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We know and love (or sometimes love to hate) their characters on screen, but now it’s time to discover all the behind-the-scenes secrets from our favourite soap stars.
In our exclusive interview, Soap Stars Coming Clean, OK!'s finding out all the juicy gossip about what happens when the cameras stop rolling, as well as the actors’ favourite memories with their co-stars so far.
We recently caught up with Emmerdale actress, Paige Sandhu, who plays murderer Meena Jutla, to find out more about the upcoming epic Super Soap Week, as well as her close bond with her on-screen sister and the one character she’d love to see Meena form a romantic connection with.
What’s your favourite memory on the show so far?
It has to be Super Soap Week. It’s the best ever. The stunts that we were doing were the most amazing, incredible experiences ever and the locations were out of this world beautiful. Everything just felt so special and from what I’ve seen so far, it’s amazing.
Are you looking forward to watching it back?
I never usually watch myself back because I’m so horrible about myself. But I will watch Super Soap Week because I want to see what it turns out like, so I’ll have to get over it for this.
What do you always have in your dressing room?
I always have a snack bar. I don’t eat breakfast before work because I get up about 6.30am and then we don’t have lunch until 12.30pm.
Who’s the messiest member of the cast?
I’ve not heard any rumours about who the messiest person is. I’m definitely a tidy freak, though. I shared dressing rooms when we’ve had something to keep them apart in the middle with Rebecca [Sarker, who plays Manpreet] and Fiona [Wade, who plays Priya], but they looked quite tidy as well.
Who are you closest to from the cast?
Everyone’s so lovely and I’ve made good friendships. I joined when Covid restrictions were in place, so I didn’t meet a lot of people and I still don’t know a lot of people in the cast because we’ve not been allowed in the same scenes. But I’ve got a really close bond with Rebecca.
In what way?
We have the same sense of humour and are very similar. We’re both quite private, low-key people who are more introverted than extroverted. She’s also a really kind and welcoming person. We just had an instant relationship that was really easy to build upon. She’s my closest friend at Emmerdale and that really helps with portraying that sisterly bond.
Which celebrity would you love to see doing a guest role?
Michelle Williams. Everything that she does is gold. The most recent thing that I watched with her in was Fosse/Verdon, but everything she does is incredible. So I would want her to come in and be Meena’s best friend.
If your character could have a romance with anyone in the Dales, who would you like it to be?
I would want Meena to be with Mackenzie [played by Lawrence Robb]. Because he’s got that villainous element. He’s not as bad as Meena, obviously, but the stuff he gets up to with the criminal activity means he’s not good. It would be really fun to see how they would work together and I think Lawrence is a fantastic actor and I really like him as a person as well.
If you could play another character on Emmerdale, who would it be?
I have to say two people. I would love to play Bernice [played by Sam Giles] because she’s such a funny character. Her lines are hilarious and the way that Sam plays her is so brilliant. And I would also love to play Kim Tate. I have met Claire King, who plays Kim, a few times and she is so, so lovely. As soon as you meet her, you immediately feel her warmth – the complete opposite to Kim which just goes to show how good of an actress she is.
What’s the funniest fan encounter you’ve ever had?
One time I was in London with my family for my sister’s birthday. Suddenly one of my younger sisters started jumping up and down and saying, “Emmerdale, Emmerdale!” I was so confused but then she pointed out three lovely women from Ireland who wanted to talk. I spoke to them and they were really nice.
If you weren’t an actor, what would you be doing?
There wasn’t really anything else. When I was a little kid I really loved singing, and I still do now. When I first started being on stage it was in amateur musicals. I started to pursue that but then found that acting was more fulfilling for me than singing. But my school was very academic, so when I said I wanted to be an actor, they said, “Ok, sure, but what’s the plan b?” So I had to come up with one which, at the time, was nursing. However, in my heart there was never a plan b.
What’s the dream role?
My big ambition is to constantly play characters that I absolutely love on film, TV and in theatre. But Meena is a dream character for me. It’s as if Emmerdale went into my brain and plucked out my perfect character. She’s obviously very different to me and I had to put a lot of research into it to figure out who she is and how she works. I loved that side of it.
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