INTERVIEW: Anne-marie Curry, teacher & actress
February 3, 2014
Her mother is of Kenyan descent with British background. Her father is Danish. Born in London and raised in Copenhagen, here is Anne-marie Curry – a young actress, model, TV presenter and Transcendental Meditation teacher from Denmark, her compassionate nature and intelligence on par with her stunning looks!
Anne-marie, what are you working on at the moment?
Anne-marie Curry: I do different work – theatre, commercials, television. I also do voice work. Last year, for instance, I had a contract with Bang & Olufsen – a Danish company that designs and manufactures audio products, television sets and telephones. So I did their voice work, internally and also all the commercials.
Did you study acting, at the university?
Anne-marie Curry: I went to a drama school in England, called Drama Centre London (now part of Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design of the University of the Arts London). It was a really, really good course, really intensive three years. After graduation, I stayed in England and worked as a model. I did a lot of commercials, too. At that time, I didn’t work so much in theaters – I was more focused on… the materialistic side of life. That’s the truth! And then I became a Transcendental Meditation teacher and moved back to Denmark.
Can you tell us more specifically how this came to be?
Anne-marie Curry: I was working as a model. You know, life in London is very hectic, there’s a lot of stress – so I was doing many different types of yoga, mindfulness, whatever I could find. Yet I could never really find rest, my mind was still at unease. I didn’t feel any restful alertness. Now, a friend of mine is a Siddha, an advanced meditator in the Transcendental Meditation program – he is always very peaceful, very calm. Always. And he advised me to learn TM.
But you must be prepared to learn Transcendental Meditation. For lots of people, it actually takes some time before they learn the technique because it’s so effective. I was wondering about the cost of the course and so on – money wasn’t the problem, but I just wasn’t ready, mentally. Then, at one point, I was so stressed – although on the outside everything seemed perfect. I was making a lot of money, I had a great career in modelling, things were going really well. Yet I felt empty inside. People thought I was happy, but I was actually still searching for happiness.
So I took the advice from my Siddha friend and learned Transcendental Meditation, in 2008.
I travelled back to Denmark to do that. And I remember that when I got the personal instruction I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, what is this?’ I couldn’t quite believe it. I closed my eyes, and when I opened my eyes I said to my meditation teacher: ‘I want to become a TM teacher!’ She said, ‘Good. But first you must learn the technique.’ It was the most effective thing I’ve ever tried. Instantaneously, I gained restful alertness. Instantaneously, I gained this deep, deep rest which I had never had before. It was just so incredibly easy! I thought, ‘How can something so easy be so effective?’ In life, we often have this idea that anything effective must be hard work, you must feel it physically as hard work… Yet Transcendental Meditation is so blissful, so pleasant – to the soul, to the mind, to the body.
After learning the technique I knew I wanted to become a Transcendental Meditation teacher. I knew that I had to get more knowledge, whatever it takes – I finished all the rounding courses, then went on to the Teacher Training Course about a year after learning the basic Transcendental Meditation practice.
Have you been teaching regularly, since then?
Anne-marie Curry: I was very fortunate. When I moved back to Copenhagen from London, I could start teaching at a folk high school centred on various techniques of spiritual awareness – Ayurvedic cooking, health, Transcendental Meditation – various lines of consciousness-based education. I’ve been very lucky to have been able to teach many ladies at that school.
And I also teach drama, improvisation classes, a course called “Transcendence”. Basically, I do different kinds of drama exercises which help people to become more aware of themselves, more aware of the present moment. Often people want to plan. Actually, listening to and responding to what is happening in the present moment is how life should be.
It all goes in the same direction, then. Helping people to open up, to be more present – to embrace the next thing, and the next thing, and the next thing. Improvisation and being in the moment – I guess, in the heart of it, that’s the same movement.
Anne-marie Curry: It is. But, of course, the best way to become more present in the moment and more aware of yourself is still through Transcendental Meditation. It’s the most effective way.
“Ay, there’s the rub,” as Prince Hamlet would say. It’s so easy, so natural, beneficial in so many ways – and yet there is often such resistance to meditation, a strong impulse of skepticism… Why do you think that is?
Anne-marie Curry: I just think many people have to be ready before they start learning Transcendental Meditation – exactly because it is so effective. It provides such deep release of stress and anxiety. The reason why people are sometimes skeptical is, I think, because they’re stressed to begin with! You just say, ‘Meditation’ – and you look at them becoming angry. If there’s so much stress, it might be good to start with yoga, healthy eating, drinking less alcohol – moving towards things like this.
However, I feel that the world around us is opening up to meditation. There are more and more people interested in it. People are becoming aware that there is more to life than what first meets the eye.
The only thing you can do to inspire people like this is to meditate yourself – twice a day, or just regularly. Maharishi always said that people who meditate have a more loving air surrounding them, they spread more warmth and happiness. People feel this. They look at me sometimes, and these are people who don’t necessarily know that I’m a meditation teacher, and wonder: “You’re always so sweet! You always have something which is unique! What is this?” So this example is what we can give.
Do you meditate twice a day for 20 minutes?
Anne-marie Curry: Basically, yes. As Transcendental Meditation teachers, we can meditate as long as we like – this is what Maharishi said. The more meditation, the better. Of course, being an actress and leading a busy everyday life takes its toll. But I do the TM Siddhi program twice a day, morning and evening. And when I do teaching, then I can meditate for longer – it’s in the schedule, so that’s perfect for me.
Has meditation been beneficial to you in your work, as an actress and a model?
Anne-marie Curry: Certainly! For one, as a model – you do look younger! With meditation, you get less wrinkles and you generally look younger! I remember an article in a health magazine for ladies titled “Meditation is the best Botox”… And that is because a lot of your stress is dissolved. You regularly look more radiant.
So one thing is the visual aspect. At the same time, as an actress, you need to play different parts. In order to do this, you yourself have to have this restful alertness as a person, as an individual – to portray other characters. And it’s not only about switching from one role to another. It’s mainly that meditation gives me the ability to be more at ease with myself, to know myself better. And the better I know myself, the better I can know other characters. I think this is a skill that all the great actors must possess.
With your meditation practice, do you feel that you access ever deeper layers of yourself, deeper layers of wisdom? Or is there an end-point somewhere – sort of final destination on the spiritual journey?
Anne-marie Curry: No. As Maharishi himself says, the consciousness has the ability to develop and expand, to develop and expand. There are different stages of consciousness. And this is what happens through regular practice of Transcendental Meditation – slowly, in a very easy and effortless way, you reach higher levels of consciousness. I cannot say on which level I am, but I definitely do know that through regular practice I know myself much better, in a much more effective way. Your evolution goes much faster with meditation. For instance, they say that when you become a TM teacher, you develop more in those 4 months than you would otherwise in 10 years.
You mention Maharishi a lot. You didn’t have the chance to meet him as he died in 2008. But what kind of a spiritual connection do you feel you have to him?
Anne-marie Curry: He was a very knowledgeable man, with such wisdom and so much love! When I was at the Teachers Training Course, we were taught directly by Maharishi – via his video lectures. So we sat whole days watching Maharishi talking to us and teaching us directly, passing on his knowledge. I developed this close connection with him as this very knowledgeable man… but I feel that what he has really brought to us is this technique of Transcendental Meditation. I feel Maharishi when I meditate – this unbounded awareness. And then I bring it out in life.
To go back to the time when you moved from England to Denmark – you had settled in London, you had a career going. Nevertheless, you decided to pack your suitcases and return to Copenhagen. Did this have anything to do with you becoming a TM teacher?
Anne-marie Curry: I went to London because I wanted to become an actress. After becoming a Transcendental Meditation teacher, I felt so filled up with all this knowledge – I felt the need to go back to the country where I was brought up and teach this knowledge. It was really going back to where my family was, where my roots were, and starting a new chapter.
I feel very privileged to live in Denmark. It is a very clean country. There’s a good welfare system, hospital service, free education… – in that sense, it’s all very, very good. But there’s something which I think is different from Africa or Latin-America: people here are very lonely. Especially the elderly, but the young people, too. The family life is not so … warm, as in some southern countries. So this is one thing which I think needs to change in our society. People need to be together more.
Anne-Marie, what are the dreams you have with respect to your own life and career?
Anne-marie Curry: I’m working hard to earn, at some point, a lead part at a world theater or TV series. Also, I want to teach many people in Denmark Transcendental Meditation. I usually have quite strong intuition, and here it tells me that when I achieve success in my acting career, then everything will naturally happen in teaching, too. I can already use the attention I get as an actress to talk about meditation in interviews to magazines etc. You see, meditation for many people is a rather abstract thing. For them to decide to learn it, a visual role model is helpful: ‘Oh, so this person is meditating! Look, she is so successful and so radiant – I would like to have what makes her so!’
And besides work and meditation, I also want to marry and create a nice, loving family!
We wish you all the best in achieving your dreams!
To see more about Anne-marie’s work,
visit her official web site