Arts Q&A: Snow Queen actress Calla Hughes Nic Aoidh on Amy Winehouse, Normal People and Kings of Leon

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, actress Calla Hughes Nic Aoidh

Calla Hughes Nic Aoidh
Jenny Lee

1. When did you think about a career in acting and what were your first steps into it?

I've been brought up in a family that really value the arts. I was always taken to plays and concerts growing up. I started dancing with Ann Marie Morgan from the age of three and started singing lessons with Naoimh O'Hanlon at the age of 11. I first performed on stage with Bosco Drama Group Newry in their production of Footloose when I was 12. After that I knew that this was for me.

2. Best gigs you've been to?

David Keenan at The Spirit Store, Dundalk in 2019. His lyrics are unique and explore human nature and life experiences in such a delicate and poetic manner. They almost transcend you into another universe.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band?

I'd definitely have to choose the Kings Of Leon as I've been brought up on their music. I know everyone would enjoy head banging and giving it loads on the dance floor. I'd then have to finish the evening with Boygenius, a girl band that I love very much, so that everyone could hug each other and have a good cry to finish off the special event.

4. The record you'd take to a desert island?

I would take Amy Winehouse's album Back To Black. Amy has been, and always will be, my favourite. I'd have to take her to the desert island with me.

5. And the book you'd take to a desert island?

Normal People by Sally Rooney. I think this is one book I could read over and over again and still get excited by Marianne and Connell's love story.

6. Top three films?

Babyteeth (2019), Rocks (2019) and Ladybird (2017). All female lead performances following complex storylines about finding inner strength and self belief. These movies make me proud to be a woman.

7. Worst film you've seen?

I think it would have to be The Conjuring. Not because it is a bad film, but I only saw half of it because the other half was spent behind my pillow hoping the doll Annabelle wouldn't pop up in-front of me.

8. Favourite author?

Sir Kazuo Ishiguro. I especially love his novel Klara and The Sun. His work is driven with emotion that allows you time to reflect on his complex characters.

9. Sport you most enjoy and top team?

I do not support any teams or follow any particular sport but I really enjoy watching professional gymnastics when it is on TV. I'm always in absolute awe of gymnasts performing. Their strength and skill feels almost magic to me, how they are able to complete a sequence on the beam, bars, pommel horse, rings etc.

10. Ideal holiday destination?

Norway's natural beauty has always inspired me, I think if I went there, I would never come back. Any destination is a dream destination if I was able to take a van and travel around to my heart's content.

11. Pet hates?

I think my worst pet hate would have to be when people don't use good manners. Saying please and thank you is the bare minimum when speaking to others, some people just completely forget and I think that is unacceptable.

12. What's your favourite:

Dinner? Any pasta dish. I adore pasta.

Dessert? Mint chocolate ice cream.

Drink? Fresh orange juice.

13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other?

My best friends have always been my sisters. I think getting older you realise how cool it is to have a best friend that lives in the same house as you. Sisters are for life.

14. Is there a God?

I really don't know.

:: Calla Hughes Nic Aoidh is playing the role of Gerda in Paul Boyd's new musical adventure The Snow Queen at Belfast's Lyric Theatre which opens on Friday November 25 and runs to December 31. It's a glittering spectacular for all ages this Christmas, adapted from Hans Christian Andersen's much-loved tale of courage, adventure, and friendship.