When Saoirse-Monica Jackson was a little girl growing up in Derry, her favourite movie was Educating Rita.
In the past couple of years, her life has taken on the Cinderella-like arc of Julie Walters' character. She has moved from unemployment and an uncertain future to become one of the stars of Derry Girls, an Irish comedy phenomenon that has taken the world by storm and has just made its debut on RTE.
Saoirse-Monica's expressions of confusion and horror steal the show and it is hard to imagine anyone else playing Erin Quinn. Even without the benefit of a script, she is effortlessly funny. She tells me she will emerge from lockdown in London "looking like a bird's nest, I think it's safe to say".
The friends she shares the house with have been giving each other haircuts but she will stay loyal to her hairdresser "because I don't want to end up looking like Lisa Simpson".
That saltiness runs in her veins, a product of her upbringing. "I grew up between Derry and Donegal," she says. "We have a real harsh sense of humour there. When I moved to London it was a bit of a culture shock because our sense of humour is much rougher and sharper. Even when tough things happen, you find a way to laugh at them."
Her mum was a counsellor - "which is why I'm such a well-rounded human being now", she says, laughing - and her dad was an engineer. "When I was growing up I was constantly testing and challenging their authority," she says. "I have a great relationship with my mum now so I'm actually grateful she was strict with me growing up."
Inspired by Educating Rita, she wanted to be an actress. "I connected with that character so much. I was always watching old TV and films. I went to drama school and I got a job from there. I'd like to say to anyone out there starting out that I was incredibly lucky as well - that's a huge part of it."
When she was auditioning for Derry Girls she had been working in a sales job in Manchester and was sacked from it on the day she found out she had got the role. "I was thinking, what the hell am I going to do and then I got the email saying that I had got the Derry Girls part," she recalls.
"I had put so much into getting it I would have been devastated if I hadn't got it."
Filming in Derry and Belfast was as much fun as it looked, she says, but this was also a worry.
"It's often said if you're laughing on set on a comedy it's bad news because it doesn't really translate to the screen but, thank God, this was an exception to that because we really did crack each other up," she said.
"Oh my God, there's so many Derry Girls bloopers that have never been released. Tommy Tiernan is definitely the worst at corpsing [breaking up laughing instead of saying lines] but he gets away with it. All of us were pretty bad at one time or another.
"You think you know how someone is going to deliver a line but it comes out totally different and it can be very hard to keep a straight face."
There has been much speculation about a Derry Girls movie but Saoirse-Monica says that is still up in the air. "I have no idea if there will be a movie. I would love if there were one but we don't know anything about it," she says.
"We're just focused on doing season three at the moment. I think the script for that has been written and as soon as it's safe we're going to back on set filming it."
Derry Girls has ensured Saoirse-Monica is in demand and she has upcoming parts in the TV series Urban Myths, in which she will star alongside Robbie Coltrane - "that was a huge honour, he's a legend".
She has also just finished Unprecedented, a BBC drama dealing with the emotional reaction to lockdown.
"The thing I'm most looking forward to is seeing my grandparents and the long walks and great chats we have on the beach in Donegal," she says. "All the waiting will be worth it for that."