Sioned’s Bite of the Big Apple!
33 year old Sioned Wyn Morgan from North Wales has moved house 25 times, but in 2016 she made her biggest move to date when she and her husband Rhodri left their London home to live in New York. In a Skype interview with Cymru a’r Byd, we had the opportunity to learn more about Sioned’s life in the Big Apple, and an opportunity to ask if this city really is the City of Dreams?!
First of all Sioned, can you tell us a little bit about your life back home in Wales?
I’ve lived in North, Mid and South Wales so I feel like I know my home country pretty well! I went to three different Primary schools; Ysgol Cymerau in Pwllheli, Ysgol Gynradd Llanrug and Hafren School in Newtown, before attending Secondary School at Ysgol Brynrefail, Llanrug. I then went on to study a BA Degree in Theatre, Music and Media in Carmarthen. After graduating I worked as an actress in Wales and London. I appeared on S4C’s Welsh language children’s TV shows, Rownd a Rownd and Cei Bach and did various jobs in London, including acting the part of Sponge Bob Square Pants for Nickelodeon! Very glam! I loved my job.
So why did you leave it all behind and move to New York?
My acting contracts had just come to an end, and my husband Rhodri came home one day and told me that his employers at Ernest and Young had given him the opportunity to transfer to their New York office, we jumped at the chance and almost two years on, we’re loving life here in the Big Apple!
How did you feel when you first moved to New York?
I remember landing here with 4 suitcases, no friends and no house and asking myself “What have you done?!” I found the first four months quite challenging as I couldn’t work until my Visa had been processed, so unlike Rhodri, I didn’t have a routine and a reason to get up. I’m a positive person and I like to be busy, so I started vlogging about places to visit and things to do and I really enjoyed it!
How did you come up with the idea of vlogging or video blogging?
I’ve always been close to my family, so I called home on a daily basis and during the Skype and Facetime calls I used to show my family and friends around the area where we lived, the places I went out and so on, and it was my family who said it would be a good idea to vlog about my life and share ideas with tourists who wanted to visit New York, so that’s what I did! Before long I had my own YouTube Channel and I would film items like tips on where to visit, where to eat cake in New York and so on. I filmed it all on my mobile phone and edited it myself and I had a fantastic response!
Is this your full-time job?
No! In fact, I haven’t done any vlogs for a while now but I’m hoping to get back to it soon. I’m actually working as a make-up artist!
Make-up artist? How did that happen?!
My friend Erin Richards is an actress in New York, and one day she called me up to ask if I could do her make up for a film she was shooting. I’m not one to turn down an opportunity and a challenge so I did it, and it went well. Soon after the shoot other opportunities came up and I found myself working as a freelance makeup artist on a weekly basis! I decided to enrol in a make-up course in a College called MUD, one of the best in New York City, so I could have professional training, and I have now worked on a freelance basis with Fox, Warner Brothers, National Geographic and many more! New York is probably one of the best places to live if you’re in make up as there are films being made and events taking place here every day!
What else do you and Rhodri get up to in New York?
We set up www.newyorkwelsh.com alongside three other Welsh guys who live out here in New York; Ty Francis, Gwilym Roberts-Harry and Marc Walby. We have 250 Facebook members and we’re currently re vamping our logo and social media platforms, which is very exciting.
What does your work involve?
In one sentence, we are celebrating Welsh success stories in New York while inspiring the creation of new ones. New York is a supportive community for Welsh people and those that have an affinity with Wales. We organise monthly meetups so that members can socialise and network. We also with the Welsh Government and local Welsh businesses to promote Wales in New York.
Since our launch in 2017, there have been dozens of events; we have worked with local Welsh entrepreneurs to
Is it difficult to find Welsh people in such a populated city?
Like all other cities and countries, the Welsh have their favourite haunts and it’s pretty easy to find other Welsh people through social media. I’m always amazed at what Welsh people are actually doing out here, and what they’ve achieved! New York is known as the City of Dreams, and it’s as if everyone comes here to accomplish something, people here are driven and the New York Welsh are singing from the same hymn sheet!
I’m sure that many of our readers have visited New York, but what is it actually like to live there?
Nuts! It’s unlike anywhere else you’ll ever live! Once you open your front door or step out onto the street, you see that everything is fast paced here, it’s like an overdose for the senses! It’s also inspirational as everyone here wants to succeed in everything they do. I feel extremely privileged to be living here and having this amazing experience.
Do you miss Wales?
Yes! Especially my family and friends. It’s hard when things happen back home and you can’t be there to support and help or celebrate. I missed the birth of my sister’s baby, even though I flew home for it, but she was late! I’m also frustrated that I can’t be around to help my Nain as she’s poorly at the moment. Technology makes it easier and I speak to them every day on Skype!
Will you be returning home in the near future?
We’ve had our 5-year Visa so we’re here until that runs out. Who knows where we’ll end up after that!
Cymru a’r Byd would like to thank Sioned for an amazing insight into her and Rhodri’s life in New York! To read Sioned’s tips for those of you moving abroad, sign up for a copy of our magazine The Enfys…
By Heulwen Davies, Cymru a’r Byd / Wales International