Young gay teens turn to Fair City star for advice
HER portrayal of lesbian teen Katy O'Brien on Fair City has had an unexpected consequence for Amilia Clarke Stewart as droves of teens and parents have sought her advice.
The storyline, which involves headstrong Katy coming out to her family and developing a crush on an older woman in the RTE soap, has opened her eyes to the difficulty faced by many gay teens she said.
"Before playing the part I never would have understood the things that some people go through when coming out," she said.
The Dubliner previously revealed that her brother Martin, who is gay, inspired her to take on the role.
"I have been getting emails from young boys and girls, though, telling me about their situation and asking for advice," she revealed.
"I've even got emails from parents who think their child might be gay and they're looking for advice on how to approach it - I'd like to think I've helped."
Her on-screen family in Carrigstown were not at all pleased to find out her character's sexual orientation.
But the actress said that she would advise those in a similar situation to keep their "chin up and stay positive" if there was any kind of negative reaction to coming out.
"You can't make someone accept something if they don't want to or aren't ready. Give them time but don't let it drag you down," Amilia advised.
"I understand it's hard but people go through their whole lives denying themselves of what they want," she said.
"Life is too short for waiting around. Be proud of yourself for coming out - the worst is over," she added.
The Gaiety School of Acting graduate's career is going from strength to strength.
Earlier this year, she helped found a theatre company with fellow actors Lee Coffey and Conall Keating.
The company's first play Leper and Chip is set to return to the stage in February 2015 after a successful debut earlier this year.
Even as a child, Amilia harboured ambitions to be an actress and would practise her 'crying face' in front of the mirror when she was a young girl.
But it has clearly paid off for the pretty brunette, who is clearly chuffed with her role on the RTE soap.
"Seriously I hit the jackpot," she gushed about her Fair City gig.
Amilia has also landed a role in a two-part mini-series being shot in Ireland this year.
A Dangerous Fortune is based on a book by British author Ken Follet which is centred on the collapse of a bank in the 1800s.