LMA’s Rachel Riley talks breaking boundaries and building confidence


Rachel Riley, LMA

It’s vital to champion our female stars of the future says Rachel Riley, vice principal of media, music and performing arts at the LMA.

We all know that International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate inspirational women, champion women’s rights and look at what still needs to be done to close the equality gap with men.

For me, though, it is about more than that – as vice principal of LMA, I want our students to believe they can go after their goals and feel empowered to try new things.

One of the disciplines we teach is film and television, which can be viewed as a very technical subject and, as such, can be a male-dominated area.

But, I feel it’s my job to instil a strong sense of confidence and self-belief in our girls, ensuring that they have the opportunity to navigate different avenues without feeling restricted.

I’m particularly passionate about our young women having – and being proud to have – multiple identities; for example, I am both a manager and a teacher, but I am also a wife and a mother, and I feel it’s important that girls understand that it’s okay to be creative, ambitious, want to climb the career ladder and have a family!

We’re certainly not short of female role models in the spotlight at the moment.

Personally, I truly admire Thelma Schoonmaker, film editor and long-time collaborator with Martin Scorsese, for her drive and pure talent, which has of course been recognised with three Oscars to her name.

I also love how Olivia Colman is going from strength to strength – I particularly liked how, during her Oscar acceptance speech, she referenced her job as a cleaner before Hollywood beckoned and how she ‘loved’ that role.

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I thought it was fantastic how she had absolutely no qualms in saying that she enjoyed it and, equally, loves what she’s doing now – a real example of how hard work and perseverance can pay off.

Of course, while it’s great to have huge stars as role models, it’s also important to have relatable, everyday women doing an amazing job in their field, who our female students can look up to.

This is something we do extremely well at LMA with our tutors who can provide great inspiration to our students.

It’s fantastic to see the growth in students’ confidence as they realise that failure at a particular skill can be a learning curve and that a lesson can, in fact, be taken from every stumbling block. What’s important is that they have the curiosity to explore possibilities and turn over new stones and be brave to take on new challenges whatever the end result.

We’re incredibly lucky to have access to such a hotbed of talent from Liverpool – I believe the creativity and skills have always been here but it’s now being recognised by the rest of the country…and beyond.

From actresses like Jodie Comer to Hollywood film producer of A Star is Born, Lynette Howell Taylor, it’s an incredibly exciting time and I’m proud that we’re helping to fuel this talent machine.




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