Today we’re joined by Maeve Forde. Maeve is a phenomenal actress and writer. Her main passion is acting and she acts in sketch comedy, plays, short films, and television. Recently she has written and acted in a webseries entitled, “Suddenly Super?” which is now available on YouTube. When she’s not acting, Maeve enjoys writing and currently has a novel in the works. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I’m an actor and a writer. I list actor first, because that’s my primary job right now (even though I’m still starting out and I have other jobs to pay the bills) but I’m also a writer. I’ll write just about anything – I’ve got a novel in the works, I’ve written a web series that is out now on YouTube, I’ve written fanfiction for years. I’ll act in just about anything too – so far I’ve done sketch comedy, plays, web series, short films, and television.
What inspires you?
A lot of times when I start to write, I have a specific scene, line, or emotion in mind that I’ll come up with that I really want to nail, so I’ll fill in everything else around that. Ultimately, the scenes and lines come from an emotional basis anyway for the characters, so I’m inspired by the idea that I can make these characters feel something and make it honest and earned. I know that art can have an impact so I use my writing a lot to explore different emotions and different power dynamics, but I always want to make sure that it all makes sense and doesn’t feel forced or like I’m trying to force an audience to feel something that’s not there.
I have a similar approach to acting. I’m inspired by what’s in the script primarily, but while taking into account that emotional impact. So, I guess I’m inspired by that impact; I’m inspired by the idea that when someone is taking in the art I’ve made, I’m trying to make sure they get something out of it, so my job is to ensure they do.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I’ve been writing creatively for pretty much as long as I could write at all. I remember being in grade school and having like special notebooks to write stories in when we had downtime in class. I always dreamed of being a published author. I wrote a lot of original stuff until high school, when I wrote almost exclusively fanfiction. I’m 22 now, and in the past three or four years or so I’ve been getting back into writing original stories in various forms.
I acted in school plays growing up, but it wasn’t something I wanted to do until high school. High school was when I started getting really into fandom and writing fanfiction and I started getting connected to characters rather than to stories, because it was individual characters that brought me into fandom rather than overarching plots and mythologies. And since I got so into characters and how they interacted, it got into my head that I could play characters one day, and that’s how I got serious about acting. I didn’t really tell anyone for a while that I was interested in acting seriously but I’d act out the stories I wrote, and then once I got to college (to study History) I took acting more seriously and auditioned for student projects there.
Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?
I have a rule for myself now that I always include queer characters and that none of them die. It’s not really a signature and it’s not something I can really control when I’m acting in someone else’s piece, but for my own writing, it’s a definite rule.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
It is okay to take time to figure out what you want! And it is okay to want multiple things! I studied history in college and right out of school, I had a job in a history museum because that was a dream of mine, too. There’s this myth that in order to be a ~real artist~ you have to go for it entirely. There’s this romanticized idea especially regarding actors but really in probably every facet of artistry, that says you shouldn’t have a safety net and that romanticizes the idea of being on your last few dollars but being so committed to ~the art~. There is nothing wrong with doing it halfway until you can do it fully. There’s nothing wrong with doing it halfway, or 70% of the way, or 12% of the way, or whatever if that’s what you want. Whether you act professionally or you act once a year in your local community theater, you’re still an actor.
You can have a day job in an office or a restaurant or a library or whatever and still be an artist. Your level of commitment is up to you, and no part of it needs to be performative. If you’re comfortable going all in, good for you! Do it! If you aren’t, you don’t have to! You don’t have to be one thing, you don’t have to struggle and suffer for your art if it can be avoided, and you can change your mind about all of that at any time. Commitment is good, but it’s also flexible. Let it bend so it doesn’t break.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I identify as asexual panromantic.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
To be honest, I’m pretty closeted professionally, especially in acting circles. I’ve yet to do anything that required any sex scenes or anything like that, though I am generally open to it. Right now, I feel like as an actor starting out, it’s in my best interest to keep it quiet. Even in roles that don’t include sex scenes, there is still a lot of expectation on female characters, and in turn their actors, to be seen as sexual beings. We still see actors struggle to get work after coming out as gay, so there’s still an atmosphere, especially among actors starting out, to keep it quiet, because no matter how good our acting may be, there are still people who, when they know we are out and see our work, will still refuse to see our character as anything other than what we are out as. I’ve had conversations along those lines with people in and out of the industry, who just love to mention that when an actor is out, they “just can’t see their character as straight.” Bonus points if the actor comes out while their tv show/movie series is still in progress, and the person just outright adds an “anymore” to the end. There’s a definite, accepted attitude that queer actors don’t need to be believed when they play straight and that it’s a-okay to just admit that. There are pretty famous actors who are out as ace like Janeane Garofalo and other famous people who are out and it doesn’t seem to have affected their work, but many came out after they were already solidly in their field. So, I think I have a ways to go until I can be more comfortably openly out, though I am out with one actor I worked with on a play.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That something can ~turn~ us at some point. I’m open about my asexuality with romantic partners pretty much from the start, especially on dating apps. I’ve had quite a few encounters on apps along the lines of “well you haven’t found the right person.”
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
I would tell that it whatever they are feeling is okay. It’s tough to find a label that fits, it’s tough to accept that orientations are on a spectrum and they may move around on that spectrum or they may not, it’s tough to know that there are people who won’t understand and won’t bother to try. But the most important thing is that you feel what you feel. You can’t run from what you feel, and what you feel is okay. It’s good. I live in the US, so I know the culture around sex here can be really, really tricky to navigate but it is easier when you know where you’re going. There are a lot of great resources to make you feel more comfortable in the ace community; I know that when I first figured out I was ace I panicked but then I looked around on the internet and found a whole community of people like me. It helped to see people of all ages, of all backgrounds so comfortable with who they were. So, if you’re struggling, reach out. You don’t even need to talk to anyone; just seeing someone be comfortable in their skin to can be enough to make everyone else a little more comfortable.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
My Instagram is at maeve.forde and my web series “Suddenly Super?” is on YouTube now at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCL-prcEKVIVCY5Zoz3rXDCQ.
Thank you, Maeve, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.