Nicole • September 23, 2015

Jenna for 1883 Magazine

1883 MAGAZINE – Jenna Coleman is the actress of the moment – in demand, in the papers and about to burst back onto our screens in a brand new series of Doctor Who.

Treading the boards since she was 19, she bagged her first TV role before even auditioning for drama school, and hasn’t looked back since with leading roles in Emmerdale and Doctor Who, plus a Hollywood superhero film to boot.

With a brand new TV project playing the 18-year-old Queen Victoria about to go into production, I grabbed her during a rare break from work to chat about new skills, Matt Smith’s funny walk and why if Jenna has her way HRH Queen Victoria may well be a paragliding monarch…

Doctor Who is a bit of a British institution isn’t it? Has playing Clara totally changed your life?
Yes, in ways you wouldn’t expect. My personal life has changed, but it’s what you end up doing on a day-to-day basis that’s really different. The imaginative nature of the storytelling becomes your reality – green screens, running away from monsters and being put on wires and hung upside down. I’ve kind of entered an alternative universe, every time I come back to London I’m hit by reality!

So how did you get started as an actress?
I did loads of plays at school, and started to dance when I was really young – but I gave that up when I was about 16 as I realised I wanted to act. I was involved with a theatre company, and we used to travel up to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and put on loads of plays and perform as much as we could.

Did you have a plan B?
When I was younger I thought I might like to be a casting director because I love to read and imagine who would be good playing each role. Plus I’d get to watch loads of films and theatre and use it as research. I think now as a plan B I’d like to do something that you can be commissioned to do – like a painter, photographer or writer. Something you can do in your own space and time. Although I don’t know if I can paint really – I’ve never really tried…

You’re not going to have time for a while, but you should try painting, you might discover you have a hidden talent.
Yeah – I should buy an easel and a brush and start off with stick people. I’ve just bought a camera and I’m going to do some courses for that.

Is it true you were snapped up for a TV role before you went to drama school?
I got offered a job as I was auditioning, so I never actually went. When I finished the job I re-applied at RADA and LAMDA but then I got other jobs. I thought if I went to drama school for three years there would be certain parts in my younger repertoire that I’d never get to play, so I decided to just role with it instead.

So does that mean you’ve escaped all the weird and wonderful drama school warm up routines and rituals?
Oh no, I did them all at auditions. I remember one where I had to be an octopus. And one where you had to do these lines, as if you were a tree, but then you had to play someone whose dog had just died. I guess they were exercises supposed to stop you being self-conscious and see how you apply your imagination.

(read the rest of the interview at the source)

Check some beautiful outtakes from the 1883 Magazine related photoshoot:

Photoshoots > Sessions from 2015 > Session 09 [+8]