alongside the world of Gretchen McNeil’s Get Even. I think they all each have something that people at home can identify with, which is very special. I would recommend watching the show because it’s essentially driven by love and friendship, amongst all the mystery and Pom Poms! And it has some really beautiful messages that people can take away from all the different characters’ stories and journeys.
Rebel Cheer Squad is set to be released on Netflix later this year, what are you looking forward to most for seeing it on the streaming service?
I’m just excited for more people to be able to see it, it’s so crazy to me that soon our little show will be available worldwide!
I can’t wait to see more people responding and relating to the characters and their stories, and it’s also so lovely to see that young people are seeing themselves represented in our show.
Where does your love of acting come from and what encouraged you to become an actor?
I guess I’ve grown up acting! From when I was probably around three, I’ve been singing, acting and dancing so it’s kind of all I’ve ever known, it’s been such a big part of my life, I don’t really know how to do anything else!
I just have such a great passion and love for it, I just couldn’t imagine myself, and wouldn’t want to do anything other than this!
Can you tell us about your training, which has seen you attend Northbrook Metropolitan College and The Apollo Academy?
Yes! I’m currently still in sixth form college studying acting and performing arts at Northbrook MET for my A-Levels, although I’m very nearly done now! And alongside this, I attend the Apollo Theatre Arts academy, both of these are so, so wonderful and have taught me lots! We work with so many amazing tutors who we all value very much, and have shared with us their passion and wisdom for performing. I’m very grateful to have had the teaching I’ve had from these schools!
What are you enjoying most about training and can you tell us about some of the shows you’ve performed in whilst there?
The thing I’ve enjoyed the most about my training so far is being in a space with like-minded people who share the same passions and love for what we do, and the opportunity to create theatre every day! I was in a production of Spring Awakening in 2019 with Apollo, which has a very special place in my heart!
What are some of your favourite films, TV and theatre shows to watch, and which would you like to see that you haven’t done so as yet?
That’s such a hard question! I love anything by Wes Anderson, I think stylistically his work is so beautiful! I’d have to say one of my favourite films is About Time, which is a Richard Curtis film, it’s just so heartwarming, and has an amazing soundtrack, definitely a film for a cosy day! I’m a big fan of Peaky Blinders, I think it’s just the coolest, and I also have such a love for shows like Stath Let’s Flats and This Country – definitely my humour in a TV show. I also recently saw Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club in London and it absolutely blew my mind so that’s a must-see if you can!
Have you been given any advice over the years that has stuck with you and what advice would you give someone starting their acting training?
I think something I’ve learnt from most of the people who have given me advice is the importance of losing any inhibitions you might have, I think the ability to not be afraid of looking stupid or taking up space is something that’s very transformational in performing, I learnt this and it changed the way I approached anything in acting. It also just makes things exciting, and it’s so fun to just feel you can trust your natural instincts and make the choices you want to make in the moment!
How do you like to spend your time away from acting?
I spend lots of time singing and playing my guitar, I enjoy songwriting so spend time doing that where I can! I also live in Brighton so whenever the sun’s slightly out I’m straight to the beach, haha!
What are you hoping 2022 brings for your career?
Honestly, as much work as possible!
I’m very eager and excited to just spend all my time doing what I love, filming Rebel Cheer Squad was some of the best months of my life, so just being on a set again would be the ideal for this year!
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