A cup of coffee with Jessie Cave
Was it your first time at Edinburgh Fringe performing? I can’t wait to see your show at the Soho Theatre.
I did my first year in 2012 and I did like a performance that was the launch of a book club. I was the leader and I was a massive fangirl. The idea was that I had to con my way into Harry Potter. It was kind of massively playing on the fact that I’d been in Harry Potter. I find the whole fangirl thing so fascinating.
Was it a show for young girls?
It was targeted at fangirls; I feel really connected with them because they’re so passionate and keen and I’m just so innately eager, I’m always just so obvious about the things that I love.
How did your role, Lavender Brown, in Harry Potter come about?
Getting the job in Harry Potter was a complete fluke. The reason I made a joke about it in the show was because I honestly felt like I conned my way in. I was really skinny at the time because I was really stressed… I was in this habit of wearing these pink skinny jeans which now I can’t even get over my calf.
So it was the pink jeans that helped?
I think so! I auditioned for a Nokia advert and they were like “we really like your pink jeans so you’ve got the job.” The first job was a Nokia advert, the second audition was a Veet hair removal cream and the third audition was Harry Potter. So it was like, completely not meant to happen.
You have fingers in a lot of pies! Do you prefer the stage or scripted TV or film side of things?
I’m really lucky, I have worked consistently. I really enjoy it. I prefer things that I’m in control of but it’s lovely sometimes to just be employed and learn lines. So yeah, I like doing both but the reason why I’m so happy about the show is like merging my drawings with acting.
It sounds like you’re using lots of different platforms, online and offline, to express yourself.
Yes! It’s been so cathartic doing the show because it’s saying all the things that I wish I could say or I did say. With all my drawings as well they’ve gone through stages of me being single and desperate to me dating and rejection.
Are you drawings based on real life or do you people-watch for inspiration?
Both, but what’s really nice is looking back through them and choosing the drawings for my book Love Sick. It was really obvious that I’d gone through this kind of evolution of a relationship in all of them. I was single and they were all about “please text me back, please text me back” to “why isn’t he texting me back?” to “Oh God this is so boring, I’m bored” to “Oh my God I’m actually in a relationship, how am I in a relationship?” then “Oh my God I’m in a relationship….is this it?”.
Does social media help you create, or the opposite?
I dip in and out. I go through different phases. Usually when I’m more stressed and more anxious I tweet more. Whereas when I’m happy I’m a bit more “Oh shit, I should tweet. I forgot to tweet.”
Is it weird looking back on your social media history?
If you look back through all your tweets from like 2007 you will have grown up. My whole style was really different and I love that because I used to be like “Oh my God, I’ve got to delete that, how have I written that three years ago? But then I think no, I’m proud of it now. I had to go through that stage to get where I am now.
What’s your motivation for drawing every day?
It was mainly like “Oh, I really like doing that, I’ll do it again!” Then I just kept going and then it became part of my daily routine and now that I’ve got a baby my routine is completely different – I usually do it at the end of the day. But usually I used to do a drawing before I started work. But now I just can’t imagine not doing it.
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting a creative career like yours?
I think that you’ve got to think back to when you were a kid and what made you happy. I think about… “What makes me happy? What do I like doing?” The only thing that I know with one hundred percent confidence that I liked doing was drawing and writing little things. I think you’ve always just got to remember that, remember what is you, innately, what made you you as a kid. I also remember a couple of memories I had. I was quite big as a kid and I remember standing in the mirror looking at this French girl who I was on holiday with and just being like “I am double the size of her and we are the same age”. I just remembering being like “I’m going to have to be funny; I’ll just make a joke about the fact that I am double her size.” I just think that has kind of stayed with me too.
JC: People say this to me now. So I was like “what the fuck am I going to do?” and my mum was like “you’re really skinny, this is really unusual, why don’t you try and be an actress?” Basically I auditioned for a kid’s agency and they really liked my pink jeans so they were like “Oh, ok, we’ll try you on.”
Did you ever meet J.K Rowling on set of Harry Potter? I love her on Twitter.
I met her at the read-through initially and I thought that it was too weird. It was bizarre. But I look back and I honestly feel like I’ve just won this weird lottery. It’s completely transformed my entire life and my family’s life and it’s like “Oh my God, something amazing and ridiculous can happen.” But then it was really interesting because it was released when there was this slump in the markets, in 2007, no one had any money, so it was delayed so I got this big break and I was like “Oh God, yeah, I’m going to get other parts” but because nothing was being made. Then I started writing Pindippy, started drawing… So it was amazing that if I had just lucked out after that and got another job I probably would have just kept being an actress and just felt slightly like I was doing the wrong thing with my life. Because whenever I am acting, I’m always drawing. I started drawing when I was waiting to film in the trailer. On Harry Potter I remember one time we waiting for five days to film something, the scene took five days, it was one eighth of a page, usually on a production you film like… On a TV show you film like five pages a day. We did one eighth of a page.
So I spent the time just drawing and I gave all these drawings to the directors and producers and Daniel Radcliffe and it was really sweet. Tom Felton the other day tweeted about my book. just remember going up to him and giving him a drawing and it’s so lovely it’s all come full circle.
Did you draw while being pregnant?
I drew throughout and I even drew when my water had broken. I think I missed a drawing when he was born but I kept drawing throughout. Just because it keeps me sane. I talk about it a lot in my show but it makes me feel like it was one thing that I could control.
bThat’s how I feel about my blog. Even though it’s perfect and at least it’s my thing.
It’s yours. That’s why I have my website, it’s like my museum of me. No one else can touch that. Even if you’re not working and no one is giving you a job you’ve got this thing that is absolutely yours and you can control.
How I Grew Up Online
“In love with Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete. So funny & smart, and reminding me of some of my own cringe teen Internet exploits!”– Anna James, former literary editor of ELLE
"Funny, honest, and nostalgic!"– The Debrief
“Emma Gannon is a bright spark of light in the world. I seriously dig everything she makes”– Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Big Magic