Victoria star Jenna Coleman on Gucci, celebrating her 30th and the fox that stole her shoe
Jenna Coleman has received critical acclaim for her starring role in ITV’s Victoria (apparently even HRH Queen Liz is a fan) which finished in a dramatic climax last Sunday. The actress, who spent four years playing Clara Oswald in Doctor Who, caught up with us to talk about the success of the show and what she watches when she’s not on TV herself.
Congratulations on Victoria! How did you find the reaction to the show?
‘I was getting stopped in the street a lot! People were really excited and talking about the story, it was a huge relief.’
How did you prepare yourself for a big biopic role like Queen Victoria?
‘So much information is out there in documentaries, biographies and even her personal diaries. She’s a unique character in a lot of ways so I was trying to find her essence. She’s so funny, frank – and unbelievably stubborn.’
Did you enjoy wearing the costumes?
‘I did. Ros [Ebbutt, costume designer] and I looked at portraits and spoke about colours, then she would bring fabrics for me to see before she went off to design. It was a collaborative process.’
Aside from Victoria, what’s your favourite TV show right now?
‘At the moment I’m watching The Night Of with Riz Ahmed. It’s about a guy who gets caught up in this really strange night and ends up being accused of murder and put on trial. It’s amazing.’
You recently starred in the adaptation of Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You, is film something you’d like to do more of?
‘The beauty of doing something like Victoria or Doctor Who is that you get time to explore characters and relationships, but I love film. I’d like to switch roles more often.’
Who would be your dream co-star?
‘Ruth Wilson or Marion Cotillard.’
What kind of films do you like to watch yourself?
‘I’m a big fan of Drake Doremus who directed Like Crazy, starring Felicity Jones. He improvises all of his films so he’s really exciting. He recently worked on Equals with Kristen Stewert and Nicholas Hault. It’s a bit Brave New World and set in the future.’
What’s your favourite place you’ve travelled to?
‘I went to Florence this summer for my 30th birthday, which I loved and I can’t wait to go back. We stayed just outside so we could look down over the whole city. There was this incredible little restaurant and bar we found that’s still set up how it used to be in the 14th Century. They’ve been gifted something by Medici in there and I think it’s quite under the radar. The best thing about travelling is just wandering around with no real plans.’
Where do you like to shop?
‘I’ve just moved house so I’ve been doing a lot of homeware shopping recently. I went to an amazing place in Paris called Merci. It’s a bit like a Parisian version of The Conran Shop, with a huge bookstore and a place to sit and drink coffee. It’s incredible, you can lose hours in there.’
Who’s your favourite designer?
‘I’m into quite romantic clothes that are intricate and textured so I adore Erdem. And Gucci’s new collection is insane. I have an incredibly cool gold and blue striped Gucci beanie hat. For high street pieces I like & Other Stories and Rachel Comey. I’m gutted because a fox stole my Rachel Comey shoe out of my garden – just one of them!’
Which beauty product could you not live without?
‘The Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Stick is really great and Chantecaille mascara is expensive but lasts for ages. The cheapest and best beauty advice I’ve ever been given is to put an ice cube on your face after cleansing. It makes your skin look incredible.’
Victoria is available now on DVD and digital download.
Nine things you didn’t know about Jenna Coleman
1. She was in an on/off relationship with Game of Thrones star Richard Madden AKA Rob Stark from 2011. They called things off for good earlier this year.
2. She’s a former soap star, landing her first on-screen acting role in Emmerdale age 21. Her character Jasmine was involved in some pretty scandalous story lines for 2005.
3. Jenna spent three months auditioning in Hollywood, before being cast in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger.
4. She originally auditioned for the part of Mels in Doctor Who, but it was given to Nina Toussaint-White instead. How’s that for an alternate universe?
5. At just 5’2” she had to stand on a box when filming scenes with her Doctor Who co-star Peter Capaldi.
6. She was rumoured to be seeing Prince Harry after they were spotted getting close at a polo match in 2015. The jury’s still out on that one…
7. You might have seen her on the big screen earlier this year playing Emilia Clarke’s sister in Me Before You.
8. Jenna is an ambassador of the One to One Children’s Fund, working with some of the most vulnerable children in the world, offering them access to healthcare and education. She travelled to Africa last year, where she met parents and children affected by HIV.
9. Lily James, Cara Delevingne, Emilia Clarke and Chloë Grace Moretz were all on the shortlist for the role of Victoria.