Arts & culture

Shine on

Jessie Cave is a comedian, actor, and famous doodler. Her show, Sunrise, was a sell-out at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2018, and comes to the Soho Theatre in May

Interview: Cheryl Caira

Your daily doodles about love and motherhood have a cult following on Instagram. What do they mean to you – and what do you hope they mean to other people?

I started doing a doodle a day online back when Twitter started. At the time it was one of the few things in my life and career which I felt I was in control of, and it became a way to kick off my working day. I always base the doodles in truth, so I don’t necessarily think first about how they might affect other people. But when I get comments and messages about how people connected to them, I feel so relieved and happy.

Your show Sunrise is about babies, breaking up and trying to do it all as a mother, girlfriend and ex-girlfriend. Why do you think we still feel the pressure as women to try and ‘do it all’ while wearing so many hats?

I actually don’t think all women try to do it all or all women feel the pressure. I would have been happier at times if I hadn’t tried to do it all. I think certain women want to be limitless but what I’ve realised is that sometimes it is better to acknowledge and embrace limitations and be creative with them.

Part of the show is about reclaiming your confidence post-breakup and being hopeful about a new chapter. How much did writing and performing the show help you get to that point?

It helped a great deal – much more than I ever thought it would. I wrote it just for me. Doing the show has also, I think, made me feel a bit more confident and grow as a person and a performer.

You and your ex-partner and fellow comedian, Alfie Brown, both performed shows at the 2018 Fringe that touched on your breakup. How have you managed to navigate both the personal and the professional?

Alfie does mention me in his show, but it’s not quite the same love letter as Sunrise… His show [Lunatic] was brilliant, as is he. We are honest with each other about what we are writing about and are both our biggest supporters in creative things, and life things. I think this was a story I needed to share in particular and minute detail – but I will not be writing so unbelievably personally again any time soon. Once is enough!

You’ve spoken before about having a non-conventional set-up with your ex. Do you reckon Britain can still be a pretty judgemental place when it comes to a relationship that seems out of the norm?

There is no right way to fall in love, or fall out of it, or stay in it. Hopefully we become a society that embraces different forms of relationships and the traditional set-ups are reconsidered. Because love isn’t just about being together – you can love someone and be apart. Sometimes a breakup is a way of coming back together, a way of learning more about yourself so that you can be better together. It’s never simple.

 What’s the hardest part of dating in 2018?

The variety of ways you can be watched, seen and messaged at all times – highlighting even more brutally when you are not getting a text or WhatsApp or DM back.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever been given about one of your shows?

“I cried. “

 You’ve had some roles on programmes covering pretty dark topics, like Glue and Black Mirror. Does getting your head around the darker side of society appeal?

I have had quite varied roles as an actress so far which is great – not that I’ve got that many roles, but I gratefully take what I can get!

You played Lavender Brown in the Harry Potter films. Do you mind the intense fandom that still comes with the series?

It will always be something I get asked about, even though I was a small part in a film a long time ago. And I’ll always be happy about that. It was a great thing for my life and my family’s life. I cannot wait to read the books to my children.

You’re working on a pilot for a new drama. Are you able to tell us anything about it?

 All I can say is my fingers are crossed.

Jessie will perform Sunrise at London’s Soho Theatre from 27th May – 8th June. Tickets on sale at