Photographer: Edo Bruguè
Hi Layton where are you ?
Right now In this very moment I am sat in the most beautifully designed townhouse apartment, with sea views of the old Brighton pier. I’m so content in knowing that I’m going to be here for the whole of December. Weekly touring can be exhausting so being in one place over the Christmas period is such a treat.
Everybody’s talking about Jamie! literally , with amazing reviews, you must be so proud, can you tell us about the show ?
Literally I know! Well, wherever I go anyways, ha. I am proud, very. Proud to be playing a queer character that hopefully inspires more LGBTQ+ people to live their best lives. The show follows Jamies journeying his final year of high school. He’s from a council estate in Sheffield and wants to be a drag queen. It’s beautiful and funny and real. 100% modern British musical theatre at its best I think.
“I never wanted to be an actor until I was an actor”
Are you touring at the moment ?
Yes I am. We’re in Brighton over Christmas then we have 1 more venue before we head to Los Angeles to perform at The Almanhson Theatre Jan/Feb 2022. It’ll be the shows American debut (and mine) which is super exciting!
What’s it like stepping into the character of Jamie?
It’s a daunting at times and scary as this role is not easy. However mostly its a privilege and a true honour. I don’t take a show for granted, especially not in these crazy times.
How did you prepare for your role as Jamie and do you see anything similar to yourself in that role ?
I had lots of vocal sessions to prepare for the amount of work I have to do 7 or 8 times a week. I’m still to this day working on myself.
Similarities between me and Jamie are of course that we are both openly gay. The other would be that we are from up north and grew up on a council estate. Besides that, I think me and Jamie are quite different. At 16 I had already moved to London and was working as an actor and attending Italia Conti Academy of Perfoming Arts.
“I live authentically and try to encourage others to do the same.”
What was it like to take part in the TV movie*, how did it differ from the West end hit ?
I was just happy to be on set for the day and see the magic be transferred from stage to screen. Lots of the script and songs are very similar with a few edits along the way. I’m just so glad that people from all of the world can now enjoy this story. Big up to the cast, crew and creatives for turning moving the piece from stage to film so beautifully.
What made you want to become an actor?
I never wanted to be an actor until I was an actor. I now it’s wild but l literally just fell into it. Luckily for me my 1st audition ever was for Billy Elliot the musical. Now the rest is history!
Who are your biggest inspirations?
Friends, Family, Fans!
Can you name 3 actors you would love to work with?
Indya Moore (Love them in POSE)
Meryl Streep (Icon, I’d actually be shook to film a scene with her)
John Mccrea (He’s one of my besties and we have played the same role but never actually worked together, so the could be fun)
Hair: ‘Oribe Gold Lust Hair Oil, Makeup: SUQQU The Cream Foundation, Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Bronzer, and Blush in Ecstasy, Eyes: Le Liner by Chanel, Gucci Mascara, and Gucci Lip Balm, Rodial Brows in Dark Ash
At Cool America we believe in positive changes no matter how small or big -what do you do every day to make the world a better place?
I live authentically and try to encourage others to do the same. It’s a daunting at times and scary as this role is not easy. However mostly its a privilege and a true honour. I also try to just be kind and have basic manners like asking people how they are. People are SO shocked sometimes when I say “Hey, how are you”. (E.g in customer service roles or on the phone etc). So much so they ignore me sometimes and just crack on with “How can I help you Sir). Hey ho, least I tried eh?
“I love dressing up and feeling fab”
Which role have you found the most challenging?
Billy Elliot is a tie with Jamie New.
And the easiest and most natural role you’ve slipped into?
What’s the funniest moment you’ve experienced on a set ?
I’m the worst when it comes to corpsing when I shouldn’t be. So much so I legit pissed myself laughing on the set of Bad Education once. It trickled through my school trousers. Had to go toilet and dry it off. I ain’t proud!
What do you get up to in your spare time?
I love me a Barry’s Bootcamp when I have time. Shoutout to my trainer Jemma who whips me into shape. Or actually, I’ve been getting back into Yoga recently. Very nama-slay of me. I also try to meditate as much as I can to start the day. Apart from all the boring stuff I do love a good Kiki with my hunties and catching up with friends and family. Oh, and shopping of course.
What’s your favourite film ever ?
I always find this question hard so I’m gonna be an absolute queen and say The Spice Girls Movie!
What’s your favourite outfit ?
The Jean Louis Sabaji feathered gown I wore on my birthday / the Everybody’s Talking About Jamie movie premiere absolutely slapped. I’m sorry but It was a serve. Shoutout to one of my fave stylists Kyle Devolle who truly came through. I love dressing up and feeling fab. My beautiful little cousin beat my face right as well so thanks Dede. Obvs, red bottom soles always make me feel 100 so I had to finish the look off with a Louboutin. *chefs kiss*
What do you find cool about America?
I feel like it’s a place where people like me can really go and chase their dreams on a much bigger scale. So I think that’s pretty cool.
And finally tell us what’s cool about you?
I mean, do you even have to ask? Jokes. I dunno maybe my humour. Or my love for what I do. Maybe it’s not cool to say you’re cool so I’ll leave that one to the beautiful people who made it to the end of this interview. If you did, you’re super cool for sticking with me, ha. Big love x
Layton is currently on tour in the UK with Everybody’s Talking about Jamie. The show will transfer to the The Almanhson Theatre in Los Angeles from 16th January to 20th February 2022.
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