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Jamie-Lee O’Donnell took Christmas jobs to pay bills after Derry Girls

Star worked in Eason’s and Swarovski after first series


Saoirse-Monica Jackson and Jamie-Lee O'Donnell

Saoirse-Monica Jackson and Jamie-Lee O'Donnell


Saoirse-Monica Jackson and Jamie-Lee O'Donnell

Jamie-Lee O’Donnell worked as a shop assistant after she filmed the first series of Derry Girls because she was not sure the show was going to be a success.

The Derry actress (30) went to work in Eason’s and Swarovski after playing Michelle on the Channel 4 show.

She said: “After I finished season one, because it took so long to come out, I found myself working in Eason’s and Swarovski. Both stores were across from each other, so it was handy.

“I did a thing for BBC2, but my agent said, ‘It’s going to be a while before things come in’.

“All these expectations had to be adjusted, and the reality of it is you’ve got bills to pay, so I thought, ‘F*** it. I’m going to go and get these two Christmas jobs’.

“There was a lot of times where I didn’t want to sit about, but I thought, ‘What’s the point? I might as well work before I’m known’.

“We didn’t know Derry Girls was going to take off. It’s surreal. Obviously, we hoped for this. We loved filming it.”

Despite now having her choice of roles, Jamie initially struggled to get into the industry.

“I’ve always been into acting since I was very young. I was a very dramatic child,” she said.

“I remember years ago I had an assortment of hats. I don’t know where I got them, but they were intense and they were all different characters.

“I have always been a very determined person. Recently, I found a diary in my parent’s house. It was a Forever Friends one, and I wrote in it when I was six, ‘When I grow up, I’m going to be a famous actress’. I always wanted to do it.

“It was hard growing up here in terms of access to the arts. There’s a lot of talent in Derry and ambition. I didn’t go to drama school or anything because that was too expensive for my family at the time. It wasn’t the most accessible career, so I had to side-step. I learnt from my mistakes.”

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