Hello everyone, my name is Payge Stanley. I am 21 years of age.
My medium/creative field is Acting/Spoken word, Writing and Modelling. I have a lot of family that live in Papakura. I used to live there also when I was young, with my Dad and Grandma. I still visit a lot as they still live there.
I am a freelance model, doing things from photoshoots, modelling competitions and pageants.
I write poetry and have just finished writing my first short film script and currently working on my first poetry book that will be published later this year. I have had my poetry featured in a few online magazines and share a lot of pieces on my Instagram.
My acting has given me amazing experiences. From running drama and spoken word workshops, working alongside other creative in the industry at conferences and also travelling New Zealand with a group of people where I got to act in many cities, schools and churches. We created the shows ourselves and performed 3 different shows each week over several months.
Back in intermediate, I was deputy head girl, and apart of the role was that we had to go to drama classes. This was to help us gain more leadership skills and confidence. Back then I was rather shy and kept to myself, but through the classes, I began to fall in love with the craft of performing.
The feeling of being a character and embodying them was thrilling, and so when I began high-school I took up drama all the way through to year 13. I also joined a theatre company called Habyt. I did really well in my classes and the theatre club, and acting became my biggest passion. That lead me to audition for Excel School of Performing Arts. After my audition, I was accepted right away and then in 2016, I started Excel as a Drama major. It was the greatest two years of my life! Not only did I get to learn more about acting and gain a lot of experience, but I got to meet a bunch of amazing people who have become family. It opened many doors for me as well and not only did my acting improve but it made me a better person. I gained a lot of confidence and belief in myself and I have Excel and the people there to thank for who I am now. Because of Excel, I got involved with my other two creative passions, modelling and writing.
Writing came about because we had to do spoken word as a part of our classes and through doing that I found it to be very therapeutic and a great way of expressing myself. I had always loved writing. I remember as a little kid I would write and make my own little stories with illustrations and everything but It never crossed my mind to do it as a possible career until Excel. After doing our spoken word pieces I started writing non-stop. Poetry being my main craft. Now, 3 years since then I have gone on to get my diploma in creative writing at Whitireia and soon to publish a book of my very own!
As for modelling, when I moved to Auckland from Napier for Excel, I saw an ad on facebook for a pageant called 'Miss Five Crowns'. It was a pageant based on empowering women and that caught my attention. I never thought I could be a model or do modelling. I have always had really low self-esteem and bad body image issues. But, I decided to give it a go. I did it to prove to myself that I can do anything and that just because I am not your stereotypical blonde, blue-eyed skinny girl, doesn't mean I cannot be beautiful. I wanted to make a stand for women like me who didn't necessarily fit the 'ideal image' and try to stop the stigma of the ideal beauty type, when all types are beautiful. The pageant really did help my confidence, and although I didn't win I won a lot more valuable things. It opened many doors for me within modelling and I began to see beauty within me. Since Miss Five Crowns, I have done many photoshoots and have been a finalist in Miss Ink, Miss Hawaiian Tropic and came 2nd Runner up in Auckland's Top Model last year. Later this year I am also competing in World Supermodel Asia Pacific in Fiji. Modelling is now a huge passion of mine but also a movement. I model to empower people and to show that there is beauty in any size, race, gender and style. That there are no limits to what is beautiful! Self-love and empowerment is something that is very important to me as I stand as an advocate for mental health awareness. I started my own movement in 2017 called 'Flawed and Flawless' which is a Facebook and Instagram page where I share the stories of real people and how they have overcome hard times. It's to spread awareness of suicide prevention, anti-bullying and embrace self-love and empowerment.
How would you describe your experience in the creative arts industry?
My experience has overall been really good. There have definitely been difficult moments as sadly there are people who are just looking to take advantage of artists. Especially when you are new to the industry. Now that I have been involved in it for a few years I am much more aware of who is trustworthy and I do my research first before working with other people.
You need to be able to look after yourself and be strong within the industry as people can be harsh and judgemental. You need to know your own self worth so that the words of others don't shut you down.
I see each of my Creative outlets as platforms. Platforms to speak about and show what I stand for. My modelling is a platform for empowerment, my writing allows me to speak about all kinds of deep and controversial issues and my acting does both. All three let me be my best self and through that, I've been able to help and encourage many other people which is a truly wonderful feeling. Not only are they my passions because I get so much joy from doing it all, but to be able to inspire and help others while creating that change in myself too is the best!
I look up to and respect all people in the creative field. I don't actually have specific creative that I look up to as I strive to be my own person and be unique. But I respect and honour anyone in the creative industry who is striving to do what they love with their art! It's all inspiring and makes me happy when more and more people open up and do what they love.
My hopes and dreams are to make a career out of them. I believe if you do something you love you will never work a day in your life so my dream would be to be a performer, model and writer till the day I die. I'd love to leave a legacy behind from what I do. Help and inspire people and to travel with my works too. I want to leave a mark on this world for what I stand for through my creative outlets, using my creative outlets! That would mean the world to me!
An inspirational quote you live by every day?
“You will conquer fear when you learn to embrace uncertainty.”
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