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BWW Blog: Why Carrie Hope Fletcher Should Be Everyone's Theatre Idol

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When it comes to role models, the theatre world has no shortage of inspiring stars. Big names, like Lin Manuel-Miranda or Sierra Boggess, are famous for positively impacting their fanbase and being general do-gooders, on top of their heaps of talent. And while it's so wonderful to be part of this community with icons that are fantastic on and off stage, there is one actress who we should be paying more attention to. Carrie Hope Fletcher, a West End actress with too many superlatives to name, has been going above and beyond in her career for years. While she already has an impressive fanbase, most theatre people who may not know her would benefit from an introduction.

If we're talking about the criteria for being a theatre icon, Carrie Hope Fletcher definitely fits the bill. She's depicted some of the most well known roles in musical theatre, including Eponine in Les Mis, Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family, Veronica Sawyer in Heathers, and Fantine again in Les Mis, roles that are widely regarded as "dream roles". She became the only British actress to play both young Eponine and older Eponine in the production of Les Mis, which early on won her many fans looking to follow their dreams as well. She has a powerful, belting voice that has enchanted the likes of Cameron Macintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber. And although the COVID-19 pandemic has cut her most recent role of Fantine short, she's still set to originate the role of Cinderella in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cinderella in April 2021, putting a twist on the original perception of the title character, and no doubt blowing minds.

On top of her full time acting, she's also an accomplished author, with her first narrative book All I Know Now published in 2015. Since then, she's written five more fiction novels, and plans to release a children's book Into the Spotlight sometime this year.

Although these credentials would be enough to regard her as an idol, the reason she's so inspiring isn't just the number of her impressive roles or books, it's her distinctive self. Since 2011, she's had a reputation of being a "big sister" to her youtube channel subscribers, taking time to personally answer fanmail she's received. No doubt aware that she has an audience made up primarily of bookish teen girls, she's always made a point to encourage her fanbase to embrace their intelligence and peculiarity, and inspiring them to continue being idealistic and curious, despite what the mainstream has to say about young women. And while she may have grown and changed since then, distancing her platform from her real life, she still promotes nothing but love, kindness, and the value of individuality to those who follow her.

She's also famous for being a body positive influence, promoting the normalization of "belly rolls" and all sizes. Especially after her run in Heathers as Veronica Sawyer in 2018, where many critical viewers tried to argue that she was "too big" to be playing the main character, she shrugged off comments and instead found empowerment in the sexier scenes, saying "It is a massive middle finger to anyone who said I couldn't or shouldn't do it because of my shape and size - which is ridiculous in itself, anyway, because I am a normal size 12 to 14 woman." This is exactly what so many theatre fans need to hear, that they should be unapologetic about the way they look, that nobody has "ownership" over a character, and that size doesn't cancel out talent.

In addition to her online inspiration, she's conducted countless fundraisers for various causes, including cutting off 17 inches of her famously curly hair in 2016 for a donation to the Little Princess Trust (along with a £15,000 donation to the Great Ormond Street Hospital). She continues to do what seems like at least one fundraiser a month, with each fundraiser always reaching above expectation. Most recently, she held a Harry Potter themed quiz night in order to raise money for the NAACP. With such a large platform, she recognizes the power she has to do good with her following, and encourages others to do good as well.

If you're looking for a talented, intelligent, driven, caring person in theatre to look up to, Carrie Hope Fletcher should be at the top of your list. She continues to be an example to her fans of what you can do with big dreams and hard work, while never losing what makes her her. While there are so many wonderful souls in theatre to admire, take a moment to recognize the wonderful career- and heart- of Carrie Hope Fletcher.

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From This Author Student Blogger: Nora Rhein