Siobhan Lee is a British-born actor, writer, producer, and e-commerce professional residing in New York City. After earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, Siobhan launched a career in Retail Buying and Merchandising. Using her creative, analytical, and collaborative skills over the years, Siobhan became an accomplished omni-channel merchant across a range of iconic brands, building dynamic assortments, driving growth, increasing productivity, and improving her businesses’ competitive position through strategic brand management.
After a decade of working at a high level in the Retail industry, Siobhan began to explore other passions, starting with her lifelong flair for performance. She took acting classes on nights and weekends, in conjunction with her demanding retail career, and studied and performed improv and stand-up comedy in London. After a few years of classes at some of the UK’s most prestigious acting conservatoires (RADA, the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and Drama Centre London), Siobhan’s desire to pursue acting as a career grew, so she made a full-time commitment to move to train as an actor.
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Siobhan graduated from Arts Educational Schools London with a Master’s in Acting. Her performance in a showcase at Theater Row drew the attention of agents in New York City, prompting her to move to New York in 2019, which would mark the beginning of the adventurous life of a working actor.
And then the pandemic happened.
Despite the setback, Siobhan called on her improv comedy background to create the hilarious Quarantine Court series, which she shot at home during lockdown. Most recently, she starred in and produced the upcoming horror film, Who’s Afraid.
What is it about the entertainment industry that moves your soul?
Siobhan Lee: It always boils down to possibilities. From the perspective of the Actor in me, I think about the characters I could play, the people I could work with, and the scenarios I could be in. Getting to travel to some incredible remote part of the world, experiencing the place, the people, and the culture all the while shooting with incredibly talented artists and crew members, learning from them, and sharing experiences. Or the idea of getting to, say, wield a sword of fire while flying through the air fighting a dragon! The gift of being able to live as close to another life/lives as possible is the beauty of this vocation. But from a broader perspective, it’s the possibilities of the impact you can have.
People have been telling stories since we could communicate, passing down knowledge, experience, and history. It is what evolves us as a species, hopefully for the better, and gives us a better understanding of our existence. This industry provides the opportunity to continue this legacy in a much bigger way, to an extended audience. To work in the entertainment industry, particularly on stories that matter, that mean something and have the potential of doing some good, which for me is uniting us and feeding our empathy and kindness for one another, that feeds my soul! I remember seeing movies growing up that rocked my world and opened my eyes to the good and the bad in the world. Movies that made me want to be a better person, and do my part to make a better world. I also think there is importance in the escapism you can give someone. I can’t tell you the relief watching a ridiculous comedy has given me during tough moments in my life; sometimes that little bit of levity has been just the therapy I needed!
So I guess what moves my soul is really the possibility of touching other souls. And with more diverse new voices getting opportunities in this industry, though there is still a long way to go yet on this front, it has never been more exciting to pursue the entertainment industry and all the possibilities!
What are some of the latest projects you have worked on and what are you currently working on?
Siobhan Lee: My latest project is the horror short Who’s Afraid I produced and starred in, written and directed by C. LeMar McLean. Who’s Afraid is a story about a ‘Karen’ who flees the city after going viral for a racist incident, only to pay the cost of implicit bias when targeted by a homicidal wolf-worshipping cult. Not only is this a thrilling entertaining horror, but by illustrating how racial biases destroy more than they protect, Who’s Afraid uses life-and-death stakes to position empathy as a key to collective survival.
As a justice narrative, and given some of the barriers still present for marginalized storytellers to make their visions a reality, Who’s Afraid represented an opportunity for LeMar and me to bet on ourselves. Refusing to live haunted by ‘what if’s and ‘if only’s, we used our day-job savings to take the bold step of financing the production phase of the film. And in December 2021, we assembled an incredible cast and crew, and with our vehicles loaded with equipment, costumes, props, and COVID-compliance supplies, we trekked up to the magnificent (and snowy) Adirondacks, poised to make our mark. The movie is now officially finished and we are ready to share it with the world, starting with the film festival circuit!
What was the journey like for you to obtain your Psychology degree?
Siobhan Lee: I come from a family of high achievers, mostly in the finance sector. And in England, you specialize immediately at college in whatever subject you choose. So at 17, I was encouraged to study law. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do career wise, I knew it wasn’t that! So I switched to Psychology, a “safer, more conventional” path because I felt like studying acting would have been a big no-no. I had always been interested in the entertainment industry and had dreams to be a performer or make movies but thought, “well doesn’t everyone?!” and dismissed it as a pipe dream.
I think I gravitated to Psychology because it was probably the closest I could get to acting. It deals with behaviors, emotions, and motivations, so there’s a strong correlation between acting and psychology. I didn’t realize this at the time of course, but looking back now it makes sense I chose that area of study. It also served me in my business career (so much statistical analysis!). It felt like an interesting subject that would lend itself to any number of options post-grad, and it did!
What is a super fun fact about yourself that you would like to share with our readers?
Siobhan Lee: I have Tri-citizenship, (UK, Ireland, and the US).
What do you hope for yourself for the rest of the year?
Siobhan Lee: I am hoping that my movie Who’s Afraid is positively embraced by the festivals and audiences and that we will be able to get distribution for the film. I also hope it will be recognized as a shining example to the industry of our skills and work ethic so we can make (and fund) many more of our projects. We have at least another 8 scripts we want to produce and we’re already planning a feature film for next year. Watch this space!
I also love performing comedy and have been studying and working on my stand-up. I’ve performed a few times already this year in New York at the Comedy Cellar and Broadway Comedy club, so I’m really hoping to be able to get focused on that again and just get out there to open mics and work on my craft!
Keep up to date with Siobhan Lee by connecting @itspronouncedsiobhan