Red Rock's Valerie taught pal Denise how to twerk for role
As Red Rock's tough-talking Detective Nikki Grogan, actress Valerie O'Connor appears to take no prisoners.
But she has revealed that, in real life, she's actually a big softie and even helped her best pal, Denise McCormack, land the role in the TV3 soap - by teaching her to twerk.
Far from there being any rivalry, Valerie (34) was over the moon when Denise, who played Fran's girlfriend Linda in Love/Hate, landed the role of matriarch, Farrah Phelan.
"When we were getting the IFTA award, we were looking across the stage at each other and going 'can you believe it?'.
"I was in school in London with Denise, she's my bezzie mate.
"I was auditioning for the role in Red Rock and I said, 'You've got to get into this thing'. So she called around to my mam's house at about 8am and she was like, 'I'm going to this audition and I have to twerk!'.
"We were in my mother's kitchen twerking away, and I just had this feeling she would get the role. I've known her for 13 years and she's just gorgeous to work with. We ring each other about four times a day."
Originally from Leixlip, the actress met Denise while they were studying for a Masters in Shakespeare at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London - and they've been pals ever since.
Valerie dismissed as a myth the notion that there was any competition between the cast members in the IFTA-winning soap, adding: "There's no rivalry in the cast. Other actresses, I find them the most generous, the most loving people, and I thank God for that. I have never found an actress bitchy to me."
She also has a great relationship with Cathy Belton - who plays Patricia Hennessy in the programme - and says she loves chatting with the younger female cast members and hearing their take on life.
"Cathy's a real lady. She's like, 'hello darling' - it makes you feel great," she said.