Who is Fem Belling?
A pickle eating, violin playing, life grabbing, racist hating, jazz singing, South African born, musical loving, shoe fanatic who gets to wake up each day and share her gift with the world!
What would you do differently to what you do now?
In a parallel universe I would love to be a – who am I kidding!?! I’ve been a ballerina, a TV presenter, a music theatre performer, a tap dancer, a winner, a loser, a perfume sprayer, a teacher, a student, a jazz musician… I think that’s a good starting block.
Who inspires you and why?
Passion inspires me, compassion inspires me, love inspires me, music inspires me, symmetry inspires me, and so ergo the people who live by those ideals. My family are pretty amazing too, they are totally winning at this life thing!!
What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I would like to think I already do make a difference in our world. Growing up through the latter part of Apartheid in South Africa opens your eyes to some of the heartless nature of humanity. It is so easy and common to feel that one’s voice can’t make a difference, but we need to start trying. I try to live my life with acceptance and love. Accepting each other includes embracing all our differences. We don’t have to agree with each other but lets not kill each other because of our differences.
Favourite holiday destination and why?
Sun… gimme the sea and the sun. Maybe somewhere people don’t wear crocs? No kidding, holidays fall into a few categories, pina colada’s, glüwein, sangria, gastro delights and rest. I’ll take em all thanks! (I’m probably not one to be found hiking on my holiday).
When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
I am a Melbourne Laneway girl… an evening in the city checking out the bars, food and vibes of Melbs alleyway and tucked away spots. Sunset on the rooftop of the Toff in Town. Bison voddie at The Croft Institute, a roti Chanai from Mamak. Melbourne is one helllova place.
What are you currently reading?
Jeffery Deaver: The Skin Collector (but with rehearsals for Sexercise in full swing I think I have re-read the same paragraph 5 times before falling dead asleep).
What are you currently listening to?
Gregory Porter – all his albums on repeat. I have also started to shuffle my entire music collection which has brought up some long forgotten gems so I am revisiting some Jason Robert Brown, Louis Armstrong, Bjork… it’s great!
TIME: time to snuggle, time to enjoy a leisurely breakie, time for family, time for lots of laughs, singing, dancing in the sunshine (with sunscreen on of course) Time to whisper secrets, time to ponder, time to drink martini’s. Time is such a rare commodity.
What does the future hold for you?
I hope a lot of love, success happiness, creativity and gin, but I do believe we have to go out there and start get the ball rolling. A new album is on it’s way too.
After graduating from The National Theatre Ballet School, Fem Belling traded her tutu, pointe shoes and tights for jazz bands, tap shoes and spotlights.
She began her musical theatre journey in South Africa appearing in Little Shop of Horrors (Audrey), Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (Narrator), Jesus Christ Superstar, Summer Holiday, Oklahoma, The Rocky Horror Show (Janet, Columbia), and Nunsense Jamboree. She then joined the international tour of Cats as Jennyanydots.
Crossing the seas to London, Fem trod the boards of West End Theatres for many years. She played the lead in Hairspray’s Original West End cast (Tracy Turnblad, Shelly), she performed for Her Majesty The Queen at the Royal Variety Show, and was also in Austentatious (Emily), Fame (Mabel), Footloose (Betty, Rusty), Annie Get Your Gun, Debbie Does Dallas (Assistant Director, Donna), BBC’s Danni’s House (series), BBC’s Edu (series) and feature film Mr Bones (Dora).
Her Australian credits include the role of Liza in The Boy from Oz, Genesis to Broadway and her own show Dear Blossom. Winner of 5 FNB Vita Theatre Awards and a Best Show Olivier Award, Fem has made a name for herself as a jazz vocalist and violinist in the Melbourne jazz scene, having shared the stage with many Australian, South African and International jazz luminaries at prestigious jazz venues.
Fem will be appearing in the Australian premiere of Sexercise the Musical at Melbourne’s new live performance venue, the Alex Theatre, St Kilda from 19 February. For more information, visit: www.sexercisethemusical.com for details.
Image: Fem Belling