Derry Girls fame gives me chance to promote Northern Ireland causes, says Saoirse-Monica Jackson
Derry Girls star Saoirse-Monica Jackson has said she remains committed to promoting causes in Northern Ireland with her increasingly high profile.
The 25-year-old plays Erin Quinn in the hit Channel 4 show, which is set in Londonderry during the 1990s.
Its recent addition to the American Netflix roster has seen the show's audience grow exponentially.
With that newfound fame, Jackson, who was born and raised in Derry, is using her profile to raise awareness about contentious issues.
She and castmates such as Nicola Coughlan and Siobhan McSweeney are particularly active on social media and in interviews highlighting debates in Northern Ireland, such as those over abortion and same-sex marriage.
"By no means are we politicians in any way," she told VIP magazine. "But I've always cared about issues back home and I still care. Derry Girls has highlighted that if Claire was to come out today, like she did in the show, she still wouldn't be able to get married, which is wrong.
"And where I stand on abortion is that women should have a choice in the North. We definitely have a lot of catching up to do and it's just a pity that we're still waiting."
Jackson, who lives in London, said she takes particular pride in being on a show which portrays her native city in such a positive light, crediting Lisa McGee, who wrote the show, for bringing her vision to life.
"These are Lisa's words and story," she said. "My character represents her as a teenage girl and being from Derry myself, I think she's done a tremendous job reflecting the town and the people that are from there. I'm proud to know her: she's so humble and I just think she should be delighted with herself.
"I often say Derry Girls is like Lisa's love letter to the town and it's a real testament to how people ploughed through and still brought up their kids, went to work, got on with their day, had family disputes and just got on with it."