“You would be so surprised by the ripple effect that kindness has, when you put positivity out into the world. Even if just one person hears it, it can change them. You throw a stone hard enough; the ripples will last a lifetime.”
At a very young age, before Eliza knew who she wanted to be in the world, her personality started paving the way for her; giving hints that acting was what she was meant to do.
Eliza found it difficult to make friends due to her ever changing identity. Choosing to be British one week, and a fictional character the next, wasn’t the easiest way to make friends. At eleven years old and needing an outlet to express her creative urges, Eliza’s mother enrolled her into acting classes where her talent could be displayed and accepted fully.
“I started going to acting classes, once a week, for an hour after school. I just lived for it, I lived for that hour each week.”
After being enrolled in acting classes for only two months, Eliza’s coach submitted her to audition for a role in the show, that we would soon come to know as Pirate Island. “I remember telling my mum, ‘I’m gonna get this role, I’m gonna be on TV. My mum was a bit apprehensive, but I told her, “You don’t understand, this is what i’m supposed to do.”
“I remember my first day on set. My mum had asked me if I was nervous, and I said ‘no, I know this is where I’m meant to be.” And I still feel like that, its bizarre. I can be such a nervous and socially awkward person, but the moment I step on set, something clicks, and I feel like I’m home.”
Taking the Leap;
The transition from child actor, to adult actor, is known to be tricky. Many casting agents and directors recognize you as the small child you once were, and fail to see you as the adult you’re becoming. This made it hard for Eliza to find work in her early twenties. So, she did what all struggling actors do, waiting tables and bar tending.
“I’d worked all through my teens, and I think something happens when you go from being a child actor to an adult actor, where there’s a disconnect, and casting agents still see you as a kid. Trying to get roles in my early twenties was really tricky; I had to go through a period of a few years, waiting tables and bar tending.”
Like Eliza, often times in our lives, we find ourselves in situations and environments that we know aren’t meant for us. In stepping out of fear and into possibility, we give space for miracles and growth to come into our lives. Overcoming her fears and doubts, Eliza stepped into the unknown, and onto a 17h flight to Los Angeles.
Eliza was ready to re-create herself, only to then find out that someone else had done it for her. Within a few hours of landing in LA, she had her credit card frauded, and identity stolen.
“I had no idea what to do, being broke and jobless, I decided that I would return home and start bar tending again. I was packing my bags, when I got a call from my agent. He said I had been offered the lead role in a TV series, and I was like ‘what?!’.”
When Eliza read the script of the role she was offered, she instantly fell in love with the character that she would be playing. A character we would all come to know and love, as Clarke Griffin, on the CW drama series, The 100.
What a beautiful reminder, that just as we’re about to throw in the towel, the universe hands it back to us and says ‘not yet.’
Eliza kept her bag packed, but instead of heading back home to Australia, she flew the opposite direction towards Vancouver Canada, where the show would be filmed.
No matter what our professional lines of work may be, finding ways to craft self-expression and tune back into who we are, is vital. Eliza’s profession entails that she ‘become’ characters other than herself. This means that taking time to connect to back to who she truly is, holds great importance in her life.
Something that grounds Eliza and brings her back to her true self, is music
“Writing music is sort of like journaling for me. It’s a way of not having to verbally express how I’m feeling, which terrifies me sometimes, most of the time. To sing it, gives release to the feelings that tend to boil over when I don’t express them, and having the guitar in front of me, distances me from the world, like a shield.”
Whether it be basketball players who practice yoga off of the court, or actresses who express themselves through forms of art, like Eliza; these creative outlet gives way for cleansing and clearing of one’s spirit. Allowing us to reconnect back to ourselves, no matter how busy our careers and personal lives seem to be.
“Social media has been an amazing tool for me to spread awareness towards the matters I’m passionate about, but there’s one thing that I feel has gotten lost on social media, especially in these trying times, and that is kindness.”
One of the more prominently negative trends currently taking place on social media, is cancel culture. This entails increasing one’s social status, virtually by shaming and belittling others.
“People online essentially think that they can be judge, jury, and prosecutor of the human being, and it’s quite terrifying. There are so many people trying to do good in the world, and the negativity is drowning out those voices.”
Through this realization, she has been able to focus her energy and impact, on service and contribution. In doing so, Eliza also became a voice for body positivity.
“Body positivity was something that I grappled with since I was eleven years old and starting in this industry. Just that feeling of not being thin enough, not being pretty enough, and constantly striving to meet that unrealistic and impossible standard.”
As a result of her struggles with self-image, and her overcoming of limiting beliefs towards herself and her body, Eliza has become strengthened through the painful process; now being able say to the world and to herself, that this is who she is, and that’s okay.
“I think it’s really important that I speak out about it, especially as someone who has curves. I’m not tiny, many people aren’t, and that’s okay. I want people to know that that’s okay.”
When a close friend of Eliza’s moved to KohTao with her children, (Eliza’s god children), finding a proper learning institution was a great difficulty. In seeing a need, the girls decided to take action, hoping to reach beyond personal needs, extending their service to the island community. The girls started a go-fund-me page and with the help of Eliza’s fan base, in under 24 hours, over 100,000$ was raised towards the creation of the school.
“I simply couldn’t believe it. I was floored by the generosity and the fact that people believed in our mission and were so willing to give.”
Five years later, Eliza can proudly say that Koh Tao International Primary, has been granted their foundation status.
In being a fully-fledged charity, the world of possibilities for KTP has completely opened up.
“We want to keep it going, and I think that now we have that opportunity.”
Many people don’t take the leap of faith in making their voices heard, living in the belief that, “I can’t make a difference, I’m just me.”
To this, Eliza says that all it takes is one person, to change the lives of many.
“You would be so surprised at the ripple effect that kindness has when you put positivity out into the world. Even if just one person hears it, it can change them. You throw a stone hard enough; the ripples will last a lifetime.”
When feelings of inadequacy come over us, we tend to become crippled in fear. Making a change in ourselves and in the world around us, seems nearly impossible.
For someone who had apprehension towards speaking her truth and standing up for herself, Eliza says that she understands.
“To those who feel inadequate to speak out, trust me, I get it. I didn’t think I was smart enough to have a voice or an opinion. Many times, I didn’t feel like I had the right to, because I am white and privileged. But the reality is, I care about so many issues, and when you care about something, you should make it known.”
Acts of kindness have the power spread like wildfire. The smallest deeds of service can have the largest effects on those around you, and when someone feels good, they do good.
In changing one person’s day, you truly have no idea how many people you are affecting.
Strength found in Stumbling;
We spend a lot of our lives in pursuit of things which truly do not serve us. Whether it be validation from others, perfectionism in ourselves, or fleeting pleasures, we’ll never quite be close enough to catch it.
The moment we no longer feel the need to live our lives in pursuit of impossible praise, we become free.
Eliza says, that in marrying the love of her life, Bob Morley, she no longer feels the need to chase and search for parts of herself, it’s all there.
Like every relationship, Eliza’s marriage to Bob has had it’s ups and downs. Bob’s battle with depression was something that Eliza thought she could take on, all on her own. It soon became clear, early on in their relationship, that if she and her husband were going to come out of this struggle strengthened, they would need a helping hand.
It is a truly beautiful thing when we can take our stumbles and struggles, and turn them into learning lessons that can strengthen not only us, but the one’s we love in the process.
We asked Eliza what she knows 100% to be true, her answer;
“Compassion is key. Compassion towards one’s self and to those around you, not only makes you softer, but softens the lives of those you’ve touched.”
At TrooMe, we believe that compassion and caring go hand in hand for living a centred and meaningful life.
Compassion towards self creates personal growth, while compassion towards community, creates global change.
May we follow in Eliza’s footsteps; allowing our voices to be heard from far and wide, allowing our influence, big or small, to create positive impact in the lives of many; and if we stumble, let us get back up, stronger than before.