Actor Georgina Campbell on her latest roles in Black Mirror and Broadchurch, winning a BAFTA and her Clapham hotspots
Lead image: Georgina Campbell photographed by Tom Leishman (hair and makeup by Sophie Crossley)
Georgina Campbell has been particularly busy recently, wrapping up on an episode of the fabulous Black Mirror for Netflix and, as we chat, she is in Belfast for a six month stint filming Krypton for Syfy. Naturally, this means that she hasn’t had very much time at home in Clapham so she’s excited to touch base with me in London, and we chat about her love for Clapham Common, the Picturehouse and Brickwood, her favourite breakfast place.
And being busy and away from home certainly isn’t something that Campbell begrudges – though she does admit to missing London and her friends and family a lot. Instead, she credits her career as making her very fortunate to visit places that she wouldn’t necessarily get to see otherwise.
Campbell is one of those people who just seem to take everything in her stride, and it seems to be working out well for her. Having won a BAFTA in 2015 for Best Actress in the BBC3 drama Murdered by my Boyfriend, Campbell has enjoyed roles in some of the best television of 2017, including the highly lauded Broadchurch.
But, surprisingly, acting wasn’t necessarily always part of her plan. That’s not to say that she hasn’t worked really hard to get to where she is today, far from it, but Campbell definitely had her lucky break in her teens. It was in a drama that received funding from BBC Learning as a schools resource, following a campaign to raise awareness of domestic violence among young people.
‘I did acting as a hobby at school, just like anyone,’ she tells me. ‘But I was spotted in London when I was 15 and asked about a new drama called Freak. It was a little bit of luck that encounter, but just because I was spotted doesn’t mean that everything else was handed to me on a plate.’
Campbell went along and was offered a part in the show, an online teen drama made for MySpace. Again, the theme of keeping busy and working hard becomes evident as Campbell went on to pursue acting alongside her studies, even going to university and acting alongside her degree.
‘It required a lot of focus and not getting too distracted by uni life,’ she smiles. ‘I had to make sure I juggled work with essay writing, but I like a challenge and I think I have a strong work ethic from my dad.’
In acting, you are constantly educating yourself on other people’s lives and how other people behave, or what they have to cope with
What it is about the world of acting that Campbell likes so much? ‘I love being able to learn new skills and learn about different types of people. In acting, you are constantly educating yourself on other people’s lives and how other people behave, or what they have to cope with,’ she says. ‘I’ve had to learn stunts too and do heavy weight training and I love that I get to do these things that I may not take the initiative to do myself.’
The industry comes with its ups and downs, and there are times, I’m told, that confidence does take a hit: ‘Winning a BAFTA was a huge highlight for me as it was quite soon after I came out of university and I’d moved to London where I was doing a bar job in Koko in Camden to make money,’ she says. ‘The BAFTA came through and I started getting new jobs. It came at a time when I was getting worried that things might not have worked out.’
Being a part of something that creates a conversation and raises awareness of voices that aren’t being heard seems to be something that Campbell is passionate about. Her participation in Broadchurch and Black Mirror spring to mind.
‘I think because I’m interested in these types of things, when the scripts come through, I’m drawn to them. I was really happy to be asked to do Broadchurch as I’d watched it from the beginning,’ she says. ‘It was smart and the idea of looking at a rape case, and seeing how differently murder and rape cases are treated and how difficult they are, was important to do. I felt that they dealt with it very well and I was happy to be a part of something that was showing the public how it works.’
Black Mirror is another show that creates conversations, stemming from ideas in society today and challenging the audience to contemplate the future. Campbell plays Amy in the episode Hang the DJ, which centres around two characters, Frank and Amy. ‘It’s about a dating system where relationships are mapped out in advance and it plays on ideas of Tinder and how dating is changing,’ says Campbell. ‘I enjoy entertainment when there is social commentary.’
Something else that Campbell is passionate about is the fact that the industry is opening itself up to so many people now, and she encourages budding actors to embrace that. ‘We are in a good time now where you can create your own content and put it on YouTube,’ she says. ‘I would advise people to just go for it.’