Monday, June 18, 2012

Guest Post: Author Helen Le Mesurier on "Finding Hayley Finding Me"

I'm thrilled to host author Helen Le Mesurier as she discusses her non-fiction book Finding Hayley, Finding Me. As an actress and author, it's true that I understand both sides of Helen's interesting journey, and I'm so glad it's brought her to us here today. Take it away, Helen!

Today is the 2nd day of my virtual book tour for my newly released book “Finding Hayley Finding Me” (My Life-Changing Journey to Actress Hayley Mills).

I am grateful to Leanna for allowing me to be a guest blogger on her blog today.  As Leanna is an actress as well as an author she shares an understanding of the world I entered when I met Disney star of the 1960’s, Hayley Mills.

Actors influence our lives.  They help us break away from our daily life and enter a world of escapism, and, at the same time, they also take us into our everyday life, allowing us to reflect from the vantage point of the narrative, assisting us in navigating our own circumstances; they stir our empathy, inspiring us to relate to the characters they are portraying; and they spark our imagination by allowing us to consider the many selves we too could contain.
For some of us a particular actor draws us more than others.  Often we connect with the actor themselves rather than just the roles they play, appreciating their acting abilities and/or their charisma.  Chances are you have an actor about whom you feel this way – for a while I thought I did too.

For me it was Hayley Mills. I had my bedroom plastered with posters of Hayley and I avidly collected every magazine article and all photos of her I could find. She was the big Disney star of my day, much like Hilary Duff, Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez have been more recently.  (Unlike some Disney stars, Hayley maintained her wholesome image throughout her teen years). I’m sure this is a familiar thing for a lot of you who have also found an actor whom you’ve held in high esteem, such as my daughter did with Barbra Streisand and Johnny Depp.

Hayley Mills comes from a very famous family of thespians.  Her father was Sir John Mills, the biggest star of English film through the 1930s to 50s and maintained a very active acting career right up until his death in 2005. Her mother, Mary Hayley Bell, was also in the business, as is her sister, Juliet Mills (of Passions fame).

As I grew older one would have expected that this teenage admiration would pale into insignificance and become something that I would have outgrown (my daughter’s room is no longer covered in Johnny Depp posters).  This did not happen for me.  I sensed something deeper, that I couldn’t explain.

Thirty years later, my sense of connection to Hayley remained as strong as ever, so when the opportunity came to meet her I couldn’t let it pass.  It took many phone calls where I was rebuffed, rebuked and rejected. I stood at stage doors. I travelled across Australia.  But after much effort, my persistence paid off and I finally met her.  This opened up a world I had not expected to find.  Her warmth and acceptance of me changed the way I saw myself, and I uncovered the reason why I had felt such a strong connection with her. The connection I felt did indeed run deep. So deep, in fact, that one lifetime did not contain the answers.

I invite you to accompany me on the remainder of the book tour by clicking the link below to follow my daily schedule:

In Love and Light,
Helen Le Mesurier

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