Amrita Acharia: 'I wasn't a big fan of my 20s, now I have more of a focus on where I'm heading'
Gabrielle Fagan catches up with Amrita Acharia to find out why fitness is a key part of her life
Amrita Acharia is best-known for starring as handmaiden Irri in Game Of Thrones, but her latest role, as Dr Ruby Walker in ITV drama The Good Karma Hospital, has won her an entirely new set of fans.
The stunning 30-year-old, who has a Nepalese father and a Ukrainian mother, had an international upbringing - moving to England from Nepal when she was seven and relocating to Norway as a teenager, before returning to England to pursue her acting career.
Here, she tells all about her gruelling exercise regime, the perils of appearing in a fantasy drama and how she was glad to turn 30.
How important is fitness to you?
I've always loved fitness. I enjoyed gymnastics as a child and I really like feeling strong - nothing beats the buzz you get from reaching goals like doing a handstand or lifting weights. I work out six times a week and I'm a personal trainer, so you can tell it's a key part of my life. For me, the gym is a place where you can switch off and work on yourself. It's always been very much my me-time.
I'm about to start an advanced personal training course, and I already have a teacher training qualification for yoga, but weights are my first love. I like to do box-fit and spinning as well.
I ran the London Marathon in 2016 to push myself out of my comfort zone, and to raise money for a school in Nepal, but I wouldn't do it again - I find long-distance running boring.
How do you look after your wellbeing?
Yoga helps to keep my mind from getting too messy. I love reading and I'll always have my nose stuck in a novel. I really enjoy doing courses and learning all the time - I recently did a behaviour change course. For me, it's about widening my interests and keeping life interesting.
How did you feel about turning 30?
I was fine about it. I wasn't a big fan of my twenties, so I was happy to move on. Sometimes things are a bit up in the air at that age, and you have quite big doubts about exactly who you are and who you want to be.
It's not that those years were bad in any way - I had a blast in my 20s - but I think its nice to be more settled in yourself, have a grasp on your own career and more focus about where you're heading. I've kind of figured out my path a little bit more. Since I've turned 30, I've also figured out that 'sleep more and worry less' is a good mantra. I'm a night owl, but now I know I need a certain amount of sleep each night.
You speak five languages - has that helped your career?
Speaking so many languages (Acharia is fluent in Nepali, Ukrainian, Russian, English and Norwegian) means I can work in so many different countries. I've done Norwegian projects alongside English and American ones.
My language skills helped me to master Dothraki (the fictional language spoken in Game Of Thrones), but I can't pretend I learnt it. Sometimes people come up and ask me to speak it to them, but I have to confess that I just learnt my lines.
How would you describe yourself?
I'm quite determined and I've got a really bad temper - it doesn't pay to get on the wrong side of me. More often than not, though, I'll lose my temper because I get impatient with myself. On the other hand, I never hold a grudge and I'm quite a generous person.
I have a lot of time for people who deserve it, and I won't give my time to people who don't. I'm very direct - people tell me I'm quite blunt.
What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
Someone told me, "Enjoy the process rather than focusing on the end goal". I try to stick to that, because otherwise it's easy to have tunnel vision.
I've also learnt you don't need to say yes to everything. It's okay to say no.
The Good Karma Hospital Series 2 and Complete Series 1 and 2 box set are out now on DVD (acorndvd.com)