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Friday People: Sophie Harkness

By Kerry McKittrick

The 23-year-old is currently playing Sinead in the BBC Radio Ulster comedy series Number 2s. Originally from Greenisland, she divides her time between Northern Ireland and London.

  • My best friends

One of my oldest friends is Elizabeth McKee, whom I met in school. I originally went to Belfast Royal Academy then moved to Methody for sixth form. Eliza is doing really well at the moment; she has just finished a history degree in Queen's University and has been asked to go on to do a Master's degree.

One of my best friends from drama school – the Drama Studio, in London – is Vicky McAvoy. She lives in London and is an actress, too – she's off to the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival and I'm sneaking in and taking her room while she's away. I have a lot of very close friends from drama school. It's great to have friends in the industry to talk to about work. It's also good to have friends who aren't in the industry who will tell you to get a grip when you need them to.

  • My parents, Linda and Stephen Brown

My surname is different from my parents because I had to change it when I joined Equity. My mum runs the Northern Ireland Institute of Directors and my dad is a professor at the University of Ulster, lecturing in branding and marketing.

I also have an identical twin called Holly and a slightly older sister called Madison. I look very similar to both of my sisters and most of my cousins – in fact, we look like octuplets when we are all get together. I'm very close to both of my sisters, though.

Holly now lives in London and is working in property investment, while Madison is still in Belfast, working as a teacher. It's great that I have a sister in both places.

My parents are so supportive of what I do. They've come to see me in every single thing I've been in, including the time I played a tree at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

They encourage me more than I encourage myself. My dad loves his job so much and tells me if I find a job I love then I'll never work a day in my life.

  • Who I go to for advice

I go to my Nana, Jane McNeill. She's the family gossip and usually knows everything. I always get advice from her whether I like it or not.

I think because of her age she's really relaxed about things and she always tells me not to stress out. She indulges you just the right amount then brings you back to reality.

  • My mentor

It's a mix between my dad, again because he's always told me to do what I love, and my cousin Erin Richards.

Erin is also an actor and has just gone to New York to film a big series. She's a few years older than me.

She wasn't snapped up the minute she left drama school and she's really worked at it. It's been great for me to see how that has paid off. She inspires me to keep going, regardless.

  • My secret crush is ... Christopher Eccleston

I always had a thing for him when he played Doctor Who. I also had a real fascination with singer Aaron Carter when I was young. I think I wrote him a poem but I didn't send it because I couldn't find an address for him.

  • My fantasy dinner party

I'd invite Brian O'Driscoll because he's had such a good year and I think he'd really enjoy my cheesecake.

Next, I'd ask Lorraine Pascale because the only thing I can make is cheesecake and Lorraine could step in to save the day when things go wrong. I'd also invite Meryl Streep so I could suck up some of the amazing goddess energy that she gives out.

Finally, I would ask the one character that I properly fell in love with, Hareton Earnshaw from Wuthering Heights. It became a running joke in my English literature class so I would like to see him in human form.

Number 2s is on Radio Ulster, Saturdays at noon

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