Isla's the Grinch who makes Christmas at our Grangemouth depot

December 17, 2020
Isla Fairfield at our Grangemouth depot

Drama graduate Isla Fairfield shows off her makeup skills while working as a warehouse operative at Asda

Isla Fairfield might be dressed as the Grinch but instead of stealing Christmas she's working hard to deliver it for our customers in Scotland.

For the past six months Isla has been working at our Grangemouth depot after graduating with a BA (Hons) in Acting for Stage and Screen. It's a change in career she didn't anticipate before the Coronavirus pandemic cancelled Isla's plans to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Isla Fairfield as the Grinch

"If somebody had told me at the bells on 1st January that by the end of this year I was going to be driving a pallet truck in an Asda warehouse dressed as the Grinch, I'd have asked them what they were drinking!" she said.

"I went from being at home for 10 weeks finishing my acting degree to working full time in a warehouse. It's been a big change but you have to stay positive.

"Asda is a brilliant company to work for and my boyfriend has now got a job at Asda too in another part of the business. It's a great opportunity to save some money and do something a bit different."

Here's Isla – without her Grinch makeup – with colleagues at our Grangemouth depot

Isla said: "Our acting teachers always told us whatever life experiences we have will make us better actors. This isn't what I imagined myself doing but it's a great opportunity and I'm enjoying it.

"My acting has given me the confidence to work in this environment, which is very different to anything I've done before. It's so busy and very physical and we have to socially distance so you have to be resourceful and problem solve as a team. You really have to work together."

Isla is not the only key worker in her family. She lives with her parents, Kathryn and Kenny, who are both in the police and her brother Lyle, 20, who is in the RAF and will be helping with the vaccination rollout over Christmas. She also has two younger sisters, Molly, 15, and Kayleigh, 14.

Isla was inspired to dress up as the Grinch after spotting an advert for a competition in the warehouse challenging colleagues to wear a Christmas jumper, hat or outfit. She did all her own make-up and said colleagues couldn't believe it when they saw her. She was awarded the first prize for her amazing transformation.

She said: "I'd have dressed up even if there wasn't a prize! I absolutely love getting dressed up for Halloween every year so I've had lots of practice with face paints."

Isla celebrated her 21st birthday in May in lockdown with a Zoom quiz before graduating this summer with a degree from St Margaret's University and Edinburgh Napier University.

She said: "I was really lucky - our last show was just before lockdown so we managed to finish it. I was in a play called Road by Jim Cartwright set in a Lancashire mining town in the late 1980s. It was brilliant experience because it's a play where everyone has more than one role. I was playing three completely different parts, which was challenging but great experience. It was good to end on such a high note.

"During lockdown I actually managed to do a play online with another friend from my course – Fugue by Rona Munro. It went really well and we managed to raise £350 for Breast Cancer UK. It's about a woman having a mental breakdown and it's about her relationship with her psychiatrist. It's meant to be performed on stage but we changed it for online. The NHS have started doing FaceTime consultations called "Near Me" calls, so we were able to adapt it. It worked really well and it was amazing to be able to act again."

She will be working over the festive period to make sure everyone gets their Christmas orders, but will spend Christmas Day with her family.

As for her future plans, Isla says she's saving up to buy a place of her own and her ambitions are to land an acting role – and to learn how to drive a forklift truck!

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