Isabel Warrington: ‘Being vulnerable is OK too, even though not everyone is comfortable with that’

 Visual and performing artist Isabel Warrington tells all in our Q&A

Photo: James Bianchi
Photo: James Bianchi

Isabel Warrington is a visual and performing artist. She is well known for her Caricatures, however last year she held a solo exhibition showing her introspective work, as well as watercolour landscapes, a recent addition to her diverse repertoire. She is also a costume designer and her love of fantasy and the stage create an eclectic mix that find their way into her art. Warrington is playing Annie Wilkes in Masquerade’s production of ‘Misery by William Goldman’ at the Blue Box, M Space, between 18 and 26 February. A dream role she has wanted to play for a long time. For more on Warrington’s work visit 

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Make a mental map of the day ahead.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

‘This too shall pass’. My mother’s wise words. Whenever things are difficult it makes the situation much more bearable.

What do you never leave the house without?

My house key.

Pick three words that describe yourself

Free-spirited, creative, unfinished.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Turning my passions into my livelihood and creating a business entirely from the arts.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Watching horror movies on a weekend afternoon with my cats.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

When you reach rock-bottom the only way is up.

Property and cars aside what’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?

Apple products. That’s the one working tool I will never change – I love them. I only buy them out of necessity, but when I do, I really enjoy them till their last dying breath.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?

That you don’t always have to be OK. Being vulnerable is OK too, even though not everyone is comfortable with that.

Who’s your inspiration?

There isn’t one person in particular. It’s mostly people with a positive attitude to life who succeed despite all odds. I love hearing about challenges that people overcome. They don’t necessarily have to be well-known people, even everyday people who manage to supersede the hurdles that life throws at them.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Overcoming my shyness. Most people don’t imagine that I was once a very shy person. It was a big handicap when I was growing up and I was fed up of being that way. Theatre played a big part in building my self-confidence. I found my ‘tribe’ there and stepping well out of my comfort zone time and again were a huge step towards overcoming shyness.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be doing?    

Most likely selling real estate because I absolutely LOVE property! I’ve always had an interest in it since I was a child. Other things I’ve considered exploring in my life have been: anthropology, archaeology and garden design.

Do you believe in God?

I do. I don’t subscribe to any religion but I do believe in living an ethical life. My idea of God is perhaps less conventional than what I was taught, and it is forever evolving.

If you could have dinner with any person, dead or alive, who would it be?

Ricky Gervais. I admire his work and he seem to be an interesting and approachable person. He is also an animal lover as well as a great comedian.

What’s your worst habit?

Pushing myself too hard even when I’m tired.

What are you like when you’re drunk?

I don’t get drunk very often any more cos alcohol doesn’t agree with me very much. When I was younger it would make me even more hyper and loud than I was. Nowadays people who don’t know me very well think I’m a little drunk cos I’m still quite hyper and animated when I’m in a sociable setting.

Who would you have play you in a film?

A drag queen.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?


What music would you have played at your funeral?

‘In the mood’ by Glenn Miller, when my coffin is being carried into the funeral parlour by a troupe of tap dancers. I’d like my funeral to be a celebration of my life, not a sombre event, so it should be full of light and colour. ‘Come Fly with Me’, ‘Beyond the Sea’ and ‘Starman’ amongst others.

What is your most treasured material possession?

My home.

What is your earliest memory?

Difficult to say if it was my earliest memory, but it was my older sister trying to put me to sleep one afternoon. My mum left her in charge of me and she tried to hypnotize me with a pendulum. I kept pretending I was falling asleep and every time she’d attempt to leave the room, I’d call her name. What a pest!!

When did you last cry, and why?

A couple of weeks ago at the funeral of an ex-colleague.

Who would you most like to meet?

I don’t know.

What’s your favourite food?


Who’s your favourite person on social media right now?

I don’t have one favourite person but I do like to follow several artists whose work I admire.

If you could travel in time, where would you go?

I’d love to see what Malta was like through the millennia.

What book are you reading right now?

I tend to ‘dip into’ books. I haven’t read a book from cover to cover in a while. I like to read books about the human psyche.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

To solve the waste problem in the world. It’s a big concern of mine the way we humans are destroying the planet at such an alarming rate. Our way of life creates more and more garbage and it only seems to be getting worse.

What’s one thing you want to do before you die?

To instil a love of nature and greenery in the Maltese nation. In my lifetime I’ve seen so much destruction of nature’s gems throughout the Maltese islands. It takes a lot of effort for me to not get depressed about it when I see the chaotic overdevelopment and the wanton destruction of our natural environment.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

The range of what I listen to depends on my mood. It could be anything from swing to salsa, disco to rock. Whatever it is, it’s always upbeat. I don’t like sad songs at all because music really affects my mood and I don’t like feeling sad.

In the shower or when you’re working out, what do you sing/listen to?

Cheesy disco hits from the 70s and 80s.