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A star is born: Named one of Bafta's rising stars for 2020, Niamh Algar is ready to take on Hollywood

Niamh Algar's star has been rapidly rising since she moved to London just four years ago. The actor tells Shilpa Ganatra about working with Ridley Scott on his new sci-fi drama, why female directors are the unicorns of the industry and how it feels to join Mullingar's growing list of global exports

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Niamh Algar wears: Suit, Joesph; jumper, All Saints; jeans, AGOLDE; boots, Gianvito Rossi; belt and jewellry, Niamh's own. Photo by Aaron Hurley

Niamh Algar wears: Suit, Joesph; jumper, All Saints; jeans, AGOLDE; boots, Gianvito Rossi; belt and jewellry, Niamh's own. Photo by Aaron Hurley

Niamh Algar by Aaron Hurley

Niamh Algar by Aaron Hurley

Niamh Algar is set to be Guy Ritchie's leading actor. Photo: Aaron Hurley

Niamh Algar is set to be Guy Ritchie's leading actor. Photo: Aaron Hurley

Niamh Algar. Photo by Aaron Hurley

Niamh Algar. Photo by Aaron Hurley

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Niamh Algar wears: Suit, Joesph; jumper, All Saints; jeans, AGOLDE; boots, Gianvito Rossi; belt and jewellry, Niamh's own. Photo by Aaron Hurley

The harder you work, the luckier you get: an old adage that describes the start of Niamh Algar's trajectory neatly. I've been trying to arrange a chat with her for months, during which time she's been catapulted from promising star to barely off our screens, at a pace that's like observing any other glittering career in fast forward. It's only now she has time, in a sliver of a three-day window between lengthy film projects, which is otherwise taken up by awards ceremonies, promo and appearances instead. Usually, the intensity of shoots mean actors take a week or two to exhale, but there's no rest for the wicked - or wickedly talented, it seems.

"You have to work hard, especially in this industry where there's a huge amount of talented people around," she says. "I've been working non-stop these last four years, and filming involves 10 to 13-hour days, depending on the job. I've got to a point where I see it as normal to get picked up at half-five in the morning, and put into hair and make-up. It's taught me the importance of looking after yourself both physically and mentally, and putting your energy where it matters."

As it is, she's in fantastic form, full of the energy that comes with frequent gym sessions - a passion of hers - and a gratitude that matches her fire for the job. It helps that this short spell is the first chance she's had to observe the momentum around her, with most of her projects these past few years airing in 2019: we've seen Channel 4 dramas The Bisexual, The Virtues and Pure, while the BBC's MotherFatherSon, starring Richard Gere and Helen McCrory, proved her talent transferred to a mainstream, big-budget drama ("working with Richard was unreal," she says. "He's lovely, he made the effort to watch our scenes and was really generous with his time.").


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