Who's your biggest inspiration? Answers to that question range from iconic figures to high-flying contemporaries but it's always nice when somebody gives a shoutout to a person who really made a difference to them. 

For actress Lara Peake that person is Luke Gell, founder of the Inspire Academy in Nottingham. 

"He’s always pushed and believed in me even before I had the confidence to pursue acting outside of my bedroom," says Peake.

"He puts in so much work for people and so I’m excited for the generation of talent currently at Inspire now." 

Peake is currently starring in Nicole Leky's acclaimed Mood – showing on BBC3. 


What upcoming project(s) are you most excited about?

Mood, written and created by Nicole Lecky. It’s funny yet bold in the way it confronts taboo topics and is packed with some banging original music.

I think it will spark wider conversations so I’m excited to see how people respond.

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

Probably landing my first role. My mum and I were driving up to Sheffield when I got the call and she had to pull in to prevent herself from crashing the car with excitement.

Seeing her so happy has really stuck with me.

If you could change one thing about your career, what would it be?

I’m hoping to write and direct a short film this year and I’ve had a few ideas so would like to see how they develop. I also recently bought a Super 8 camera so I’m getting to grips with learning how to shoot on film.

Lara Peake

What do you hope to achieve that you haven’t yet?

I’d love to be in a play! I have huge admiration for theatre actors and can imagine that the adrenaline of it all hits differently than screen.

I’m keen to constantly keep learning so picking up the different skills and experiencing the chronological start to finish process of putting on a play would be amazing.

Outside of your family, who is / was your biggest inspiration?

Luke Gell who founded the Inspire Academy in Nottingham. He’s always pushed and believed in me even before I had the confidence to pursue acting outside of my bedroom.

He’s hilarious and makes me realise the importance of humour in harder times too. He puts in so much work for people and so I’m excited for the generation of talent currently at Inspire now.

Tell us something nobody knows about you…

A piece of my soul gets left behind in Hackney’s MOTH Club each time I visit. For all the right reasons.

Lara Peake


What’s your favourite item of clothing – and what does it mean to you?

My blue velvet Vivienne Westwood suit, I’m terrified to wear it so only put it on for meaningful moments.

But I enjoy the rareness of wearing it – it makes those moments feel even more special.

Favourite accessory – watch / jewellery / etc – and why is it special to you?

When I was seventeen my mum bought me a pair of rose gold, dangly, skeleton earrings that I’d gawped at for ages.

I wore them for the first time to the Spaceship premiere at SXSW in Texas and still love them just as much now.

What items do you take on holiday and why?

  • Tom Ford sunnies, because I love a chunky shade.
  • A good book to stop me ordering a stream of cocktails while I sunbathe.
  • A disposable camera, purely for the aesthetic, I can’t lie.
  • And most important of all – good company.
Lara Peake

Is there an item you threw away – or lost – that you really miss?

A pair of loved and cherished Tom Ford sunnies I mentioned… I went in the sea whilst we were shooting Mood in Spain and the waves were surprisingly hectic. It was stupid.

They’re gone forever but I hope there’s a turtle out there somewhere having the time of its life with them now.

What’s next on your shopping list?

I’m not a fast fashion person, so I prefer to spend a little more once or twice a year and invest in my clothes. I’ll probably eye up the Vivienne Westwood sale when I’m next in town.

If you hadn’t already guessed, I’m big into Vivienne Westwood…

What would you buy if money was no object?

A patch of land by the sea to build on.

It would have to have good amount of sunshine and it would be for all the lovely people in my life to go and chill as and when they need or want to.

Watch Mood on BBC Three / BBC iPlayer.