IELTS Cue Card Sample 466 - Describe an actor or actress that you admire

IELTS Speaking Part 2: IELTS Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card.

Describe an actor or actress that you admire.

Please say:

  • who he/she is
  • what he/she looks like
  • what kind of movies he/she appears in

why you admire this actor/actress.

 

Sample Answer 1:
There are plenty of amazing and inspirational performing artists out there to choose from. However, for this topic, I’m going to go with my first instinct, because the first actor I can think of, must be at the forefront of my mind for a reason. If nothing else, this suggests that their work is memorable and impressive. This actress certainly is.

I’m going to tell you who she is, what she looks like (‘though that is tricky, as she has had a career spanning decades); what sort of films and other work she has performed in and why it is I admire her so much.

So, the actress – or actor (in England, some women ‘actresses’ prefer to be called ‘actors’ as the word should encompass both genders really) is known affectionately as Maggie Smith. Her formal name and title is Dame Margaret Natalie Smith, but she is so recognisable in the UK (and probably worldwide too now) that she is regarded as something of a British Institution, and everyone here in the UK would instinctively refer to her as Maggie Smith I think.

In terms of her appearance, because her career has spanned some 60 years, she has obviously changed a bit over time. However, I think that in some ways her career and recognisability have grown as she has got older, and probably she is still in her prime even now at the age of 81 (she was born in December 1934). She is very tall, upright and slender. She has an extraordinary presence and poise. Her face is very expressive - I doubt she has ever tried Botox, so she has kept her facial mobility which I’m sure must help her convey a wide range of thoughts and emotions! Her mouth is quite a straight line, and she seems to have had a run of playing fairly serious characters (serious to themselves at any rate, they are often in fact, comic star turns for the audiences). Her eyes and eyebrows are particularly good at communicating in a tiny movement what the character is thinking. I wouldn’t call her face wrinkled as such, but it is sort of ‘lived in’ if you know what I mean? She has a few crows’ lines or laughter lines if you prefer, around her mouth and eyes. In one word I’d say she was striking in appearance. She has an extraordinarily compelling air to her, the sort of person everyone would turn to look at as she entered a room, even without her being famous, but at the same time, she projects an air of calm confidence rather than arrogance. She tends to wear her hair in a short bob-like style. I think she has allowed her hair to go naturally grey with age, but in fact in most of her work she wears a wig for the character anyway, so that is not her defining feature!

As for her work, well, I hardly know where to begin! She is probably most famous for the films she has been in. For example, she played Professor Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter film series. Other notable film appearances include ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ and ‘Ladies in Lavender’, and the earlier acclaimed film ‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’. However, she is probably one of Britain’s most recognised actresses for the many excellent quality TV period dramas she has appeared in. ‘Downton Abbey’ is one you may have heard of, she played a stern, Dowager Countess. Despite her impressive film and television career, for which she has won an extraordinary number of awards (BAFTA, Academy and Golden Globes just for starters), she began her career on stage. She has had a glittering career in the UK and America, appearing on the London West End Stages, Broadway and playing Shakespearean roles too numerous to mention. She was part of the newly established Royal National Theatre in London in the 1960’s.

Why I admire her? Well, the breadth of her career in terms of range of parts she has played is simply astonishing. She has done seemingly everything! Serious Shakespearean roles, comedy character parts; monologues film, theatre and television. She will do whatever a part requires, there is no vanity in her. She recently appeared in a film ‘The Lady in The Van’, which required her to play a belligerent and elderly homeless woman – a far from glamorous part! Her professional longevity in a business where many actors struggle to get work is the testament to her remarkable talent. She has a gift for giving what seem to be entirely effortless performances. Whatever I have seen her in, she is totally convincing, I never think ‘wow, what a brilliant actress’ when I’m watching her, I just absolute accept the character she is portraying! If I knew what her secret was, I’d be doing it myself, but I wonder if it is perhaps partly, because whether the part she is playing is ‘comedic’ or ‘straight’ she seems to play it with conviction. She can give performances that are absolutely hilarious to watch, with a dry wit, but the character she portrays seems entirely unknowing of how funny they are being. She seems always to respect the writing and the role. She has worked really hard to be as successful as she is, and she deserved the recognition that came when she was awarded the honour of being made a British Dame. She is often spoken of as a ‘National Treasure’ and a ‘National Institution’ because her appearances are so ubiquitous in film and television (particularly period dramas), and so widely known and loved. In fact, I don’t know very much about her politics or personal life, but in a way I don’t need to. I’d even go so far as to say I don’t want to. She is supremely good at her chosen occupation and that’s enough for me. She is well regarded by her peers, I’ve never heard any other actor say anything about her which wasn’t positive, full of admiration for both her work-ethic and her talent. I think for her to be working right into her eighties is also truly remarkable. I hope she is able to continue working for many more years yet – assuming that is what she would like to do. After all, at her age, if she feels she’d finally like to put her feet up and take a rest, I think she has more than earned the right to do so!

[ Written by - Lucy Marris (2016):  Careers Adviser (UK), TEFL teacher (Vietnam) ]



Sample Answer 2:
Mohammad Aamir Hussain Khan, popularly known as Aamir Khan is a Bollywood superstar. Despite being born in a conservative Muslim family in Mumbai, India, he has won the heart of millions by his superb screen performances. Some of his most widely known movies are 3 Idiots, Rang De Basanti, Ghajini, Taare Zameen Par, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, Lagaan, Raja Hindustani and PK.

Presently, Aamir Khan is one of the most popular leading actors in the Indian film industry and people prefer his movies for his perfectionist nature. Aamir Khan began his career in the industry in 1973 as a child performer and appeared into the spotlight in 1988 by the movie - Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak. He has starred in numerous movies and most of them have turned blockbusters. He has participated in almost all types of movies and played the positive roles. His extraordinary contribution in the industry has rewarded him some of the most prestigious awards of the country. His growth in the Indian film industry began after 1990 and most of the times he played the role of  a romantic hero. In line with his acting on the screen, he also directed some of the commercially successful movies.   

Aamir khan is completely different from the conventional heroes of Indian film industry. In fact, he is a bit shorter than the conventional heroes with a height of 5.5’. But he is popular among the audiences for his extraordinary ability to amuse people. Physically he is strong enough to perform acting. He loves acting and adopted the methods from some of the formerly popular Indian artists. He is exceptional in the sense that he shapes his figure as per the characters are meant to be on screen. He takes regular exercise to increase or reduce pounds to represent the character perfectly. He is also known as Tom Hanks of Bollywood for his scrutiny to the movie plots and performance. It is also said that he is less interested in covering himself with makeups for the roles.  He gets merged with the character which has brought a high reputation for him. Movies from Aamir Khan points that the movie will be a grand success.   

Though there are no specific genres, Aamir Khan takes part in all types of movie genres. He loves playing the role as a romantic hero but he is equally skilled in playing the lead role for action-laden movies like Dhoom, Ghajini etc. The drama movies starred by Khan also were successful in terms of box office business. Whatever the role is, he takes the role for granted and tries to reflect the features of the character through his acting. Roles played in comedy movies have also brought him fame. Despite participating in all types of movies, Aamir Khan is not bracketed in any specific genre. Rather he is kind of versatile actor who can fit him in any roles. Through his performance on screen, he gives his best.

Aamir Khan is a man of kind heart. He is engaged in some humanitarian activities and also takes part in awareness raising campaigns which often create political controversies as well. Besides, being a celebrity, he is close to the admirers and ordinary people which is an unusual trait for a bigshot like him. He owns a distinctive personality and makes movies after his own choice. He brings the best from him. He has grabbed an everlasting place in my heart with his qualities.

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