Davinia Hamilton: ‘My guiltiest pleasure? I never feel guilty about pleasure’

The multilingual performer, writer and activist Davinia Hamilton tells all in our Q&A

Davinia Hamilton. Photo by Michael Shelford
Davinia Hamilton. Photo by Michael Shelford

The multilingual performer, writer and activist has played leading and feature roles in venues such as The Vaults, COLAB Factory, Battersea Arts Centre, Rich Mix, Arts Admin, The Etcetera Theatre, Blue Elephant Theatre, the Royal College of Art, and The Manoel Theatre. One of the founding members of Firetree, as a writer Hamilton is inspired by identity, art, language, psychoanalysis, and the sea. Most recently, her poetry has been published in CatheXis Northwest Press, The Esthetic Apostle, and in Tilde Literary Journal. She will be starring in Panto in the Dark this weekend at Spazju Kreattiv

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

Wash my face, feed the cat, make a cup of coffee, listen to the headlines.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

A quote by the author David Foster Wallace: “You will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do.”

What do you never leave the house without?

Phone, keys, wallet, and a notebook.

Pick three words that describe yourself

Introspective, creative, political.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

I am always at my happiest when I am on stage, whether here or in London. I’ve always wanted to perform, so I am proud of myself for persisting.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

I never feel guilty about pleasure.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

If you have the option to be kind, be kind. Especially when it’s really difficult.

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

My laptop.

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

Nobody really knows what they’re doing; everyone is just sort of winging it.

Who’s your inspiration?

People. I’m inspired by what it is to be human.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Choosing to ignore people who, often with the best intentions, told me I was too much of a dreamer. When people try to tell you who you are, I find it’s best to disregard their advice.

If you weren’t an actor what would you be doing?      

Apart from acting, I also write poetry, design websites, and manage a women’s rights campaign in the UK. I am currently trying to put together a PhD proposal, so I hope academia might be somewhere in my not-too-distant future.

Do you believe in God?

Not in any orthodox sense.

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

Rosa Luxemburg.

What’s your worst habit?

Randomly breaking into song. I usually don’t realise I’m doing it until someone points it out when I’m midway through some earworm.

What are you like when you’re drunk?

I philosophise obnoxiously, usually in song.

Who would you have play you in a film?

Melanie Lynskey or Sara Ramirez.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Snobbery.

What music would you have played at your funeral?
My best friend already knows the answer to this, but I’m afraid she is sworn to secrecy.

What is your most treasured material possession?

My books. It’s a bit of a problem, because I’m running out of physical space, but I can’t bring myself to give them away. I’m one of those people who highlight and annotate as they read, so my books are filled with marginalia that is expanded upon with every reading.

What is your earliest memory?

At home, as a toddler, listening to Rush and Whitesnake when my uncle was babysitting.

When did you last cry, and why?

A good friend of mine died a few weeks ago, so crying is not a rare occurrence right now.

Who would you most like to meet?

The film director Ari Aster, to beg for a role in his next film.

What’s your favourite food?

Depends on the mood I’m in. For something quick, I have it on good authority that I make the best scrambled eggs in the world. But if I am going out to eat, I tend to go for Japanese food.

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

Since the beginning of the UK electoral campaign, Jeremy Corbyn has been killing it on social media. As I write this, I don’t yet know what the result of the election will be, but either way, his social media team deserves a lot of credit for the excellent content.

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

Paris, May 1968.

What book are you reading right now?

I’ve usually got at least three or four on the go. Currently, my bedtime reading is My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh. I’m also reading The Human Condition by Hannah Arendt, and I’m enjoying re-reading The Dream of a Common Language by Adrienne Rich.

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

Teleportation. I dislike flying, but I love travelling. Problem solved.

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

Live.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

As I answer this, I’m listening to An Awesome Wave by Alt-J. Before that, it was Grace by Jeff Buckley.

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

In the shower, I sing Radiohead. When I’m working out, I listen to Die Antwoord or Rob Zombie.

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