Karen David Q&A

Karen David

Waterloo Road's Sexy Spanish tutor Francesca Montoya aka Karen David talks candidly to Craig Nelson about her Movie and Music careers so far..


Up until now you have enjoyed a varied acting career including Stage (Mama Mia) serveral feature films (The Colour of Magic, The Scorpion King 2 and Couples Retreat) and now Waterloo Road for the Beeb, What's been your favourite acting role so far?

I have maybe two or three favourite moments, one would be hanging upside down, 25-30 feet off the ground with Sir David Jason in the Colour of Magic, I remember we were laughing together as our faces turned red and our muscles were aching from hangin upside down and sword fighting together was very funny, it's moments like that that make you feel 'WOW' and this is how i pay my bills.


Another moment was getting sunburnt and windburnt in the desert during the filming of The Scorpion King 2, that was incredible and painful at the same time but the end results always make me feel it was worth while and i learnt how to ride a Camel, and my Camel wasn't in a very good mood at all... another endearing moment happened in Rochdale, we were filming on the Moors for Episode One of Waterloo Road, i'd just got back from 3 weeks filming on Bora Bora where we shot Couples Retreat with Vince Vaughn, the wind was so strong on the Moors we were getting blown everywhere. the hail was whipping me on the face and Fraser (Waterloo Road director) was trying to cheer up the cast, he'd say to me 'Ok, Karen from Holywood, fresh from the beautiful Bora Bora, welcome to Rochdale!' Those are just a few things that spring to mind.


Many of your roles have involved action scenes, have you had any martial arts training?

It's funny because when i was in drama college i absolutely loved sword fighting, i know it's not a common interest for girls to like swords but i love them, I love the art form of fencing, i really enjoyed the film 'Crouchin' tiger hidden dragon' displaying the art of 'wushu', i think also because it a more interesting way to keep in shape rather than running on a treadmill, i find that a bit boring, i try to find some ways to keep in shape and fencing is perfect.


After leaving Hollywood to join a British soap - How have you found the transition?

It was a no brainer for me, after i finished filming for Colour of Magic i kind of skipped an important part of acting i'd always wanted to do which is mainstream British TV, as an actor starting out you might do shows like your 'Holby city', i did a show for BBC wales called 'Belonging' and one for Johnny Vaughan but i wanted to do more British TV so when i landed the part of Francesca Montoya for Waterloo Road, a successful, well beloved BBC drama series it was a no brainer for me, and to play a spanish teacher and not a fantasy or action advernture movie was attractive, the new series is gritty and edgier and more daring than the previous series of Waterloo road, i love my character.

I'm so glad i did it, to be part of the Waterloo Road family has just been wonderful and they are one of the best cast and crew i've had the pleasure of working with - I love Manchester

 Are there similarities between your character Francesca Montoya and the real Karen David?

Oh my god in some ways i wish, in the sense that she looks a million bucks everytime she goes to school, her hair and makeup is so perfect, she wears these tight pencil skirts, i don't know how she does it, she look incredible every single day and i know that i can't do that. What i share with 'Cesca' is her passion for life, she's very passionate about her family, love of food, love of friends and she loves her job on those levels i can, i'm fiesty too like her but she's very oppinonated, she's a tough cooky, her ways of teaching are very new-age and very different to that of the other staff memebers, she's the youngest teacher which could be dangerous sometimes because the students look at her as a cool young teacher and a friend rather than a person in authority. She means well but sometimes her intentions don't always work out the way she would like!


You've released you music single 'Hynotised' this week, tell us more about that?

My music is very much an extension of who i am, it's vulnerable very exposing, i write all my own music and it's very important for me to try to encompass the exotic sound from my rich heritage, i call my music 'exotic pop' you know i like to tell a good story in my songs, i think it's been a journey to find that sound.


Was there a fundamental moment growing up that made you think 'i can write better music than i'm listening too'?

When i was 4 years old, my older sister was always playing Wham, George Michael, Duran Duran and one day she sat me down one day and we watched 'Xanadu' with Olivia Newton John and i fell in Love, from then i had to sing like her and act on tv and movies like her. My parents took us to a New Kids on the Block concert and the moment i saw Jordan Knight performing i knew i wanted to write music and perform. i wrote my first song at 11 years old, i just kept writing and writing and with anything the more you write the better you get, you start to understand what makes a good hook, what's a cool melody line.

For me as a song writer it's all about being inspired and there's inspiration everywhere, you just gotta keep your eyes open for it.

I always have a pad of paper and pen by my bedside, in the bathroom by the tub, in the kitchen, you just never know when your next ideas gonna come, i was sat on a packed train, all of a sudden i get a cool melody idea and i'm like 'what am i gonna do'? sing infront of everyone? haha i wait for a quiet moment and sing into my phone, you just never know when inspiration will strike, when i was filming Waterloo Road, we would have breaks inbetween scenes, maybe a couple of hours off and being in a creative place just fuels my energy for writing songs, i wrote alot during filming and it's nice now to pull those song out, i'm like 'Ah I remember this - i was in the green room with 'George Samson', nice moments, music has that power to take you back to a spot and i'm very excited to be back in the studio recording all those ideas that i wrote down.


I believe you've performed at the famous Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club?

Well Ronnie Scotts was realy exciting, ive played there twice with my whole band, for any artist to walk through those doors is a real honor, i studied Jazz music at the brooklyn college of music and as a teenager i remember Ronnie Scotts was always talked about and reverred, to play there later was truly an nice moment.


Any plans to sing in Manchester?

I would love to sing in Manchester, i have such a fond attachment to it now especially having spend 6 months filming up there, i always update my facebook and twitter, i'll definately keep you posted.


How does Karen David relax and wind down?

I do go to premiers, award events and charity functions but i really look forward to my Sundays, i like to sleep in, roll out of bed late, take my dog for a walk then i head to the pub for a Sunday Roast then go home, pick up the Sunday times come home, laze on the couch and do nothing more than watch some TV omnibus, sip a nice cappuccino and Laze around.


I mentioned to my dad that i would be talking to you this week, he's a fan of your character on Waterloo Road and he asked if you like older men and are you single? :)

When i was in my twenties and always seemed to date older men, men with experience, they've done more, my mum says i have an old soul maybe it's that, i have friends that range from 21 to 70, for me i love hearing interesting stories, i normally date men a couple of years older than me but the oldest has been 10 years older.. say Hi to your dad for me...


(Q: From Gary Robinson) Have you ever been to Barrow in Furness?

Where's that? I'll look it up on my i-pad.


(Q From @SimonLong) Any plans to release an album?

Well i'm busy recording tracks for the album now and i hope for a full release by spring time, it's been a long journey to get to this point, i can tell you now that the album will be called 'The girl in the pink glasses' and it basically about the moments in my life, its funny that when about things that are very personal it becomes universal, a lot of people can relate to it. The pink glasses is a very important track for me, i write about growing up and high school and being that pubesant odd-looking teenager and being picked on for looking different, of course i wore rediculous looking pink speckled framed glasses and i used to hide behind my hair and stare at the floor most of the time...

I was quiet and the song recalls those moments growing up, my first date, first heartbreak, or moving away from home, these things that people can relate to, kind of like an open diary.

Karen David stars in BBC’s Waterloo Road and her new single ‘Hypnotize’ is out now.


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