With six Best Actress awards, three prizes for Best Screenplay and two honours for Best Director, you’d be forgiven for assuming that Anca Vaida wouldn’t have time for recreational pursuits. On top of her creative endeavours, she also holds down a 9-5 job as a Consultant Psychiatrist for Britain’s National Health Service.
Whilst the majority of her days are indeed spent in the clinic or the rehearsal room, 2022 marked a decade of scuba diving for the Romanian renaissance woman, who earned her PADI Open Water Certification in 2012 and has never looked back.
“I’ve always been drawn to the water. One of my favourite places to go when growing up in Târgu-Mureș was a swimming complex called ‘Weekend’. It’s still there and I visit anytime I’m back in Romania.”
“Even at university, numerous summers were spent working as a life guard at the waterparks in Wisconsin Dells, USA.”
Considering her evident tendency to give her all to anything she puts her mind to, it is perhaps unsurprising that Anca decided to progress from treading water and take the scuba diving plunge when she received an impromptu phone call from a friend.
“My friend called me up saying she’d booked a scuba diving holiday in Egypt and would I like to come. She asked me if I had a PADI Open Water license. I said ‘What’s that?’ and she explained.”
“I quickly set about learning the theory, booking the pool assessment and scheduling my open water exam- it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. Once I’d completed the course, I made the trip to Sharm El Sheik. I’ve been back to Egypt twice since then, diving at Hurghada and Dahab”
Since becoming qualified, scuba diving has broadened her perspective when choosing the places she wishes to visit. If there’s a coastline, it likely influences her decision.
“It became an opportunity to visit countries I maybe hadn’t considered before. If there was a diving spot, I wanted to go there and that’s exactly what I did.”
“I’ve dived in Cape Verde, Greece’s Lefkada and even in Iceland’s Silfra in Thingvellir National Park. I’ve managed to convince friends to pass their PADI Open Water exams so they can come and join me!”
For somebody that bases their vacations around diving spots, it became clear that only something truly special would be appropriate to celebrate ten years of diving. The location was seemingly chosen for her, however, after Anca rounded off the year by winning Best Actress at the Miami Web Fest in the United States.
“I wasn’t complaining! 28°C (82.4°F) of November sunshine in Florida? You’d never get that in the UK. I could attend the festival and go diving in my spare time. I dived off the coast of Key West and then explored the wreckage of the SS Copenhagen just off Lauderdale-by-the-Sea”
“The award was a pleasant surprise. To win Best Actress at the festival was the perfect way to round off the trip! We (the Psyched! cast and crew) flew home the next day. I couldn’t stop smiling!”
The adventure is unlikely to stop there, however. Even though she has enjoyed trips to Europe, Africa and North America, her bucket list still includes visiting dive sites in Asia, South America and Oceania.
“I thought to myself, why not? I want to go to Thailand in 2023 and would love to visit Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Maybe even the Fernando de Noronha Marine Park in Brazil, who knows?”
The success of Anca’s TV Series Psyched! shows no sign of stopping, either, with a festival nomination at the World Independent Cinema Awards (WICA), to be held in Edinburgh, Scotland, this February. The medical drama has been put up for awards in no fewer than six categories with Anca personally being up for Best Short Film and Best Director.
“I’m very excited. It will be a great way to start the year and I will of course be looking at dives in Scotland. I don’t want to miss the chance to see baby seals! I will also be going to LA’s Believe Psychology Film Festival but that will be a little more relaxed as I’ll be one of the judges. The only stress I will have now is how I’m going to fit in all of my excursions!”
Anca Vaida: Anca is a Romanian actress, director, writer and producer. Anca trained in acting at East 15 Drama school, London, graduating in 2016. She has won numerous awards at a variety of international film festivals for playing the role of Dr Alex Ionescu in the TV series ‘Psyched!’, which she also wrote, directed and produced.
Some of Anca’s most notable projects include ‘Crossing continents’ on BBC radio, the film ‘Can We Order First?’ which premiered at the Berlin Short Film Festival, ‘Sorry, My Compassion is on the Blink’ at the Pleasance Theatre, and the play ‘Fine and Dandy’ at the King’s Head Theatre.