Scherrikar Bell, actor
Scherrikar Bell didn't attend drama school, but has cultivated an acting career through training courses and on-the-job experience.
How did your career begin?
My career as an actress began when I was 21 - I randomly went to an open audition for the Off-West End play "Oh What a Lovely War!" I auditioned and got the role! It was so surreal as I was studying at university at the time and never saw myself as an actress. But my mind set changed because of this role.
I used the rehearsal process as my training ground, I learnt so much from the director Deidre Malynn and from the cast. It was on stage that I realised how powerful and satisfying comedy was to me.
My character was a comedic soldier and nearly every other word I said was a gag which had the audience in stitches. I made it my mission to never forget that feeling and to fulfil my new dream as an actress.
Did you have any formal training?
I didn’t have much interest in spending time at drama school because I had just finished a 3 year degree at Roehampton and I was being cast in various short films and indie project without training.
You will always benefit from having some training.
However there were plenty auditions that I absolutely bombed because I couldn’t quite understand how to interpret a script and bring the story and character alive. This is when I began training part time at The Young Person's Theatre Company in Camden.
It was great! It gave me the tools and extra confidence I needed and I definitely grew into a better actress for it. Even until this day I still train, I do as many workshops and part time classes I can afford and have time for.
What I will say is that creating my own showreel helped a lot! You cannot be untrained and not have a showreel and expect a production to want to hire you or get you in the room.
How did your career unfold?
My second job was an independent comedy feature film called "Le fear 2". The majority of the film was improvised which was pretty cool and allowed me to be so free with my comedy again which was fab!
After that I put a showreel together and got an agent. This then opened more doors for me. Over the years I was cast in Eastenders, BBC Doctors and Netflix's Todd Margaret. All of these shows were great to work on.
I was then cast in Bridget Jones's Baby and I’ve been the lead in two commercials - one for HSBC and the other for Soap and Glory Skincare.
What's been your favourite moment as an actor?
My family seeing me on Eastenders was pretty cool because it was a hugely successful point in my career in their eyes. However I personally thoroughly enjoyed being on the Star Wars VII set with Andy Serkis.
It was a three day test shoot where I was cast as Maz Kanata, who was finally played by Oscar Winner Lupita Nyongo. I got to really dig deep with this character and change my body, voice and mind.
I got to work alongside Andy Serkis, the king of motion capture, and to work on the set of Star Wars. That moment in my life was just beyond fulfilling.
What are your future aspirations?
My goal for the future is to conquer American television and movies. I would love to lead in a sci-fi TV series, cop drama or comedy show.
What advice would you give to young and new actors?
I would say go and get some training, whether it is for a few years or a few weeks. You will always benefit from having some training.
Also remember it is a marathon not a race, take your time and keep at it. Be the best you can be on set in the audition room and in class, because you never know who is watching!