Monday, April 15, 2024

Encapsulated: Claire Chitham

She’s been in pretty much every classic Kiwi production since the 90s, and in 2020 Claire Chitham isn’t slowing down – Covid be damned. Here’s what makes her tick:

The one book you’d recommend above all others?

Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins. It’s about life, longevity, love, beauty, time, our olfactory senses and beetroots. It’s nonsense and magic, just like life.

The song that uplifts you on difficult days?

Happy by Pharrell  (I challenge you NOT to sing along or shake your shoulders) or I put on happy house music from the early 00’s… Nice N Urlich always nail this.

The piece of advice that’s been most helpful?

Small bites are easier to digest!  This obviously applies to being kind to your guts, something I’m quite passionate about, but also to anything you’re facing in life, be it physical, emotional or mental. One step at a time, taking smaller bites is a mindset that I find helpful when it comes to tackling everything from goals, work, projects, ideas, relationships, or simply making it to the end of a day. Especially this year!

The dream you still hope to achieve?

Living in Paris for a year or so, learning to speak French and writing a novel. (All at the same time obviously)

The first thought you had this morning?

How many times can I hit the snooze button before I have to REALLY get up? (I heart sleeeeeeeep.)

The thing you’re the most proud of?

The people in my life, my friendships and relationships. They give me love, energy and purpose and I cultivate them as such.

The travel you think about the most?

My 2018 birthday trip to Paris, Amalfi coast and Barcelona. Have been travelling there in my mind daily this year! Mostly via wine and cheese.

The travel you still need to do?

South America, India (again), Africa, the Caribbean, Turkey, Morocco, Japan (again), driving through the Southern States of the US…  maybe one day in 2031?

The possession you most prize?

My body and my wisdom. It’s all we’ve really got.

The challenge you’re most proud of conquering?

Beating Crohn’s Disease when I was in my early twenties. Disease free for 22 years now. I’ve even written a book about it – due to hit your shelves in December!

The happiest memory that comes to mind?

Childhood times with my Poppa… he was the guy that taught me what a happy state of mind was. He’d also tickle me until I couldn’t breathe from laughing. And being on the water on boats with my Dad and family when I was younger: pure, innocent, bliss. Not that I don’t feel that same kind of happy today, they were just idyllic and formative times.

The TV show you put on when you want to relax?

This year it’s been Schitt’s Creek. Watching Moira & Alexis makes everything ok again.

The movie that never fails to make you cry?

Whale Rider – Who can sit through Keisha’s speech without their heart breaking?

The person you’d like to say thank you to the most?

I’m the sum of all the people in my life. My Mum, my Dad, my brothers, my Poppa and then every mentor, healer and friend I’ve ever had – could thank them all on the daily. You don’t do any of this alone really do you?

The skill or hobby you love the most?

Performing. Acting, singing… I’m lucky that my hobby turned into my career when I was young, but it’s still the thing I like doing most. Nothing beats the feeling of performing on stage or in front of a camera when the writing is good and the story worth it.

The hopes you have for the next 12 months – both in NZ and worldwide?

Eeek – That’s a tall order isn’t it?! Idealistically – I’d like to hope that globally we start to work together better, sharing knowledge and resources better, finding some new systems that help redistribute the wealth in this world. Health needs to become the new priority, but we need support, education and access from our governments for that to become a reality.

I’m passionate about Illness Prevention – empowering ourselves to better take care of our own health and immunity, and how we can make that easier and more accessible to all. This challenging year has certainly put our health centre-stage; now we need to do something positive and progressive about it.

Claire guest-stars in the new season of Mean Mums – check her out on October 13, 8.30pm on Three

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