At the beginning of 2007, our view of Bristol as a fairly uninteresting corner of the southwest, which only narrowly avoids being Welsh, was drastically altered. E4 launched ‘Skins’, the massively popular teen drama filled with drug-taking, debauched teenagers and, for some reason, set in Bristol. It has since become an iconic part of teen culture, giving rise to the term ‘Skins Party’, which has been unwisely used by many a schoolgirl soon to find herself weeping over the wreckage of her parent’s home. Impact’s Sam Booth talks to April Pearson, aka Michelle from ‘Skins’, about how it was to be part of the first two series.
You grew up in Bristol, where ‘Skins’ is based and filmed. Do you think there is much similarity between the city on the show and the city in real life?
Yes, of course! The show tried to depict some of the great things about the city of Bristol, the architecture, nightlife and, er, culture, to name but a few. I think it’s difficult to describe to someone who doesn’t know the city, but the places where ‘teens’ hang out is where the characters went on the show.
Do you miss the cast of ‘Skins’? Anyone you were particularly close to?
I miss them all, we had such a great time when we were filming. Everyone has gone on to do some really great things. I still see Larissa Wilson (who plays Jal Frazer) quite a bit as she still lives in Bristol too.
What are you up to now? I hear you have just finished work on a new film, Tormented. Can you give us a quick rundown of the plot?
Without giving too much away, it’s a horror comedy set in a school (it’s been described as a new zomcom – who would’ve thought Shaun of the Dead would create a genre). I play a bully, and with my gang of devoted diminutive bullies we ‘torment’ one unlucky student, with disastrous effects.
Anyone you enjoyed working with on the set of the film?
Well, randomly Larissa was working on the film too, so it was great to work with her again. The whole cast were really lovely, very talented, and set for great things in the future!
How are you finding life as a celebrity? Any particularly surreal moments?
I’m not sure I would describe myself as a celebrity, I just get recognized which is still a bit weird.
Ever been to Nottingham before?
One of my best friends is studying at Nottingham, she was in Lincoln Hall last year, so I came to visit her for her birthday. We went out to a couple of places but I actually can’t remember what they were called!
A friend wants to know where you got your yellow jacket that you wore in the first series of ‘Skins’ -perhaps she could borrow it some time?
She can have it! It’s from Miss Selfridge; it was too small for me at the time, and still is! But I suppose it became a staple ‘Michelle’ piece of clothing.
Any advice for those wanting to get into the industry after university?
Be prepared to be disappointed. It is such a hard business, and it is nothing about talent. Even if you are the most talented actor around, if you don’t look right, you simply don’t get the part. And also, network; it’s all about people who know people.