Melissa, who starred in Hollyoaks Later, joins the main soap on Friday as Dom's exotic-dancing love interest Loretta. On arrival she's thrown straight into a main storyline with Dom's flatmate Ste trying to set the couple up. We chatted with the young actress to find out more.
We also asked Melissa a question submitted by winning TV.com entrant Kirk Eastment, who entered our interview competition, asking what her first day on Hollyoaks Later was like.
Melissa: I danced, I've always been a dancer but when I was about 13 or 14 I started going to classes at ITV Junior Television Workshops in Birmingham, at ITV and Carlton, and that's how I got into it really. I started going for a few auditions and I got my agent when I was 15. He's brilliant.
TV.com: Was Hollyoaks your first TV thing or had you done anything else?
Melissa: No, I had done a couple of little bits of things but it was my first big role really - my first meaty part.
TV.com: Before you joined the cast were you a fan of the show?
Melissa: To be honest, I hadn't watched it a lot because it was on at 6:30 and I was never in – I did loads of stuff after school and after college. I was always going off and doing drama classes, dance lessons and working and so I never really watched it at all. When I got the audition I thought I'd better start watching it!
TV.com: Tell us about Loretta?
Melissa: At the moment she is just lovely – she sees the good in everyone. She works as a stripper but is very quick to point out that it's not who she is, it's just her job, so I think what they've done is they've tried to have a massive contrast between who she is during the day, who they see her as in the village when she's with Dom, and who she turns into when she starts work at night.
TV.com: So is she similar to you in any way?
Melissa: Yes, I think she is actually, although she has a few geeky little hobbies like bird-watching, which I am not a massive fan of to be honest.
TV.com: Did it feel strange stepping into the shoes of Dom's previous love interest so quickly?
Melissa: Everyone has been really welcoming so it hasn't felt like that at all. The character is very different to Tina and I think it shows another side of Dom as well, so it's not just that Tina has been replaced, it's showing a whole new side to Dom.
Melissa: Oh no, not at all, because he is just the loveliest person ever and we spent loads of time together before we had to do anything like that and just got to know each other really well, so no, it wasn’t awkward at all.
TV.com: What about the pole-dancing stuff, did you have any training for that?
Melissa: Yes, I did! I had a few lessons and I'm doing them now as well. Of course, it helped having a dance background… although not that kind of dancing!
TV.com: What was your first day on Hollyoaks Later like, did you get on with everyone?
Melissa: My first day was actually on location so it wasn't filming on the set, it was filmed in this pole-dancing club in Liverpool, so it was really exciting. Obviously a bit nerve-wracking, but it feels like I've been here for a while because I've moved to the main show. I'm not on screen till next week (Friday 6 February), but we actually started filming in October.
TV.com: Was it kind of strange going from being someone on the Hollyoaks Later show to being a full-time cast member?
Melissa: A little bit, yes, because it works so much faster in the daytime episodes. Everything gets shot really, really fast, whereas in Hollyoaks Later we had a lot more time to film. I was reading a script and I'd have it for a good few weeks before we were going to do it, so we had a lot more time to rehearse and look over the scripts, whereas now everything works super-duper fast. You just have to keep moving, it is such a fast turnover.
TV.com: What’s an average filming day on the set?
Melissa: Every day is completely different. Some days you'll be in from eight till eight and some days you just go in for one scene, so yes, every day is completely different.
Melissa: Oh he is gorgeous and adorable. Very cute indeed!
TV.com: That’s good to know. So what exciting storylines does Loretta have coming up next – what can you tell us?
Melissa: Obviously I'm not allowed to tell you too much, but we are going to see her at work again, although obviously not too much seeing as the show's on at 6:30pm. Dom really struggles with what she does as a job, he has a lot of issues like how protective he is over her and that she doesn't actually need him. She is very independent, she doesn't really need that. She is going to make friends with Cindy as well – there is going to be a bit of a partnership there too.
TV.com: What would be your dream acting job?
I would love to be in a period drama, anything like Jane Austen, Tess of the Durbevilles and Charles Dickens pieces, I love anything like that, a nice costume drama.
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Melissa makes her Hollyoaks debut on Friday February 6 at 6:30pm on Channel 4. Will you be watching?