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The blood is fake, but Michelle's ambition is real

Michelle Doherty is looking beat up, but fans of the former Phantom DJ-turned-actress shouldn't fear.

The blood streaming from the nose of the 35-year-old is fake, for new Irish movie The Hip Producer.

The Donegal woman plays producer Katelin Ballantyne who is seeking investment for a film when she is blackmailed into a carrying out a contract killing by a ruthless drugs boss.

"Katelin finds herself thrown into a very dangerous situation, so I spend most of the time having the hell scared out of me," Doherty said.

Struggling with gun-toting gangsters, speeding around the streets in car chases, it's a long way from Michelle's former life as an air hostess, model and TV presenter.

One scene, shot last December in DCU, in which Michelle fought in the back of a van with Eoin Quinn, playing a hitman, came just as the US Secret Service swept the campus before a visit by Hillary Clinton.

"We had fake guns, so it could have gone badly wrong," said Quinn.

A minor role in RTE comedy drama Trivia led director Kevin de la Isla O'Neill to cast Michelle in the crime thriller.

"Doing Trivia gave me a taste for acting, but it was something I always wanted to do and seemed natural to me.

"There is nothing worse than an actor trying too hard," said Doherty.

Based in Dublin for 15 years, she moved to London earlier this year to pursue her acting dream and was quickly signed up by M&P Artist Management in the UK.

Having completed her first feature, Michelle is now on the hunt for more screen roles.

"I had a little part in What Richard Did, which has really helped, too.

"I'm going to loads of castings in London. It's hard, though; you're not going to get stuff handed to you on a plate.

"I'm a hard worker. I've always worked hard at what I do and to get where I am. It will be no different here."

The Hip Producer is due out later this year.