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Interview with Rachael Holoway

Actress, martial artist and soon to be Hollywood talent Rachael Holoway leaves no ass un-kicked when it comes to loving life to the full.

We recently reviewed short film Soulmates, in which Holoway plays a student questioning the idea of a one true love. UK Film Review caught up with her to talk movies, taekwondo and (of course) dolphins...

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and movies?

I grew up around theatre as my dad’s an actor so I've been in love with the industry ever since I can remember. I started acting when I was 11 and haven't looked back since.

I've enjoyed an awesomely diverse career so far including presenting my own extreme sports show on Sky, soaps such as Emmerdale, Doctors, Cloud 9, an array of films, most recently the gorgeous Soulmates.

I'm also a black belt in taekwondo. I've been doing martial arts for about 15 years now. It started with kickboxing when I was younger but I instantly clicked with taekwondo which I still continue to train in twice a week with my awesome master Ali O.Saraei.

So in a nutshell I'm a butt kicking actress with big dreams trying not to break my nose in the process!

There’s not a huge amount of fighting in your latest film. What attracted you to Soulmates as a project? Were there any particular themes or character traits that fascinated you?

There are lots of lovely, romantic movies based on the idea of Soulmates, but what attracted me to this film is that it approached the subject in a very matter of fact way without losing any heart.

I'd worked with director Zaid Alkayat before and we'd been keen to work together again, so when he approached me with Soulmates it was an obvious yes for me.

I loved his theory that a mathematical equation can prove the existence of soulmates. I personally absolutely believe in soulmates so to play a character that really doesn't was fun for me.

During the read through we discussed whether we believe in them or not and I always find it fascinating to hear people's thoughts. For me, you find your soulmate (if you're lucky) and marry them. But for some, you can be very happily married and find your soulmate in someone other than your husband or wife. Whether you believe in soulmates or not, it's such a beautiful film that will leave you with a big smile on your face.

As a performer, how do you find the genre of short films? Is it constraining or freeing?

For me, if I love the script and I connect with the character, whether it's a short film or a feature I find the entire process freeing. That's why I love what I do. I get to become a different person, take on new character traits, explore my physicality, learn and grow as an actress with every role I take.

Of course there's not as much time to tell the story in a short but it's the same process of understanding your character completely and perhaps more of a challenge to portray everything you need to in order to take the audience with you in the short time you have.

How does your passion for martial arts fit in with your performances? Does the discipline of one complement the other?

Anyone who does any form of martial arts will tell you that it requires a tremendous amount of discipline, hard work and dedication. Pushing yourself physically to grow and become awesome at what you do.

It's exactly the same with acting and really, anything you want to achieve in life.

My passion for both martial arts and acting compliment each other perfectly and I'm so lucky as both come together for me in some roles. I'm a reoccurring character in an ad campaign for Hewlett Packard in which I play the 'App Defender'. My days on set consist of beating up the bad guys. It's physically demanding but that's what I'm addicted to!

A worthy foe! What are your favourite martial arts films?


Enter the Dragon! Bruce Lee is an absolute hero of mine. I first watched this film with my dad when I was 8 and was just mesmerised! The fight scene amongst the mirrors terrified me but I was hooked on martial arts films from then on!

The Raid and The Raid 2...unbelievable films. The first one only had a small budget but what an awesome film. The fight choreography is insane and Iko Uwais is another hero of mine. I'd love to work with him and director Gareth Evans!

Speaking of directors, If you could work with any other actor/director who would it be and why?

Tough question as I have a huge list of actors and directors that I'd love to work with, but if I'm choosing one of each I'd have to say:

Actor, Leonardo Di Caprio. I have adored him as an actor since I saw him in What's Eating Gilbert Grape when I was 11. He blew me away. I just think he's the most stunningly talented actor who literally commits everything he has to every role. I'd love to see what he's like on set, how he gets into character. I feel like I could learn a lot from him.

Needless to say I literally felt like a proud mum when he won the much deserved Oscar for The Revenant!

Director, Quentin Tarantino. He's directed some of the biggest cult films and is just so imaginative and brilliant at what he does. Big dream of mine to work with him.

What do you have planned next?

I signed with management in LA a few months ago and I'm going back out at the end of this month for some very exciting meetings!

If you were a dolphin, what would you say?

"I really struggle to find foundation in my shade"

Check out our film review of Soulmates.


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