Tuesday 12 December 2017

Child star hopes Queen has seen Save the Children Syria YouTube video

Child actress Lily Aslandogdu is the star of a charity video for Save the Children with almost 50 million online hits
Child actress Lily Aslandogdu is the star of a charity video for Save the Children with almost 50 million online hits
The charity video has been a hit on YouTube

A child actress who is the star of a charity video with almost 50 million online hits said she would "like to think that the Queen's seen it".

Lily Aslandogdu, 12, from Harlow in Essex, has since filmed a movie alongside Hollywood stars Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver and Felicity Jones which is out next year.

The schoolgirl, who gets recognised by people on the street, appears in a Save the Children video which has more than 48.5 million views on YouTube.

Lily's character is the focus of the minute-and-a-half film which shows how the life of a young girl gets turned upside down by war and at the end it shows the hashtag #SaveSyriasChildren.

Asked how she felt about the number of people who have watched the video, Lily, called Lily-Rose by some, told the Press Association: "I don't really know how to put it into words.

"That many people ... I'd be breathtaken by just one million people knowing who I was and seeing something that I've done, but let alone 48 million people, because then you know that you're making an even bigger difference for the charity."

She added: "I'd like to think that the Queen's seen it. It'd be fun if she had seen it. I know that Ashton Kutcher's seen it because he shared it on Facebook, and a few other celebrities might have shared it."

Asked what she thinks the Queen would make of the video, Lily said: "I think she'd be happy that something was being done for the war, but I'm not too sure ... I hope that she'd relate to it in a sense, because it could be happening to her country but it's not. And I hope that she's grateful that it's not, but sad for the people that it is happening to."

Lily is a big fan of vlogger Zoella, whose real name is Zoe Sugg, and said it would be good if she is among the millions of people who have watched the video too.

The young actress, who has appeared in a number of advertisements, said the film took two days to shoot, adding: "It was quite hard, like having to put myself in that situation was quite difficult because I'm not actually going through that, I'm not actually in a war ... It's very difficult emotionally and physically to get into that role."

Asked how she would feel about being recognised on a daily basis, Lily said: "I think it would be quite terrifying because you see so many people, but it's always fun. Meeting new people is always fun for me."

Lily, who is also set to appear in an episode of TV show Call The Midwife, may be recognised even more when A Monster Calls - starring Neeson, Weaver and Jones - opens in cinemas next year.

She plays a character who is friends with the film's protagonist.

"Being recognised now from little things that I've done is already very breathtaking, knowing that someone knows who you are. And when the film comes out I think that will take it to a whole other level," she said.

She finished work on the film earlier this year and has described how starstruck she was on set.

"When I first saw them, it was kind of like, I was really starstruck because I'd never worked alongside big celebrities.

"I'd worked alongside a few people who I knew who they were, but alongside Sigourney Weaver and Felicity Jones ... it was, like, a very good experience," she said.

"The first time I saw Sigourney she walked up to us all and she offered her hand to me and she went 'Oh, you must be Lily'."

Asked where she sees herself 10 years from now, Lily said: "I would like to see myself in performing arts in some way, but I don't really know how, just in the performing arts field would be amazing. But if it carries on then I would like to be an actress or do things in films."

Lily's mother Jacqui Aslandogdu said it makes her "really proud" that so many people have watched the charity video, but she said she gets embarrassed when Lily gets stopped in the street by people who recognise her.

"It's really strange," she said, recalling one instance when Lily was stopped in Brighton by Japanese tourists asking to have their picture taken with her.

Lily has also been recognised by Dutch people in Turkey and by a worker in a cafe in Barcelona.

"You do get a lot of people staring at her, as if to say 'I know you from somewhere'," she said.

Mrs Aslandogdu said Lily is "pretty level-headed".

Tanya Steele, executive director at Save the Children, said: "The unprecedented success of the video, and the speed at which it was shared and viewed across the whole world, shows that it captured the public attention about the crisis in Syria.

"Now with over 48 million views, the message of the devastating impact of the Syrian crisis on children has been globally amplified."

The video was posted online in March last year.

Press Association

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