Actor James Sutton: “I’m not a naturally confident person”

James Sutton made his name playing John Paul McQueen in the Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks, before spending three years as mechanic and bad boy Ryan Lamb in ITV’s Emmerdale. As well as pursuing his own career, James now teaches TV and film acting. We caught up with James to chat about impostor syndrome, cooking for loved […]

Actor James Sutton: “I’m not a naturally confident person”

By Caoimhe O'Neill

James Sutton made his name playing John Paul McQueen in the Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks, before spending three years as mechanic and bad boy Ryan Lamb in ITV’s Emmerdale. As well as pursuing his own career, James now teaches TV and film acting. We caught up with James to chat about impostor syndrome, cooking for loved ones, and which Rod Stewart song lifts his spirits.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m about to start a national tour of a play so I’m spending all my time learning lines (So boring. Dear God, so boring). That, and teaching.

What has been your biggest life challenge so far and what did you do to overcome it?

I’m not a naturally confident person – I just pretend I am, for the most part. When I was at drama school, I felt like everyone was better than me, that I was a fraud, that I was somehow ‘getting away with it’. It’s taken me a long time to get to a place where I believe in myself. The only solution to this, I’ve found, is hard work. Hard work to the point where I might occasionally get praise from my peers or a job opportunity. Having validation from someone else, makes me feel like I ‘can’ do this. It’s not a perfect formula but working your ass off and improving at something is a great tonic.

Do you have a daily routine of exercise or do you make it up as you go along?

I go through periods of being really dedicated, then life tends to get in the way. I envy people that have daily exercise as part of their routine. I’ll get there one day.

What do you eat to stay healthy?

Tonnes of water. And I try and limit processed foods. If I’ve cooked it from scratch, my conscience is clearer.

What would constitute a ‘perfect’ day for you?

Waking up feeling positive. A good meeting. A late lunch. A glass of wine. My football team winning. My wife preparing dinner. In bed before midnight.

Complete this sentence: “Ace mental health for me means…”

Being able to say, “Today was a good day.”

Name the three songs that most lift your spirits?

Higher Ground – Stevie Wonder.

The Motown Song – Rod Stewart.

Sympathy For The Devil – Rolling Stones

What is your favourite film?

Con Air

What advice do you offer to friends if they are feeling overwhelmed?

I always offer to cook for people. People like having dinner made for them. That, and listening.

Are you watching, reading or listening to anything good at the moment?

Michael Kiwanuka. He’s a blues singer. Would recommend 100%.

For what in life are you most grateful for?

My family. My friends. My wife.

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