Sasha Clayton and Nicole Lecky have a lot in common, actually.
Both are blessed with beauty and musical talent. But both grew up in London’s hard-scrabble East End, with no easy way to get into show business.
From there, they diverge wildly. Sasha is fictional, the central character in “Mood,” a six-part mini-series (with music) on AMC+ and BBC America. In the opener (10 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6), she lashes out fiercely at … well, everyone; her world implodes.
And Lecky (shown here) is real. She stars, sings, wrote the scripts, overcame the things that shattered Sasha. “It was a mixture of, I guess, talent and tenacity,” she told the Television Critics Association.
Especially tenacity. The world is full of talented, attractive people who never get going.
Like many others, Lecky kept auditioning. “I was on the dole,” she said, referring to England’s welfare system. “I was knocking on doors, auditioning and not getting parts.”
Unlike most others, she kept writing scripts, trying to create roles for herself. That’s one thing that impressed Margery Bone, now a “Mood” producer. Lecky, she said, was “very clear and really ambitious about getting what (she’d) written out there.”
She sent those scripts, unsolicited. She performed at open-mic nights and other forums.
“I kind of got lucky,” she said, “in that I found some really amazing, inspirational mentors … I ended up going to drama school (and was) noticed and able to get an agent.”
She co-wrote some scripts for “EastEnders,” a subject she knows well, then had some guest roles on TV, including three episodes as Bambie in “Sens8,” a series from the “Matrix” people. Then she put it all together with “Superhoe,” as a book and a one-woman theater piece, complete with music. It drew raves and became “Mood.”
In the show, Sasha is 25, a biracial beauty. (Lecky, who is English-Jamaican, is 32.) Her boyfriend has just dumped her and she’s crumbled. Coming is a dark journey through social media and more.
“Sasha is really isolated in a lot of ways when she starts out,” Bone said.
Somehow, the social media that should be connecting her is driving her deeper in despair. That’s common, Lecky said.
“People my age and younger, who have grown up with these phones, kind of have to be perfect,” she said. If not, “you’re kind of shamed and you feel like you’ll never be able to come back.”
So Sasha flails. It’s a fierce performance, from a writer-actress determined to make it work.