In Lockdown With Vanessa Vanderpuye

By Natasha Lakic

OVERDUE had the plea­sure of inter­view­ing Vanes­sa Van­der­puye, a young British actress cur­rent­ly star­ring in the new series Bul­let­proof, Sea­son 2 with Ash­ley Wal­ters and Noel Clarke, of Top Boy and Kidult­hood fame. Vanes­sa plays Ashley’s wife Arjana in the series and is also known for star­ring in the award-win­ning Web series Dream­ing Whilst Black, for which she received two nom­i­na­tions for Best Actress at the Dig­i­tal Screen Nation Awards.

Con­grat­u­la­tions on the new series! Any mem­o­rable high­lights from the behind the scenes? What did you enjoy the most while film­ing sea­son two of Bul­let­proof?

Thank you so much! It was a hon­est­ly a bless­ing to be apart of this pro­duc­tion. The chem­istry between every­one was light and fun even after 6 months of film­ing. 
The most mem­o­rable high­light has to be my sex scene with Ash­ley Wal­ters. It was my sec­ond day of film­ing so what a way to real­ly break the ice! We had an inti­ma­cy advi­sor, Ita, on set with us all day. She remind­ed me that it was my body and I had to pow­er to say yes or no. You should nev­er feel oblig­at­ed to do any­thing if you feel uncom­fort­able. The whole team were extreme­ly respect­ful and made me com­fort­able. We had to prac­tice how to hone in to our inner mam­mal self to cli­max, as our char­ac­ter of course! Cringy but hilar­i­ous at the same time.

How did you like work­ing with Noel and Ash­ley?

Ban­ter all day! Nev­er a dull moment when they are around. I’m actu­al­ly quite a shy per­son but they made me feel so wel­come. They inspire and moti­vate me every­day  

Act­ing is some­what sim­i­lar to mod­el­ling, in a way that you have to get in the char­ac­ter, but also very dif­fer­ent, what advan­tages does one bring to the oth­er in your opin­ion? What do you see your­self as first, an actress or a mod­el?

I have always seen myself as an actress first. That was the voca­tion I had always dreamed of. To be hon­est, grow­ing up, I nev­er saw any­one of my aes­thet­ic, skin tone or hair so nev­er thought I could be a model.In some ways yes, I can take aspects I’ve learnt from act­ing into mod­el­ling and visa ver­sa. How­ev­er, with mod­el­ling, it’s all about your nat­ur­al charisma/ per­son­al­i­ty. With act­ing, you have to research, have or cre­ate a back­sto­ry to dig deep­er and find the truth in each char­ac­ter to con­vey a truth­ful per­for­mance over­all. For me, that’s def­i­nite­ly more reward­ing. 

As we’re in the endometrio­sis month at the moment and you’ve been vocal in your fight for rais­ing aware­ness of this invis­i­ble con­di­tion that affects so many women, do you see this chang­ing in any time in the future. How do you cope with it?

Endometrio­sis is a long-term con­di­tion where tis­sue sim­i­lar to the lin­ing of the womb grows in oth­er places, such as the ovaries and fal­lop­i­an tubes. Around 1.5 mil­lion women (1 in 10) in the UK are cur­rent­ly liv­ing with the con­di­tion. It’s one of the most painful health con­di­tions accord­ing to the NHS. Symp­toms include chron­ic pain in your low­er tum­my or back (pelvic pain), nau­sea, vom­it­ing, irreg­u­lar & heavy peri­ods, bloat­ed stom­ach, lack of ener­gy, depression/isolation and pain dur­ing or after sex. It may also lead to infer­til­i­ty and bow­el and blad­der problems.After being diag­nosed after suf­fer­ing for over 15 years, I had surgery In Octo­ber 2017. The pain still per­sists now on a week­ly basis but the gynae­col­o­gist are mon­i­tor­ing the growth of the endo. Unfor­tu­nate­ly there is no cure, so I cope by using painkillers when in chron­ic pain, espe­cial­ly when I have to work. 
I nev­er heard of this con­di­tion until I was diag­nosed but com­mend­ably now, I see more and more brave women come for­ward to tell their sto­ry. In the long run, it will def­i­nite­ly help raise aware­ness to health offi­cials glob­al­ly to find a cure and diag­nose women soon­er.  

How are you spend­ing this time of quar­an­tine? Are there any pas­sions or hob­bies that you’re explor­ing at this time for which you wouldn’t have time for before?

I’ve always want­ed to improve my fit­ness but I must admit, I enjoy work­ing out through social sports like net­ball and class­es than going to the gym. I need a gym bud­dy or a PT to moti­vate me to go every­day! But sur­pris­ing­ly, I have enjoyed doing insan­i­ty beach body work­outs. Intense inter­val cir­cuit train­ing dur­ing this time has been a great stress reliev­er. It’s also been fun dis­cov­er­ing online class­es with my friends and fam­i­ly. Great how we are using this time to moti­vate each oth­er to keep busy and fit! I’m also teach­ing myself to cook one new recipe each week! I do love to cook as my mum is a cater­er but I rarely had time to so it’s been fun brush­ing up on those skills.

Tell us about your style, also do you have health and beau­ty rou­tine? Any par­tic­u­lar prod­ucts that you swear by?

I love struc­ture, tex­tures & sim­ple styles with the use of bold colours! Espe­cial­ly since Eng­land con­sists of grey skies 90% of the time, colour is a great way to help me start my day upbeat and pos­i­tive­ly! Health wise I have cut out gluten and diary which helps lessen the inflam­ma­tion in my stom­ach due to my con­di­tion. I do have sen­si­tive skin so I have to be care­ful with what I use. I keep my rou­tine quite sim­ple. I use Der­ma­log­i­ca to wash my face, rose water as a ton­er, then shea but­ter & olive oil to mois­turise, espe­cial­ly at night. Murad are a great brand to help plump your skin and feel fresh, espe­cial­ly for those 5am call times. As for make­up, Mac or Nars con­ceal­er to com­bat my dark cir­cles is a must! Fen­ty beau­ty, YSL, Nars and Bob­bi Brown have a great range of foun­da­tion shades for women of colour. I nev­er go on set with­out these two prod­ucts.

What’s next for you, are there any projects that you’re involved in that we can look for­ward to see­ing you in the future?

I’m pray­ing Ryan Coogler is writ­ing a role for me in Black Pan­ther 2 as we speak, but until then, I am excit­ed for you all to see the Bul­let­proof spe­cial. Will be released hope­ful­ly this Sum­mer which we filmed in Cape Town for over 8 weeks! Such a beau­ti­ful city. The sto­ry line for this 3 part spe­cial is insane! You wouldn’t want to miss this! 

Catch Vanes­sa in Bul­let­proof Sea­son 2, avail­able now on Sky One and Now TV
Images Kirk New­mann