Talking facial differences and life lessons with Crystal Marshall
Crystal Marshall, 23, was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer (osteosarcoma) in her face when she was 18-years-old. At the time she was studying performing arts and felt that her dream of becoming an actress and working in the theatre was over. After undergoing chemotherapy and operations to remove the tumour, which left her with changes to the right side of her face, Crystal thought she would never be able to act again. However, fast forward 5 years and she is at LAMDA drama school in London, well on the way to a distinguished acting career. She starred in BBC’s ‘Face It’, a monologue exploring life with a facial difference ( BBC iPlayer - Culture in Quarantine - Face It - Leonie) and has very recently had her first big theatre appearance. The first time Crystal showed her face to people outside her family was during her audition for drama school. Crystal is determined to advocate for better representation of visible facial differences on screen and in theatre not just using a pity or villainous narrative and aspires to help others who have facial differences realise they can still have the confidence to fulfil their dreams.
In this episode we discuss:
- Why you’re never rejected, just redirected.
- Her journey to rebuild her confidence and feel like ‘Crystal’ after her surgery.
- The barriers she experiences through living with a facial difference.
- Realising the biggest obstacle to becoming the person she wanted to be again was herself.
- How COVID, lockdown and masks impacted her recovery.
- Her dreams to use her growing platform to advocate for normalisation of people with facial differences on mainstream TV.
- The stigma that a previous cancer diagnosis can cause when dating.
- Learning to believe in herself.
- The pride she felt during her first big London stage appearance with her mum watching.
Crystal is wise beyond her years and has learnt life lessons that most of us take a lifetime to learn. We know you will love listening to her story.