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adminDecember 11, 2018

Jenna Coleman is featured on the cover of the Great British Brand 2019 issue, powered by Country & Town House. For the editorial she’s wearing an Emilia Wickstead dress with Jessica McCormack earrings!

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Photoshoots > 2018 > 008 – Great British Brands Magazine

adminNovember 28, 2018

Flaunt Magazine – “New mothers are a silent tribe of warriors,” actress Jenna Coleman tells me, just a few minutes after her arrival for our meeting in London’s bohemian Soho neighborhood. She’s effortlessly pretty—deep brown eyes, a winning smile, chestnut hair and striking brows. The words, she explains, are not hers but those of a close friend: a new mother she spoke to ahead of filming her latest drama, The Cry. Whilst Coleman, a youthful 32-years-old, is not a mother herself, she already knows a thing or two about motherhood: playing the titular queen in television series Victoria, she’s already given birth on screen not one, but seven times. “Seven babies, nine altogether,” Coleman laughs. “Two more to go yet!

Her role as new mother Joanna in The Cry is one of Coleman’s most controversial to date. A psychological thriller based on the novel by Australian author Helen Fitzgerald, the drama is already winning praise for its unflinching portrayal of motherhood. In the early episodes of the program, Coleman’s character struggles to adapt to the manifold challenges that motherhood brings. “She’s lost her identity,Coleman says of Joanna, a new mum whose ideas of motherhood prove at odds with the reality. More truth is needed, Coleman says, about portrayals of mothers—and women—on our screens.

There’s so much pressure on it being the most beautiful, precious, and special time of your life. If you don’t treasure every minute of it, then somehow you’re a failure. The reality is wildly different,Coleman says, matter-of-factly. The two characters Coleman plays—Queen Victoria and new mum Joanna—couldn’t be further apart. Yet playing each emphasized to Coleman the differences in the way modern society treats new mothers compared to the past. “In the Victorian era if you had a baby, you had to go into confinement for a month to help your body to recover, and people helped you with the transition into motherhood. Now, you can literally be out of the hospital in six hours and you’re left to it. In our society, perhaps we need to be more open to how much of a challenge it can be…we need greater empathy.

Fans of Coleman jumped to conclusions recently when a picture of the star pushing a pram was posted on social media. When I mention the story, Coleman turns scarlet with embarrassment. “I’m not insane, I promise… I was practicing,” she tells me, staring down at her white sneakers. Coleman hadn’t given birth—to help immerse herself in character, she took a pram out as she went shopping. The preparation didn’t end there either: she visited a midwife at a hospital, spent extensive time with children on set, and emailed all of her friends with children in the hope of garnering as many experiences as she could.

Each of their experiences was so completely different,Coleman says, explaining how nervous she was before filming began. “There’s this primal bond between a mother and a child. I emailed my friends and was like, ‘I’ve taken on this part and I really feel like I’m not…’” her voice trails off. “In the prep I definitely felt a growing pressure. The fact that I’d taken on a mountain hit home.” While her performance has been widely praised for its realism, Coleman tells me she had fears about authenticity, not being a mother herself. She reels off the questions she asked her friends: “What does it feel like? What are your hormones doing? What does the lack of sleep do to you? What’s the day-to-day like?

We’re sitting alongside each other on a comfy sofa-seat inside a private members club in Soho on a sunny autumn afternoon. Dressed in a smart pinstriped dress and sneakers, Coleman often traverses the formal and the informal. Her answers are thoughtful and considered, and she’s exceedingly modest: when I mention how she is often described as “driven,” she angles her head away, turns scarlet once more and winces. “It feels like there’s something ruthless about it,Coleman says of the term “driven”—her demeanor demonstrating that she’s anything but. “I used to balk at it.

After we talk about it at length, Coleman concludes that the reason she is so uncomfortable with the term comes down to portrayals of women in the media. Just as her latest character Joanna is vilified by the media for being a “bad mother,” women who seem ambitious or career-driven still attract similar criticisms. “I don’t think being described as driven is anything that you should be ashamed of—that you love your job and want to keep doing it, that you really value it and want to explore it… yet for some reason, I always felt like being described as ‘driven’ or ‘determined’ was a dirty word.

I think I just perhaps need to own that, and not actually see it as a bad thing and be proud of the fact that I’m passionate about my job and that’s okay.” She looks down at the floor again, as if she only half believes it. “I shan’t apologize anymore,” she tells me, mimicking the regal voice of Queen Victoria. “I love how I’ve just said that in the most polite way possible…I need to stop apologizing.”

Part of the apologizing may come down – at least in part – to her working class background and education. Growing up in Blackpool, a seaside town in the north of England, Coleman began her first professional acting role aged just 18, in the long-running British soap opera Emmerdale. It was an inspirational drama teacher, Mr. Snell, who encouraged her to pursue acting, giving her practical advice and support through a self-funded theatre company run via her school. “Without him, I wouldn’t have known where to begin. We operated as a semi-professional theatre company in between school and holidays. We’d do all the props and set up ourselves…and travelled just anywhere it would take us; the shows would eventually pay for themselves. That kind of experience was invaluable. I’ve definitely not taken the traditional route, that’s for sure.

Since then, she’s worked continuously in a number of increasingly high-profile roles, including as Doctor Who’s assistant on the long-running cult sci-fi television show and Lydia in the Pride and Prejudice spin-off Death Comes to Pemberley. But despite her rapid ascent, Coleman admits she still struggles with feeling unqualified, which she pins on her unorthodox path to acting. “I definitely feel a hole from having not been to drama school,” she tells me. “I still don’t feel qualified in any sense.” This is remarkable for an actress who is regularly acclaimed for her work.

Next year, for the first time since being a member of Mr. Snell’s theatre company, Coleman is heading back to theatre for a leading role in Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, alongside Sally Field and Bill Pullman, in London’s West End. “It definitely doesn’t feel like a muscle I’ve flexed in a while,Coleman says when I ask about her preparation and rehearsals. They’ll begin next year, after a rest and some time to stand still. “It’s an unknown, and I’ve got the fear,Coleman says about the role. “But it’s a good fear,” she quantifies, laughing.

Coleman draws parallels between her role in The Cry and All My Sons, speaking about the depth and nuance of both roles. “There’s so much to play with under the veneer again…it’s like you’re playing chess but you’re playing chess with one of the most emotionally traumatic and scarring experiences that someone can go through,” she says of The Cry, after a dark secret is revealed mid-series. Is investing so much in characters with such emotional weight exhausting? Yes, she says, but she knows how to switch off. “Once you get into a filming schedule it takes over and you go home, you switch the lights off and you go to sleep… because the role was such an emotional marathon, I somehow trained myself to be light in between takes. Otherwise it would be like walking through mud all the time.

Coleman tells me, through a deep sigh, that characters like this don’t come around very often. “It’s been really eye opening. I’ve realized there are not many places I can say I’ve seen it on television before,” she says of struggling mum Joanna. Scripts depicting age-old stereotypes of women are still more likely to land on her desk.

I think there’s definitely a movement of people wanting to see everyday society reflected in film and television, and I definitely think there’s need for such a movement. But for every decent script that I’ve read, I’m still sent ten scripts that are very much ‘the girlfriend’ or ‘girl next door’ roles that revert to type. This is why The Cry felt really exciting. When you read a script and there’s so much going on between the lines, it’s invigorating.

As a young actor auditioning for roles, Coleman made dozens of audition tapes, shifting between hundreds of identities, often feeling in a perpetual transient state. The idea of doing more film work soon is attractive to her, not least because it allows stability. “There’s something about a film where you can research it and immerse yourself for longer. There’s one director, one piece, one telling of a story. I think there’s something nice about that.

We walk downstairs to the streets of Soho. Coleman dons a checked winter mac, stepping out into the strange autumnal sunshine. She tells me she is looking forward to standing still for a time and, crucially, not giving birth on-screen for a few months until Victoria has her next two. “No more babies. I’ll babysit my friends’ children for a little while, but then happily give the child back,” she beams, before walking off to her next audition.

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Photoshoots > 2018 > 007 – Flaunt Magazine

adminOctober 27, 2018

Wonderland Magazine

Allow me to introduce the “impossible girl”. She’s visited hundreds of galaxies with a Time Lord and ruled the British Empire, dealt with dukes and Daleks (I’ll leave you to decide which are worse), but right now the most impossible thing she’s facing is trying to find somewhere to chat to me on the phone without cracking up the people around her. “Sorry!” She laughs when we finally connect. “You just caught me in the car with my driver and I knew he’d just giggle at everything I’m saying!

Of course, the girl in question is Jenna Coleman, who obtained the tagline from her role as the Eleventh Doctor’s companion in the beloved BBC series Doctor Who. Accompanying both Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi, Jenna rose to fame as Clara Oswald, the witty school teacher with the ability to charm alien life forms in numerous universes.

The chance to escape to different worlds has always appealed to Jenna and exploring alternate realities is what first made her want to get into acting. “I remember reading Enid Blyton and loads of books and their worlds becoming very vivid in my head,” she recalls. “I just remember being really, really young and for some reason it always just felt very simple. Acting was always what I wanted to do, it was more the ‘how’ that was always the more complicated thing.

Putting in the hard work to make the “how” happen, Jenna scored her first role in Emmerdale in 2005, before getting the coveted companion role in 2012. Stepping into such a popular fandom was initially quite intimidating, but Jenna has since established a legacy as one of the most adored of the Doctor’s partners (soz, Martha). “I’ve never done anything where you’re the only new cog in a very oiled machine,” she explains. “It’s like you’re literally the only newbie on your own, which is quite a strange thing. You kind of have to hop onto a train that’s already full-speed ahead.”Rapping up her final season as Clara, Jenna was thrust straight into yet another world. This time: Victorian England. Taking on the starring role as Queen Victoria in the acclaimed ITV series Victoria, it was a bit of an adjustment from a Cyberman fighting sidekick. “I had like three weeks to prep so it was a really hard one actually,” she remembers. “And there was so much research material!”Doing her homework, Jenna dove into Queen Vic’s diaries to try and get into the mindset of a young woman entrusted with ruling an entire empire. “There’s so much that people think they know about her,” she tells me. “You’ve got the diaries, you’ve got the historical biographies. You’re taking someone that we all think we know so well and we know so iconically from portraits and history. I’m just trying to really get behind that and bring her to life – really peel away the layers and get to know her. It was a challenge but I also love it.” She laughs. “I didn’t think I liked her at first! I love her, but I don’t always like her. What’s amazing is that now we’re a couple of series in, I can keep going back and reading her diaries. I feel like I keep getting to her more and more and she’s a bit of a companion now.

Currently heading into their third series, Jenna’s brief break from resuming Victoria filming wasn’t as relaxing as one might expect. Heading to Australia in February, instead of having some well-deserved chill time on the sunny beaches, she got straight into her most challenging role yet.

Starring in the BBC’s upcoming psychological thriller The Cry, Jenna plays the lead role of Joanna, a young mother who travels to Australia with her newborn son and slightly shitty husband amidst a custody battle over her husband’s daughter from a previous marriage. Once they’ve landed, all seems to be going okay when suddenly her life is thrown into disarray after her son disappears. Based on the Helen Fitzgerald novel of the same name, if you’ve watched the trailer, you’ll know that it’s destined to be one of those shows that’ll have you glued to your television screen, barely breathing, with twists and turns that will leave you speechless.

Shooting between Oz and Glasgow, it’s set to come out on September 30th, filling that inevitable Bodyguard-shaped hole within our lives. Quite a difficult filming process, the show runs on two different timelines − one taking place when the baby goes missing and the other in the present day at a trial, although “a trial for what?” is a question I’m yet to learn the answer to. “We kept calling it ‘going down the vortex’ because you’re shooting all these timelines and obviously it’s a psychological thriller so there are certain aspects of what you can give away and when.Jenna explains. “There’s a certain version which kind of keeps everyone at arm’s length a little bit, so you’re never giving too much away at once.” She pauses. “This will all make sense once you’ve seen it, but, oh my god, in terms of playing it, it was the most narratively complicated job I’ve ever done!

Not only were the timelines hard to grasp at first, but Jenna originally found her role quite struggling too. “I had real issues with the idea of playing a mother with issues. That would be fundamentally something that I maybe wouldn’t be able to do justice because I’m not a mother,” she discloses. “It was hugely challenging. But to be honest, a lot of my friends have got new babies and a couple of them sent me the most incredible emails. I spoke with them and got really amazing, and searingly honest, details about the realities of being a new mum. It’s the most beautiful thing in the world, but just because it’s so beautiful it doesn’t mean it doesn’t come without questions about your own identity and loneliness. I think it was a really interesting way to explore post-natal depression in a way that I don’t feel I have ever really seen very much on the screen.

Her portrayal of a struggling mother is, at many times, difficult to watch. In the first episode, she’s on the 24-hour-long flight to Australia, screaming baby in arms, husband fast asleep, getting disapproving looks from other passengers as she frantically tries to settle her son. It’s a moment that I’m sure many have been a part of, I know that I’ve given my fair share of eye rolls to crying children on flights before, and it’s this aspect that The Cry wants to tap into. “It has a lot of questions,Jenna muses. “It questions our society about the pressures on new mums. But also the pressure of the media, and how media can spin a version of the truth.

The latter is in response to the “whodunnit” aspect of the show, the twist in the first episode which leads you to believe that maybe the baby hasn’t only gone missing. “I guess it’s the funny thing of going through one of the most extreme emotional experiences of your life at the same time as being under this media scrutiny,Jenna details. “Those two things coinciding and happening at once is really quite an interesting angle to look at psychologically. And an interesting story to tell.

Who do you think did it?” She asks, cueing me to launch into the various theories that are spinning around in my mind. Is it too obvious to be the ex-wife? Or how about the struggling young mum? Maybe it’s the husband’s daughter who is secretly jealous of her dad moving on and creating a new life? Maybe it’s someone else altogether? “That’s what I felt like reading it!” She laughs. “I felt like I didn’t quite know what was going on. It was leading me in different directions and I just kept turning the page!

What’s not up for debate though, is the fact that Jenna is breathtaking in the show and her portrayal is sure to get her even more critical acclaim. For the “impossible girl”, it really seems like she can do anything.

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Photoshoots > 2018 > 003 – Rollacoaster

adminDecember 15, 2016

Vogue US-

Following the success of The Crown, the critically acclaimed Netflix show about the Windsors, the appetite for royal dramas shows no sign of abating. Victoria, the new PBS Masterpiece series airing this month and starring British actors Jenna Coleman as the queen, Tom Hughes as Prince Albert, and Rufus Sewell as prime minister Lord Melbourne, does not stint on lavish locations. For the country-house fan, the show offers a whirlwind tour of some of Yorkshire’s most famous stately homes. Castle Howard, Carlton Towers, Bramham Park, and Wentworth Woodhouse stand in for such royal residences as Kensington Palace and Windsor Castle.

“Victoria was an unlikely character,” says Coleman when I meet her at London’s Covent Garden Hotel for tea. “She grew up very isolated and then became the most powerful woman in the world overnight. She was so inexperienced, so inconsistent—apparently she even threw scissors at her governess! But through all her flaws her core was good. Her diaries show that there was a pureness to her, a will to do a good job.”

I watched the series with one eye on the screen and another stuck into a fascinating new biography—Victoria: The Queen (Random House), by Julia Baird—that reflects Goodwin’s view that while Victoria was “the first woman to have it all,” she could also be “a mean girl. She was very troubled and tempestuous,” often lashing out at those close to her. A fascinating episode covers the scandal of Lady Flora Hastings, a lady-in-waiting whom court rivals accused of becoming pregnant by Sir John Conroy after she developed a swollen abdomen. The queen insisted that Hastings, who was a virgin, undergo a humiliating series of medical examinations. When she died soon afterward, it was revealed she was suffering from a horribly enlarged liver.

 

 

 

adminNovember 25, 2016

For the latest in our WISE WORDS interview series – where stars from a whole range of fields share the important life lessons they’ve learned along the way – we’re posing some of the big questions to JENNA COLEMAN.

Following her roles in ‘Emmerdale’ and ‘Waterloo Road’, Jenna broke through as one of Doctor Who’s most popular ever companions Clara Oswald.

Since then, she’s taken the title role as the young Queen in the ITV drama ‘Victoria’. In her capacity as an ambassador for American Express Shop Small, she spoke to HuffPostUK about what she’s learned along the way, and why her family would never let her get away with any queenliness herself…

How do you switch off from the world?
I take a bath. Or I read. Or both at once. Sometimes I go for a long walk.

How do you deal with negativity that comes your way?
If it’s justified, I’ll have a think, I try to take it on board. Sometimes it takes a phone call to my mum to rationalise. She’ll tell me, ‘Chin up.’ I do try to learn something from it.

When and where are you at your happiest?
I love being on an aeroplane. It means I can switch off, but I also like the switching of environments. There’s something about being in the clouds.

I also like being around my school-friends in London. It brings me back to who I’ve always been. They’re very supportive of my work, but they don’t let me take myself too seriously.

What has been the best piece of advice you’ve received?
I was in Bali, and I was struggling to communicate with my taxi driver, we had a language barrier. But we ploughed on, and he was trying to explain some philosophy, and he came up with ‘Making easy.’ And I’ve always remembered it.

What has been the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn?
You can’t fix everything.

What would you tell your 13-year-old self?
Don’t worry so much; Have more faith in yourself and your instincts; Don’t try so hard to fit in.

What three things are at the top of your to-do list?
Learn the piano; Learn French; Get better at photography.

What do you think happens when we die?
After watching ‘Black Mirror’, I’d want to ask Charlie Brooker. I’d like we think we go to some special place, but maybe we just come back as grass.

When do you feel in the presence of something bigger than ourselves?
When we look at the Supermoon, or we’re anywhere where we look up and see the stars.

What quality do you most treasure in relationships?
Unconditional love, when you’re doing something for another person without expecting a reward.

What keeps you grounded?
Northern pragmatism and humour. I can just see my family’s face if I went home and tried to indulge in some queenliness a la Victoria. I wouldn’t last long.

What the most recent act of kindness you received?
I got into a cab, and I told the driver ‘I’m having such a bad day.’ And he thought I said ‘It’s my birthday’ so he proceeded to sing Happy Birthday to me, the whole song. I didn’t have the heart to stop him, and it actually cheered me up a lot.

adminSeptember 9, 2016

Jenna was on BBC Radio 2 this morning with Victoria co-star Tom Hughes,I’ve added images of her during the show a photoshoot which was taken during the interview and leaving the studios! Enjoy!

adminAugust 21, 2016

I’ve added a new portraits of Jenna for The Telegraph during the Victoria Press Day which was August 11.