The actor on Emmerdale and wanting to be a swan
Born in Blackpool, Jenna Coleman, 32, joined Emmerdale in 2005 and spent four years on the soap. From 2012-17 she played Doctor Who’s companion Clara Oswald. She has appeared in films including Captain America: The First Avenger and Me Before You. Since 2016, she has played the title role in Victoria, which returns to ITV for a third series soon. She lives in London with her partner, Tom Hughes, who plays Prince Albert.
When were you happiest?
There was a moment in my early 20s when I’d finished Emmerdale and didn’t know what was next. I drove from LA to San Francisco listening to Tracy Chapman and it felt like one of those pure moments of uncomplicated joy.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Rudeness to waiters.
Aside from a property, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought?
A Matisse and my Leica camera.
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
I look like a chipmunk sometimes.
Who would play you in the film of your life?
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I told my mum I wanted to be a swan.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
I could spend four hours in a bath.
To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why?
Anybody who’s written to me and not heard back yet.
What does love feel like?
Whole, full, lifted.
Have you ever said ‘I love you’ and not meant it?
No, I am very particular about that.
What is the worst job you’ve done?
After Emmerdale, babysitting. I freaked out – I couldn’t believe people put me in charge of their children.
What has been your biggest disappointment?
Receiving a letter saying I didn’t get into drama school. I felt like Billy Elliot. It was a crushing moment.
If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I would take away fear.
When did you last cry, and why?
I cry when I am overtired.
What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
The ability to switch off.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
That I’ve kept all my friendships with my school friends.
What keeps you awake at night?
Until I got curtains recently, it was the orange street light.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
Something tongue-in-cheek: Rescue Me.
How would you like to be remembered?
Other people can decide.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you deal with it.