Dr Laura-Jane Foley is a writer, broadcaster and singer. She is the presenter of the new arts podcast ‘My Favourite Work of Art’ which starts on August 21st. Each week Laura-Jane interviews a well-known personality about an artwork that has meant something to them. Laura-Jane is also known as the writer of the 2015 sell-out West End play ‘An Evening with Lucian Freud.’ Her debut album of classical songs and lullabies is released later in the year. She is also an ambassador for the Lullaby Trust charity.
Describe a typical day for you?
I’m not a morning person so I have to be prised out of bed with a crowbar or the promise of a really exciting day. There isn’t a typical day for me as I tend to have lots of different projects on the go. If I’m recording ‘My Favourite Work of Art’ I’ll try to book in lots of guests on the same day. It’s intensive work as I’m researching and writing scripts for potentially very different guests and artworks from different time periods but it’s exciting and varied work. I love hearing about how an artwork has had an emotional impact on someone’s life. When my daughter was very little she used to come to all my work meetings. I remember a very distinguished theatre director bouncing her on his knee when she was only a few months old. Everyone loves a babe in arms. I’m lucky I work in the arts though – I’m not sure if my work colleagues would have been so accommodating if I’d worked in investment banking!
What do you feel is your biggest achievement?
Completing a PhD. It’s a very hard slog– not just academically but mentally too.
What’s in your handbag?
I used to have a veritable Aladdin’s cave of useful junk in there. But recently I’ve tried to streamline. So it’s just my purse, keys, phone, hairbrush, lipstick, pen, diary. I only use a paper diary so it’s vital. I’m a bit old fashioned – I really hate online/digital diaries. I fantasize about the days before online communication. I’d love to go back in time to when we weren’t so hyper connected.
What are your ambitions in life?
I’m always striving for more work-wise. But I hope that the people I meet and interact with think of me as kind and thoughtful. I value relationships above all else.
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career you now know?
That it’s not about getting a ‘big break’, it’s more of a series of smaller breaks. Success builds on success. The longer it takes, the longer it lasts.
What helps you when self-doubt sets in (as it does for all of us)
I ring my mum!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Ooh! I don’t know. Happy, healthy and busy, hopefully. My toddler daughter will be nearly 7 – how grown up! Having a child really makes you aware of the swift passing of time.
What advice would you give a budding writer/broadcaster/musician?
Nothing ever comes easy to anybody – however much you may think it does. There is no substitute for hard work and perseverance.
What advice would you give a first-time mum?
You’ll receive far too much advice – nothing really matters apart from this: ALWAYS put your baby on their back for every sleep, day and night. I am an ambassador for the Lullaby Trust – a crucial UK wide charity which advises parents on safe sleeping methods to help reduce the incidence of SIDS. I would advise all new parents and grandparents to visit their website: https://www.lullabytrust.org.uk
Finally, happiness is…