Interview with Coralie Rose, casting director and founder of Road Casting

"The lack of representation in the media that I saw at the beginning of my career is one of the reasons I committed to be part of the change."

Interview with Coralie Rose, casting director and founder of Road Casting

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader? 

Hello reader, my name is Coralie Rose, I am a casting director and founder of Road Casting and I love my job!

What does your job involve? Give us the typical outline of a day?

At Road Casting there is no such thing as a typical day! We work on such varied projects that everyday is different although the wellbeing of my team is vital so I like to remain consistent with certain rituals and routines. For example, at 11am everyday an alarm goes off in the office, it’s an invitation to stop what we are doing and take three deep intentional breaths. We also take turns to make freshly squeezed orange and grapefruit juice with turmeric and black pepper. We call it The Shield! Additionally, I get to meet loads of really cool people everyday and I end up streetcasting someone each time I pop out for a cup of coffee! So watch out if you are on Portobello Road!

Why did you decide to set up Road Casting? Could you explain what street casting is?

I had been a fan of street casting since I was scouted for the original Dove “Campaign for Beauty” shot by Rankin and saw the huge power of using ‘real people’.

When I started casting I found the directors, briefs and stories I was drawn to required authentic casting. I had to be creative in the ways I found people for these projects so I hit the street and approached local community members. It’s always been important for me to be a bridge between people who may not have had access to these opportunities and the industry as I have a wonderful opportunity to open doors and gates for previously unrecognised subcultures.

Road Casting was born as a response to the monoculture I encountered at many top talent agencies and drama schools at the time. We specialise in street casting with particular focus on promoting underrepresented people in advertising and film, celebrating diversity and individuality. 

Since Road Casting starting in 2013, have you observed any changes in the industry – for better or worse?

The lack of representation in the media that I saw at the beginning of my career is one of the reasons I committed to be part of the change. In 2017 I was awarded ‘Entrepreneur of Excellence’ at The National Diversity Awards and continue to strive to make an authentic and positive impact on the industry.

What’s great about your job?

One of my favourite parts of my week is calling people up to tell them they got the job. Such a good feeling! I’m also very grateful to have the opportunity to work with some of the best directors and production companies out there and contribute to global projects and with amazingly talented artists and creatives. Most of all, my wonderful team who are fun and funny but are extremely diligent and hardworking make the office such a pleasure to come to everyday.

What are the bits you don’t like or find challenging?

The pace is very fast with short turnarounds and lots of pressure to deliver on time but I try to find excitement in the challenge.

What are the highlights of your career to date?

The animated film ‘The boy cuckoo clock heart’ was a highlight of my career. I cast the English version. It was the first feature film I worked on and I really enjoyed going to Paris to meet the Europacorp team. More recently the Nike Mbappe advert required both French and English voices and was super cool. The Macmillan ‘Whatever it takes’ commercial directed by Jonathan Alric was multi award winning and still brings a tear to my eye when I watch it. I can't forget to mention being the first person to cast a woman who wears a hijab in a fashion commercial, which was for the H&M brand, I can't believe it had never been done before! It’s a great example of successful streetcasting. 

What was your career path into this job?  Have you also worked outside the arts?

I was previously a TV and Film actor best known for playing Denny in Rise of The Footsoldier and several wonderful BBC dramas as well as things like Hollyoaks and some great short films. Between jobs and waitressing gigs I worked at a casting studio then worked as a casting assistant for many years before I founded Road Casting. Being a jobbing actor before becoming a casting director gave me huge insight into the casting business and I am really pleased to be able to be compassionate to actors and their process because of it and I hope I can put them at ease and empower them to do their best work. 

How has your background, upbringing and education had an impact on your artistic career? 

I am extremely grateful to my parents for taking my sister and I around the world with them to explore different cultures and always encouraging us to follow our bliss and do what makes us happy. Studying at French school in London means I am fluent in French and also Spanish, which meant I found it natural to work internationally. I did a Foundation at Chelsea College of Art and have continued to experiment with photography and art which is something I want to spend more time doing.

I grew up in a mixed heritage household and when I was a kid there was a lack of mixed faces and relationships on TV and becoming a casting director has allowed me to positively impact that. 

Did you have any role models or inspirations growing up?

My mother, who was born in DRC to a Belgian Father and Zairoise mother, is a jewellery designer who had a shop in Kensington for over 40 years and is my role model. I watched her work 6 days a week  and it really influenced my work ethic and values. My sister Emilie is also hugely inspirational, she motivates me everyday.

Can you describe your biggest challenge so far in your career? How did you overcome it?

I like to see challenges as opportunities to use the tools and practices I’ve collected over the years. It's not always easy but I have a growth mindset and try not to take things personally. I believe that there is an abundance of work in this field and I've never had to steal a job from anyone. I like the quote by Imam al-Shafi'i: “My heart is at ease knowing that what is meant for me will never miss me, and that which misses me was never meant for me.” 

Have you had a mentor anytime during your career, and if so, how has having one made a difference?

The universe has introduced me to many mentors, teachers, gurus and experts over the years. Some for a season or a reason, but each one has enriched my life and work. I have also been an unofficial mentor to several people which I really enjoy.

Are there any online support spaces you’re a part of, and if so, how have they helped you?

In 2019 I was selected to be a mentee on the Women on Film and TV mentorship scheme and I’m still in a WhatsApp group with the other mentees. It’s a stream of congratulations and celebration as everyone keeps advancing, getting better and better jobs and winning awards!

You’ve been granted the ability to send a message to a 16-year-old you. What do you say?

Dump him! 

Do you have any advice for young people interested in doing your kind of job?

Be curious, ask questions and don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know what you don't know. You have two eyes, two ears and one mouth so shut up and listen. When you take the risk to go with the flow, life can bring so many new and exciting opportunities. Trust your intuition - mine has rarely been wrong. Commit to your choices but be ready to let go and let love.

Author

Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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