Isolation 101: Actor Jennifer Ward-Lealand's Lockdown Distractions

Actor Jennifer Ward-Lealand uplifts her spirits with te reo Maori and classic characters


Actor Jennifer Ward-Lealand shares her self-isolation tips during lockdown. Photo / Supplied

What I’m reading
I’ve just finished Barbara Ewing’s brand new book One Minute Crying Time which I will hopefully be helping to launch on the other side of Covid-19. I’ve been a big fan of her writing since reading The Actresses many years ago and again recently. There are so many things we have in common — our love of te reo Maori and performing.

What I’m watching
I’m immersed in Babylon Berlin series three. It’s so beautifully made and I’m particularly pleased if I hear a familiar song. Last year I toured Delicious Oblivion, a cabaret of German songs from 1928-1937 — exactly the period that the TV show is set in and an era I’ve been fascinated with ever since performing as Marlene Dietrich back in 2003.

The hobby I’ve taken up
I’m making bread again which I haven’t done for about five years. Other than that I’m trying to maintain a schedule of exercise, some work, some attending to the long list and some fun.

What I’m listening to
I’m playing “Whaia” by Maimoa on repeat. It makes me want to dance and keeps my spirits up nicely at this strange time. The lyrics talk about each person’s uniqueness, following your creative path. I love this group’s mahi and their beautiful use of te reo Maori in all their songs.

The thing that made me laugh this week
I’ve been enjoying revisiting a character I played in an episode of the web series Smoko. She’s Maggie, a Scottish vice-principal and she’s now on Facebook with some firm opinions on educating the kiddies. “Facts and figures!” My neighbourhood kids are actually doing some of her projects — though not at 6.30am which is the time she suggests is good for learning, and playing her favourite instrument, the tambourine.

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