An aspiring neurodivergent actress is putting up a billboard by Coronation Street at MediaCity with the hope it could get her cast in the programme.
Known as the ‘Articulate Autistic Actor’, Mariama Bojang, 27, wants the upcoming unveiling of her poster to provide opportunity for more roles like her first television credit in ITV’s Prey.
The Matt Zina Acting School student said: “I was contemplating what else I could do to develop my personal brand and my marketing scheme because I’ve been informed – and it is true – that good PR is as much part and parcel of a successful acting career as hard work and talent.
“I already upload to social media and email casting directors, but I thought ‘I think I need to do more than this… what else can I do to advertise myself?’
“Then it hit me: advertise myself, except on a grander scale.
“I thought ‘billboards – why not?’
“It’s a form of advertisement, it’s very successful, it’s bound to reach more people.”
After spending the last year modelling and taking part in student films, Mariama is keen to make herself known to casting directors in her dream genre of soap operas.
She explained: “I thought ‘why not a billboard next to a television studio?’
“One in Leeds, which is where Emmerdale is filmed on Kirkstall Road, the other in MediaCityUK, which is where Coronation Street is filmed.
“That or a television crime drama – those are my ultimate objectives.”
Then it hit me: advertise myself, except on a grander scale.
With a mention on This Morning and an article published on The Mirror in the last week, it seems Mariama’s advertising strategy is already proving a success.
She said: “I’ve found the response to be positive.
“I, myself, have been directly contacted by a casting director who asked me to message him and said ‘I think what you did was superb, and I’m willing to give you some of my time and offer you advice if need be’, so that’s fantastic.
“I’ve had a lot of support from all sorts of people.”
With her ‘trademark’ ‘Articulate Autistic Actor’ branding, Mariama’s billboard is also a positive development for other neurodivergent acting hopefuls.
The Aberdeen native suggested: “I think that the fact that I am on the spectrum contributes to my acting skills because, as a person who is neurodiverse in a predominantly neurotypical world, I inadvertently act whenever I interact with other people.
“I am looking to encourage more people who are neurodivergent who are also in the arts to not let that be a hindrance and on the contrary to own the fact that they are neurodivergent and use it to their advantage in any way they can.
“It could well become part of their niche as it has become mine.”