Uni isn’t the only option: An interview with actor Grace Hogg-Robinson

Helicopter stunts and dramatic chase sequences are certainly more exciting than a 2:1

acting tab uni

While a lot of young adults find themselves at one uni or another these days, up-and-coming Grace Hogg-Robinson, a 20-year-old actor chose a path which is slightly different to the norm.

We spoke to Grace to find out about not going to uni as well as the highs and lows of being an actor.

Grace said: “Although uni never really appealed to me, it always felt like the option in school which we were being served on a plate, with the occasional side order of apprenticeships or a year spent travelling. Obviously these are all fantastic options, but that doesn’t mean they’re suited to everyone.”

“As uni seemed to be the done thing, I spent a long time confused about my feelings towards it. By the time Year 13 came around, everything got quite stressful. I’d managed to get a few professional acting jobs in that year, so I decided to take a gap year and really just play it by ear rather than making big decisions under pressure.”

But everything seemed to work itself out, and it wasn’t long until Grace could really focus on acting. Luckily, her parents were there to support this final decision.

Grace said: “My parents have always been supportive of me pursuing a career in the arts. I really owe them a lot, as I can’t imagine how I’d have felt about not going to uni if they’d really wanted me to go. It was always about me pushing myself, rather than them pushing me.”

While there was the support of her family, Grace admits that she found it difficult to adjust to this new career path.

She said: “When my friends had gone off to uni, I had a period of a few months where I felt incredibly isolated from them. It was hard to see hundreds of photos on social media with their new friends, especially from Freshers.”

“And so, social media is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand it’s great for keeping in contact with people, but it sure hurts like hell when you suddenly realise that you’re the odd one out.”

“I briefly flirted with the whole university idea again, reading back through my never used personal statement, before deciding to pull myself together and knuckle down.”

Grace’s choice to crack on with acting seems to have paid off. Her on screen appearances have started to add up- she’s done a few short films, had guest roles in Doctors, Casualty and Camping, and she even plays a regular character in ‘The Coroner’ for the BBC. With Series 2 currently filming, she certainly is keeping busy.

Of course, we wanted to know what celebs she has met along the way. Grace was amused by this.

She said: “It makes me laugh when people ask what celebrities I’ve met because it totally depends on how you define a celebrity. But I can admit that I completely fangirled when I met Ben Elton in an audition. I could hardly speak, let alone remember the lines.”

“I have worked with Tom Cruise though, albeit for two days, which still feels totally bonkers 3 years down the line!”

So while uni students have essays to write, Grace certainly has places to be and people to see. We asked her what other perks there were to being an actor.

She told us: “One of my favourite things about the job is the people- they really make or break the experience. I’ve met some absolutely wonderful people who are talented beyond words- it’s a total privilege to watch them work.”

“I also get to move about a lot. I haven’t really had to leave the UK yet but I do get to spend the next four months in Devon in the sunshine, so I really can’t complain!”

Being an actor also means you have lots of exciting, fun and even just really bizarre experiences.

Grace said: “In what other job do you get to do helicopter stunts, lobster handling and dramatic chase sequences through forests! Seriously though it’s always slightly mad- I even had to kill someone once, which is hilarious in itself because I’m 5ft 2 and look about as threatening as a rice krispie!”

A fake injury for the telly

And so, when we asked Grace whether she had made the right decision to pursue acting, we could already tell what her answer was going to be.

She told us: “Yes, I made the right decision. But never say never. All I do know, is that at the moment, uni isn’t for me, and subject to the belief of my 16-year-old self, THAT IS OKAY.”

From this, it’s clear that Grace’s decision to pursue acting wasn’t easy- but it was the right decision for her. She knows how uni is the obvious route, yet it’s not the only option. We asked her what advice she would give to those unsure about going to uni.

She said: “If you’re unsure about going to university, whatever the reason, give yourself some time and take a gap year or defer entry. There is NO rush, whether you think you know what you’d like to do or you have no idea, it doesn’t matter.”

“There are so many opportunities and different paths to choose from. You have time, it’s your choice. Don’t let anyone make it for you.”