Tyeicha Westbrook left school at 17 as a disillusioned teenager with few qualifications and vague ideas about becoming an actress.
The Doncaster teenager’s time at school was unhappy; there were constant disruptions that Tyeicha said stemmed largely from her frustration and anger at feeling both “bullied and misjudged.”
But her strength of character - she describes herself as feisty - has served her well in the past two years and the now 19-year old has her first starring role in a web production being filmed now across her home county of South Yorkshire.
It hasn’t been an easy road for her so far. She has worked extremely hard and with dogged determination to get herself noticed, admitted Tyeicha.
She auditioned and was accepted for a place studying performing arts at Doncaster College, then after graduating sent out scores of applications to casting agencies across the country.
“I applied for casting after casting and ignored the negative responses,” she explained. “You do have to be so tough about rejections. My first professional job last year was in a film based in Manchester called Corruption ll. I played a waitress in that, and I have kept busy while I wait for the big break in to mainstream television and film that I need.”
Three Little Pigs, directed by Liam Gilroy, is the current production in which she stars. It is a three-part thriller and Tyeicha is a girl who has drive and ambition but feels trapped, working in a corner shop. A sudden opportunity changes her life, and Tyeicha identifies with the role of Daisy strongly.
As the action takes place in South Yorkshire, she is home for Christmas with her family in Doncaster, after moving to London to network some months ago, and working as an au pair for a family down there between acting jobs.
“It’s quite a demanding role and we are filming around the town centres in Barnsley, Sheffield and Doncaster, I’ll be here until February and the first screening will be at the Sheffield Showroom Cinema in April next year,” said Tyeicha.
“I really wanted this role and went all out for it, because it was based in South Yorkshire.
“I’ve been prepared to take on take on most roles to gain experience but want to avoid soaps at this stage.
“By working on independent productions I’ve seen how films are made and on what budgets. I’m finding out everything I can about the industry and find it easier being based in London for now.”
“I was travelling all over the country, getting up at 4am to attend auditions and spending hours and hours travelling to and from places, often for nothing. It’s tiring and often disheartening.”
Her college course was valuable as it gave her direction, said Tyeicha.
“I found out what I wanted to do. School was always difficult but I have ambition to make something of myself now because I love acting. No-one outside the business quite understands what it’s like.
“I do wish I’d tried harder at school. I would love to be able to inspire other young people who want to act, and show that it is possible to follow your dream, whatever that might be.
“I have featured in multiple films already, mainly low budget productions at first but then better opportunities started coming along.
“I am in a huge and very competitive industry but I learn something new every single day.
“As I’m back in my home town right now I wanted to share my story so far.”
Tyeicha’s family are pleased to have her back for the Christmas period.
She has three younger siblings. One sister, Enya, is also ‘theatrical’ and idolises her older sister, said the actress.
Tyeicha has an acting coach, David Johnson, who she sees on a fortnightly basis.
She loves ‘old school drama’ and would love to pursue that genre in particular, within television work.
“I’m excited for the future. The pace of my life has speeded up. It’s a case of watch this space,” added Tyeicha.