Jessica Sula (‘Skins’) interview

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This week’s episode of Skins focuses on Grace, as she tries to pass her drama exam. With her relationship in turmoil and the whole gang at odds in her production of Twelfth Night, it’s not looking likely.

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CultBox caught up with actress Jessica Sula to find out more…

How are you feeling about your episode airing on Thursday?

“I’m feeling quite nervous. Hopefully it’ll go down well and people will enjoy it, I don’t know!”

How would you describe Grace?

“I think Grace is quietly confident, naïve, vulnerable and a little bit unaware of the real world. She hopes that she’ll understand it though – she gets frustrated that nobody’s explaining what life’s about. She’s just overall very kind and love’s learning things from people. She doesn’t create boundaries – you know, how Mini likes to create a clique, whereas Grace is open to anyone, she doesn’t mind.”

Did you base your portrayal of Grace on anyone you know in real life?

“I sort of tried to think back to the film Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn. You see her exploring Italy, going through the market, looking at different things – that’s what I based Grace on.

“But then again, Grace is very much like me as well. I’m very open to learning new things with different people. I travelled a lot when I was younger – I went to school in Trinidad and Tobago, I lived in New York and I travelled around the Caribbean with my parents. That’s about it! I’d say I’m more aware than her, but intellectually she’s more on top of things than I am.”

What was the audition process like?

“I was going for Frankie as well as Grace, but I think when I did my audition for Frankie I could see in my eyes they were like ‘no, this is not Frankie, just stick to Grace’.”

What sort of reaction have you had from people so far?

“It’s basically in the past two weeks that I’ve been recognised the most, which has been really bizarre! People have been really kind and supportive; I haven’t had any bad reaction so far, not in person anyway! When I’ve been out people have been lovely and kind.

“I think Grace is a great character because she’s warm to everyone, so when people see me in the supermarket they’re not scared of me, like they might be with baddies on TV.”

What was the highlight of filming your episode?

“This is going to sound bad; I think that was when all the girls are taking coke on the bed. That day I was very lonely and they all came in for that scene and we were all together and it was fun and it wasn’t real drugs – it was actually milk powder and it was horrible!”

What were the actors who play your mum and dad in the episode like to work with?

“Jenny [Jules], who plays my mum was absolutely fantastic. She gave me lots of advice and wise words. They were both lovely and so great to bounce off and chat to. I get really excited very easily and I was so excited on the set of my house!”

How early on did you know that a familiar Skins character would in fact be Grace’s father?

“I think about three weeks before filming, I heard a rumour. I was like ‘hmm, really?’. I think it does explain a lot about Grace. She’s very organised and strangely shy around some people. He’s very impersonal, so she has to get all the love from her friends. He shelters her in a bubble and you can see how this affects her. This is why she goes out to wild parties!”

Did you stay on set to watch the filming of Grace’s parents dancing in the kitchen?

“Yeah, I watched them doing that. They have to turn down the music, so it was basically just them dancing to nothing. It’s like when we’re filming club scenes, it was hysterical.”

Can you give us any hints about what series finale holds for Grace?

“Grace goes on a road trip with her friends and there’s love involved!”

What direction would you like to see the character go in Series 6?

“I wanted her to remain a mystery this series, but next year I’d like Grace to come out even more and see what she’s capable of.”

What are your hopes for Grace and Rich in Series 6?

“I just want Grace and Rich to be a steady couple. So many Skins characters always break up, so it’d be great to have some familiarity. Not all teenage couples break up all the time. Okay, yeah they do! But some are sweethearts and go through their tiffs and stay together. Filming starts around the corner! I’m so excited! It’ll be nice to see everyone again.”

How do you think you’ll feel when filming on Series 6 ends?

“When it’s over it’ll be extremely sad. The show’s been such an opportunity for me, it’ll be strange how fast it’s gone. But it’ll be a chance to show people what other acting skills I have, I’m looking forward to working more in the future.”

Aside from Skins, what other TV shows would you like to appear in?

“I’d love to be in Boardwalk Empire! I love that sort of 1920s time, and it’s got Steve Buscemi, who’s a great actor. It’s an amazing show. I wouldn’t mind being in Misfits too, that’d be awesome. I love Misfits – more than Skins!”

Skins is currently airing at 10pm on Thursdays on E4.