In this week's interview Rachel Dean talks to actress Kerri Quinn (37), who played popular character Vicky Jefferies in Coronation Street. She lives in Belfast with her eight-year-old daughter Libby.
Q. Tell us about your childhood.
A. I grew up in north Belfast in Newington, just off the Antrim Road. I have an older sister, Roisin, and a younger brother, Gerard. I did have an older brother called Kevin, but he died when he was three - he had a hole in his heart and just didn't pull through the operation.
I was only one, but it was such a traumatic loss for my family and I do feel like I know him from hearing stories. He's still very much alive in memory.
My parents kept his clothes and loads of photographs - my mum still sleeps with his wee T-shirt and vest under her pillow.
Whenever my daughter Libby turned three, I got into a real funk of thinking, "How do you recover from something like that?" I have a lot of admiration for my mum and dad anyway, but I look at them sometimes and think about what they've came through and it just amazes me how strong they are.
I had a great childhood. My mum and dad started a family very early, bless them, they are both grafters.
They were fortunate enough to have aunts that minded us while they worked.
They worked so hard to better themselves and get better jobs and promotions. My daddy, Gerard, was a spark (electrician) by trade - he would come home from work and do homers in the evenings. My mummy, Cathy, got a job in finance in the Civil Service and worked her way up.
Eventually they were able to buy a bigger house on the Cavehill Road, which is where their family home is now - and it's just beautiful.
As a child, leaving your friends is quite traumatic, but growing up in Sarajac Crescent, just off the Cavehill Road, I can honestly say I had the happiest childhood.
I made some amazing friends who I still see and keep in touch with. My parents always wanted to raise us in a mixed area because they didn't want us to have any prejudice.
They worked hard to get where they are, and they have a beautiful home which we all have so many happy memories from.
The house that we had in Newington will always be special too, because Kevin was there. Both houses are special in their own way I suppose.
I was a cheeky child, even at school, and if a teacher shouted at me, I would have held a grudge - I wouldn't have looked at them for the rest of the day. I was front-footed and I spoke my mind, but as I got older I got a bit more placid and reserved and I wasn't as outgoing.
So, the drama thing took a lot of people by surprise.
I enjoyed singing, but I didn't really have the confidence. It was only when I went to secondary school, to Our Lady of Mercy, and saw the confidence that the girls doing drama had. I thought it was class how they held themselves, how they presented themselves. I was in awe of them and I thought, "I want to do that".
I studied drama at GCSE, and to be honest, my amazing drama teacher, knew I didn't have the desire for the academic side of it. I just wanted to get up on my feet and learn from the practical side of things. So she advised me to do the BTEC which I did. Then, I went on to do a degree in Theatre Studies at Queen's.
Q. What are you most proud of?
A. I'm most proud of being a mummy. I never wanted kids - I just didn't see myself with them - so Libby was quite a surprise. But, having her is my best accomplishment ever. She's a class kid and she does me proud every day.
Q. The one regret you wish you could amend?
A. I'm a big believer in that the things you might regret or wish you hadn't done, are the same things that mould you into the person you are. Even though there are things where I've thought, "I wish I had done that differently", it's all contributed to my own life experience.
I always said I would love to travel more. I'm a bit of a home bird. I only went to New York for the first time last year - I always loved the thought of it but didn't have the courage.
Maybe I just need a boot up the backside to make me go see more of the world. I haven't seen enough of the world yet, so that's a big thing, but I still have time to change that.
In terms of amending regrets, there are probably some ex-boyfriends I would have changed, but sure, we've all been there.
Q. What about phobias? Do you have any?
A. I am absolutely terrified of wasps. I hate them and I don't understand them. Bees, I totally get - they all serve a purpose. But wasps seem to just fly about and sting people because they can. I have no time for them at all.
Q. The temptation you cannot resist?
A. Either red wine or Haribo sweets. I don't have a sweet tooth for chocolate or anything, but give me a bag of Haribo and I'll polish the lot off.
Q. Your number one prized possession?
A. My house - I'm very house proud. I find cleaning very therapeutic. I do take a lot of pride in my house, especially during lockdown while we're spending so much time at home. It's definitely my baby.
Q. The book that's most impacted your life?
A. I read a lot of plays rather than novels. I remember reading The Ferryman by Jez Butterworth, which was a play that was on the West End, and it was just fantastic. It's about the Troubles here, and although it's a subject that's been done before, there's something unique and special about this one. When I read it, I fell in love with it.
Q. If you had the power or the authority, what would you do?
A. My sister is a nurse working in ICU. I think in order to change things like the health service, you need to change the people in power who can then change things for those who are putting their lives at risk going to work every night during the pandemic - to give them the pay rise they deserve.
I would do that first and then I would make sure that everyone was looked after.
Q. What makes your blood boil every time without fail?
A. Selfies! I hate them. It's a generational thing, and my Libby does it, but when you see grown women posing and using filters, I can't take that.
One thing I always tell my Libby is to embrace her individuality and try not to be like the rest of the clones with the trout pouts and big eyebrows that take over their entire faces.
I tell her: "Be unique and be natural. Embrace your natural beauty. Don't change a thing about yourself."
Q. Who has most influenced you in life?
A. My mummy and daddy. Even down to music choices, they've influenced everything.
They're grounded. Maybe because they were young parents, they know the score, but they've always been so supportive and encouraging.
Even when I told them I wanted to be an actor, when other people were telling me it wasn't a real job, they supported me.
Q. Your top three dinner party guests, dead or alive, and why?
A. Peter Kay because I've always had a crush on him and I think he's amazing. That man could laugh me into bed!
Then Ricky Gervais would definitely have to be there for the craic. And my favourite singer, Stevie Nicks, so she could sing for us. I love Fleetwood Mac.
Q. The best piece of advice you've ever received?
A. Don't sweat the small stuff. Doing what I do, I live on my nerves because when you're judged and critiqued every time you do something, it can play with your head and give you a lot of anxiety.
When I get worried, I always compare myself to my sister.
When I'm going into impress a panel of people who may or may not cast me, what's the worst thing that could happen? If I go in and perform poorly or get a line wrong, it's like "and what?" because people will forget about it by tomorrow.
If my sister goes into do her work and someone dies, that's with her much longer. Of course I care a lot about what I do and it's important to me, but no one is going to die or get affected by a bad performance. Your ego might hurt for a little while, but you'll get over it.
Q. The unlikely interest or hobby that you love?
A. I've always been really into hair and beauty - when I was younger, I liked the idea of being a hairdresser and I loved the smell of make-up so much that I wanted to eat it!
I'm also a perfume freak. Maybe I should work on the beauty counter at Boots. Libby is big into make-up too.
Q. The poem that touches your heart?
A. Mid-Term Break by Seamus Heaney. I think it just really hit home because of my brother Kevin.
I think it's a really beautiful poem, and so heart-breaking. I had to pick a poem to perform once when I was studying,and I chose that one because I thought it would make my mum and dad proud.
I didn't even get halfway through it before I had to stop - I burst out crying and ran out of the room.
Q. The happiest moment of your life?
A. That has to be giving birth to Libby. The whole experience was just euphoric. I would have loved more children; I always said I would have had more. As soon as she was in my arms and I saw her wee face, I knew I would do it again in a heartbeat. It didn't happen, but Libby is so amazing.
Q. And the saddest moment of your life?
A. Kevin's death was the saddest thing to happen to my family, but it's something I didn't experience - I only experienced it second hand.
For me personally, one of the saddest things to have happened in my life was when my house was subject to a sectarian attack. I'd bought a house in what I was told was a mixed area, and it was attacked one night when I was at work - everything was ruined but thankfully no one was hurt.
It changed my life dramatically. I was in a bad place after it. It's such a shame because it was a beautiful street, but it was made very clear that we just weren't welcome.
Then, my relationship broke down after that. It was certainly a dark couple of years, trying to get over the attack and the fear of it.
Q. The one event that made a difference to your life?
A. When I got a role on the BBC drama Come Home it shifted a gear in my career. It put me into a different playing field and gave me the exposure I needed to get into television.
I mean, it was a lead in a BBC drama opposite Christopher Eccleston, so I was tickled pink.
I would definitely say it raised the bar for me.
When you're an actor based in Belfast and you're trying to get into TV and film, it's extremely difficult.
Although there are a lot of things being made here, unfortunately a lot of the time they're not meaty roles because the leads are being cast in London or America. We will be seen, but it won't be a lead.
So, Come Home definitely put me on the map and got me the exposure I needed.
Then that's how I got on Coronation Street. I loved working there - it has a great team of people.
Q. What's the ambition that keeps driving you onwards?
A. Career wise, I would love nothing more than to do a big movie. I'd love to keep doing dramas but ultimately, I want to work enough to land something half decent in a film.
In life, I just want to happy.
Q. What's the philosophy you live by?
A. The one thing my granny used to say to me was, "If it's for you, it won't go by you". I'm a big believer in that.
Q. How do you want to be remembered?
A. I'm really proud of what I've achieved up to now and I don't want to be famous, but I would like to be remembered for my work - for coming out of somewhere small like Belfast and achieving something in the arts.
And I'd like to be remembered as someone who was kind.