Very excited to share this weeks Future Female with you, the wonderful Olga Thompson AKA Big Fat Greek Mother, comedy bag lady as it says in her profile, and amazing human being. Olga is one of those ladies you meet and get the feeling they are your type of woman, through vulnerability and sharing a common thread, but not an exclusive thread. Discover why she thinks cliquey girl gangs are not the way forward. This is a wonderful heartfelt interview, enjoy! And check out her hilarious videos over on her Instagram feed Big Fat Greek Mother Instagram
FF:Can you tell us a bit about your background?
OT: Hello! Yes I am a mumma to 3 boys trying to get her comedy game on. I trained and worked as a stage actor originally before moving onto Community theatre performing in prisons and young offenders units across the UK. This then opened doors for me to work as a missionary in the Middle East in Beirut where I used my acting and teaching skills in schools and orphanages out there. I met my hubby Paul while I was out there and the rest as they say is history! My boys are at an age now where I am unearthing those acting dreams again; specifically in the area of comedy. I have written and filmed my own comedy pilot for television which I am pushing with TV companies.
FF: What does Future Female mean to you?
OT: It means looking after other women. It means putting others first. We talk a lot about ‘girl gang’ on social media and it annoys me sometimes. Only because its easy to say #womensupportingwomen in a post but then not to practice what you preach in real life. I am sorry to say that sometimes we use the term “girl power” only when it suits us. Also I have noticed a lot of Cliquey “girl gangs” both in real life and on social media which just go in on themselves to the exclusion of other women. Future female means ‘all’ females to me. It means celebrating and empowering other women, even when its not convenient to you or perhaps even when it costs you. We can easily applaud other women when our own baskets are full right? But what about when they are lacking or empty.
FF: The recent #MeToo hash tag caught the attention of many women who joined the conversation, what is your view and have you been affected by misogynistic behaviour such as harassment or assault during your lifetime and is it something you feel comfortable discussing?
OT: Yes I have. I am not ready to touch on this fully yet on the social media platform. But all I can say is I was abused as a child. It nearly destroyed me. The healing, the walking through, the journey has been immense; for myself and my amazing husband. No woman or girl should tolerate any kind of misogynistic behavior but it happens, every day. We need to raise awareness that this happens all the time. Today I stand strong to tell other women that you can overcome, you are not alone. This happened to me. I am an ‘adult survivor’ as they say. So yes #metoo a thousand times ove.
FF: You had a phenomenal response to your recent Instagram post about sisterhood and friendship and what you call ‘the middle of the night people you can count on one hand’ Do you think pure unconditional love can exist in women or are we conditioned from an early age to pick holes in women and pull them down? (This post resonated with me so much so I have published it fully so people can resonate.)
OT: I feel very strongly about this and feel much of this I have already shared in my explanation of what “future female” means to me. Pure unconditional love should and can exist between women. Many times it’s a choice not a feeling. If you choose to praise someone or lift them up even when you don’t “feel” like it, I believe that that act of kindness then releases those feelings. A lot of women struggle to support other women because of damage that has been done to them in the past. I understand this pain. But by making another woman feel loved and special it does something wonderful to your own soul. A lot of times we pick holes in other women because we aren’t happy ourselves. We pull another girl down if she is too pretty, too rich, too “anything”. This can’t be right. It surprises me how little we have moved on from the school playground. I too feel insecure and not good enough: daily. But I choose to turn that for good then let it poison me with hate for my sisters. My own personal faith in God helps me walk this road.
FF:Your comedy shows on insta are hilarious do you have any projects in the pipeline to develop them?
OT: I recently wrote and filmed a little comedy taster for television called “Roll Over” about a mother (not unlike myself!) who has aspirations of becoming the next Sacha Baron Cohen!. ‘Roll Over’ is a modern British comedy about parental aspirations that never go away no matter how much one tries to be ‘a grown-up’. It tells the story of Helena a mother and wife who lives with her nice family in suburbia but longs to be the next ‘hot thing’ in comedy. Her only success to date was a ‘brief’ (pardon the pun) highlight years ago when she starred in a tampax commercial. She is an everyday mother pursuing her dream, refusing to give up, amidst the pandemonium and daily grind of raising a family. I hope a TV bod picks it up soon! You can watch it on my youtube channel.
FF:There is a shift in how and where women work, do you think flexible working is a thing of the future?
OT: Definitely. We can see this with more and more women networking and running their businesses online. It is not easy for me as a mum to 3 boys, with a full on teaching job and with limited means to go and gig anywhere and everywhere I choose. But nothing stops me writing and filming and posting on line does it?. I can clear up after dinner, stick on a load of washing then go and stick my fake beard on in the comfort of my own bedroom. If I can’t get to my audience in a comedy club or theatre I can bring them to me. Social media has given me the flexibility and freedom to run my own show my own way online.
FF: With the rise of small business entrepreneurs especially women, has this thrown up a whole new industry and do you see a continuation of this?
OT: Definitely. I think this is a remarkable industry that is growing at an incredible rate. I love that there are so many women out there responding to real needs in our communities be it in parenting, in cooking, the arts or education and finding amazing solutions through creative and ‘created’ tailor-made products. The best success stories are the ones where there is a mumma somewhere raising her kids going about her busy day and she spots a need, a gap in the market, an easier way of doing things see…..and then hey presto; there is a new app or product to make another mothers life easier. I believe this is the future and the bigger retailers and businesses will be looking more and more to these female entrepreneurs for their bespoke, personal and inventive ways of doing things in industry.
FF:What is inspiring you at the moment?
OT: My boys. Always. At every moment! The best comedy you can make is always about what’s happening, right now, in front of your face. My 3 boys are a scream, my best buddies. Yes they drive me totally nuts and batter each other daily but that’s what feeds my comedy. The more harassed, stressed and on the edge I am as a wife and mother the better the comedy! FACT. The legendary Lucille Ball is an absolute inspiration to me always. The I Love Lucy show was ground breaking in its time. I want to be just like her for women and mothers everywhere! She was a brilliant and unselfconscious clown. Her comedy made people back then think it was ok to be a bit pants at housework and marriage as long as you were funny. I want to create that kind of comedy now. To give some relief from the everyday mundane routines we abide by and the nit-picky peculiar idiosyncrasies we carry as people. We need to laugh people or we will cry!
FF: If there was one thing you would change about your life as a woman what would it be?
OT: Flipping periods. They suck and turn me into a monthly hormonal, sweaty, mustachioed, yeti-type she beast. Oh yeah and when they bugger off we get the menopause joy of joys! I am particularly thrilled at bring ensconced right now by something truly exciting called the “peri-menopause”. Read about it and weep. But its okay don’t feel too sorry for me as I am making great cathartic comedy from it.
FF:You have 3 boys are there key messages you are passing on to your them when it comes to gender equality?
OT: We talk a lot about females having equal rights and speaking up in all sectors of society. This is well and good but what about educating our males too? They need to understand what it means to respect a woman and how to treat girls. We can’t put all the onus on women again surely? Men have to take responsibility too. It starts young. My husband and I work hard to instill this in our boys. They need to learn how to respect their mother first and foremost. We expect them to help around the house too and be mindful of how girls are treated. Also if they see their father treating me with respect they will learn this also. I feel very very strongly about this issue. I am aware that right now I am raising three boys who I hope and pray will one day be strong, wise men who love, respect and understand women. My husband and I take this very seriously and are conscious of it as we parent daily.
FF: What are you reading at the moment?
OT: I am reading Swing Time by Zadie Smith. Its an inspiring book that looks at close female friendships and how they can affect us for the rest of our lives. Without giving too much away Swing Time looks at school friendships among girls and how class and race play their part. I love this book because I feel like she is describing the era and backdrop of my own personal multi-cultural, north-London childhood.
FF: How would you describe your style?
OT: Oooooh how about “Kooky, glamorous, nomadic, vintage bag lady with a fail safe pop of red lipstick and some fancy kicks”
A big thanks to Olga for her authentic and refreshing voice. And if you haven’t already, head over to Olga’s insta ‘Big Fat Greek Mother’ feed for some hilarity and wisdom. Instagram