Where science and art meet
My journey to this point has been quite convoluted to say the least. Having studied medicine at University College London and graduating as a doctor in 2010, I somewhat thought my life and career were all planned out.
I worked as a doctor full time for a few years but gradually felt a void in my life. When I applied to medical school I was always advised that universities like "well rounded people." Well I had many passions, particularly music, which I had to push aside once in the world of medicine.
In my final year of medical school I put together a demo CD of me performing a few musical theatre numbers and dropped it through the letterbox of one of the biggest theatrical agents in London. About two hours later I got an email from their office simply saying:
"Where do you see yourself in 10 years?"
"As a working doctor with a few West End credits under my belt."
A few weeks later I was signed with that very agent and 8 years later I work as a registrar in medicine and have been lucky enough to perform in shows such as "Sunset Boulevard" with Glenn Close (https://www.eno.org/whats-on/sunset-boulevard/), Andrew Lloyd Webber's "School of Rock" (https://uk.schoolofrockthemusical.com/) and will soon be playing the role of Karim in "Broken Wings" at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket (http://www.trh.co.uk/whatson/broken-wings/).
I suppose this journey is sort of a metaphor for the conflict of the artist and scientist with me. That, probably, is where perfume comes in. Smell affects me more than any other sense. When I see patients with Parkinson's Disease who often lose their sense of smell and therefore taste, I felt I could never empathise with how terrible that must be.
When I create a perfume, there is a point in the process where it just seems "right" to me. This is a totally emotionally driven process and every spray transports me back to that "right" moment. This I suppose is what appeals to the artist in me.
Then there is my studio space. Weighing scales, beakers, pipettes, oils and aroma chemicals. All very reminiscent of the time I spent in laboratories during those six years of medical school. This working environment feels familiar and comfortable.
People often ask me whether I prefer being an actor or a doctor. I always reply in the same way. I couldn't do one without the other. Doing both means I never feel jaded about either career and they appeal to different aspects of my character.
The reality though is that perfumery combines my passion for the measured, specificity of science with the raw emotion of art.