Can you say a bit about your background and upbringing?
I have lived in Glasgow all my life, with my mum, my dad and my younger brother and sister. I attended a day school in Glasgow from the age of five until moving to Shrewsbury in Lower Sixth. Glasgow and Shrewsbury really don’t have many similarities…
My family upbringing wasn’t the most conventional. When I was younger, my mum worked very regularly on the television. I spent a lot of time with a nanny and my dad, although I wouldn’t want to give the impression that my mum wasn’t there. Watching my mum work hard was a real inspiration to me and she was a great role model for a young girl to have.
Having wanted a change for my last couple of years at school, I decided to start looking for a new sixth form. I liked Shrewsbury, and being shown round by Jack Hudson-Williams and introduced to Henry Lewis on my first visit perhaps helped too; kind of a shame that when I got here they were the only couple of good-looking ones and they ended up leaving.
Were you nervous before joining?
In some respects, yes. I remember after being shown around Shrewsbury, I received a friend request on Facebook, from a boy who was extremely quick to tell me about his ten houses in Abersoch, about his new modeling contract with Superdry and about his clothing line which he had just designed for Topman. To tell the truth, I was pretty worried before I came that all the boys I was going to be at school with would be like this… But thankfully, this boy didn’t make it back for Sixth Form, and the rest of the boys in my year were much more normal.
Have you been happy here and if so what makes you so?
I really believe that it’s the moments of humour at Shrewsbury that make me happy here. There are of course plenty of other things in school that make me happy, for instance the Ashton Theatre and my drama group have been a huge part of my time here. The theatre is a place I can relax and the plays I have been involved in have been so much fun. For the younger ones here, I would really recommend getting involved in some of the house plays.
Christie (front left) in the 2012 School Play 'Henry IV'
One of the things that’s been central to my time here is the strong friendship group I know I’ve made with the individuals in my year, I really hope I’ll keep in touch with them for the rest of my life. I’m specifically speaking to the Fifth Form here, when I say that I would strongly encourage you to mix with the new girls and boys in Lower Sixth when they arrive; it has made a huge difference to my time here. I do think you’re missing out on a huge part of school if you don’t.
So we know from the house play and your A level Theatre Studies that you are not shy of dramatic talent. You seem a fairly sorted kind of person - is that a good act or do you see yourself as such?
I am an organised kind of person, I’m probably too anal in some ways… but I don’t think I would change that because it has helped me get the most out of my time here at Shrewsbury. For example, the beginning of the Michaelmas Term saw me at the beginning of my A-levels, the start of my beloved postor duties, possibly the most stressful period of my life to date was organising the Quod Fashion Show with Cressi, as well as the start of devising my theatre A level piece. Finding time to spend with friends and living in a house with a whole new group of Lower Sixth girls were all on my plate at the same time. But even during this time, I thrived off my busy schedule and managed to have time to do all the things I love.
(Right: Christie with her mother Carol Smillie and fellow Quod Fashion Show organiser Cressida Adams)
If you had one message for those in front of you, what would it be?
Without sounding extremely clichéd, I would advise you all never to give up. I am the kind of person who likes to know what I am doing. When applying to uni, I had set my mind on Edinburgh from a young age and applied twice, without sounding completely arrogant, thinking I was sure to get in. When I got my 4 As at AS level and did all my relevant work experience, I was devastated when I received two rejections. I tried countless times to contact the uni to ask for feedback on what I could do better to re-apply, and through two and half months of seriously pushing to speak to the right person, the uni reconsidered my application, realising that there had been a mix up. They then decided to offer me a place – possibly one of the best and most relieving feelings to date. I really believe that it is important to keep trying in everything you do, as you never know what could happen.
And what of the future?
I am going to uni to study French and Spanish, languages that I love and am extremely passionate about. I will be going to Edinburgh as long as I get the grades, but to be completely honest, I am unsure of what after. I can tell you all now that my true dream would be to live in South America, on a diet of steak and red wine, with my own personal pool boy named Santiago.