My happy place: Scarlett Jacques, aged 11

Scarlett Jacques, aged 11, singer and actor.
Scarlett Jacques, aged 11, singer and actor.

My happy place is performing on stage. I love singing and acting and dancing, so I guess I'm happy doing what I love when I have a big audience to watch me, all smiling and clapping.

I'm nervous before I go on stage. I worry that I'll do something wrong and everyone will laugh at me, but that doesn't actually happen very much. I work hard to remember everything. When I get on stage I don't feel nervous any more, just excited that I'm going to be performing.

I've been in the Variety Voices choir for three years. I like being able to sing on my own but also singing with a group of people. I like how it sounds with all the harmonies and things.

I auditioned for Annie, the touring UK production that's going to be at the Civic, but I didn't get through the first round. I got really upset. I ran out to Mum, crying, and we left.

I was sad for about four days because I'd always wanted to be in Annie, and then I got over it and thought, "There'll be a next time."

But then they sent my mum an email. She called me in, saying, "Scarlett, come read this." I ran to the room and skimmed through it and asked, "What does it mean?" She said, "It means you've got a call back." I danced and screamed.

I got through that round of auditions and the next round and the next round and the next round. I was motivated to keep going because I had a friend there and we had fun, but then she got eliminated and I immediately doubted myself, and said, "I don't think I can do it."

But I got through all the way to the end. We all went outside the room while they were making decisions, and they brought a big group of us in and pointed at us and said, "You're this part, and this part, and this part, and this part."

And everyone was excited. But I was so confused. I put up my hand and said, "Does this mean we're in the show?" And they said yes. I got cast as one of the orphans. So then I got excited and started dancing around.

I get paid for being in the show. Mum says I can't spend all the money, so I'm giving some to Variety. I also give some of the money I earn from busking to Variety.

I picked a girl to sponsor who is the same age as me and lives in Auckland and also enjoys music. It makes me really happy to feel like I'm helping other people while I'm doing the things I love.

Scarlett sponsors a disadvantaged New Zealand child through Variety's Kiwi Kid Sponsorship programme. The charity has a waiting list and seeks sponsorship from $35 a month. See www.variety.org.nz or contact Giselle, ph (09) 522 3740 or email giselle@variety.org.nz.

- as told to Bronwyn Sell

- Herald on Sunday

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