Jessica Barden slams posh stars who want to play working-class roles

Emma Corrin discusses their worry for new ‘My Policeman’ role

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Jessica Barden, 30, was born into a working-class family in North Yorkshire before rising to fame in shows such as The End Of The F*****g World. The star has now claimed actors should not play characters from less privileged backgrounds, labelling it “working class tourism”.

It comes after Emma Corrin said they would love to star in a “gritty” independent film after playing Princess Diana in The Crown and have an “outrageous accent” and “red hair”.

Jessica is the daughter-in-law of Happy Days’ legend Henry Winkler, known for his character Fonzie, after tying the knot to his screenwriter son Max in 2021.

She does not think posh actors and actresses should venture into the realm of playing working-class characters in shows and films.

Speaking to The Sunday Times’ Culture magazine, she said: “I hate words like gritty or feisty.

“Gritty means working class and feisty means you have an opinion.

“I die inside when I read them.

“I was, like, why are you allowed to talk like this? How is working-class tourism still OK for posh actors,” she added.

Jessica, who now lives in Los Angeles with Max, has played roles including Pea Gibbons in Jerusalem by Jez Butterworth at London’s Royal Court Theatre.

In her role, she was a drunk teen who came out from underneath a caravan worse for wear during the show.

Her Yorkshire background is in stark contrast to Emma, who was born in Royal Tunbridge Wells.

The star was privately educated at Woldingham School, went to Cambridge University and had a father who was a businessman and a speech therapist.

Meanwhile, Jessica discussed what it’s like to now live in sunny California, and admitted it is not too dissimilar to home.

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She previously told NME: “The funniest thing is that Los Angeles doesn’t feel that different to growing up in Leeds.

“A lot of people in LA have grown up here and never left, which feels like Leeds. And it’s definitely a suburb.

“There’s a five-mile radius around West Hollywood, but the rest is where people live really quiet lives. It can be quite boring.”

When she first moved to London to pursue acting in 2009, alone, at the age of 16, she struggled.

She lived all over town – including a stint in somebody’s shed in Richmond – and had more than a few run-ins at local supermarkets.

“I remember I couldn’t change a light bulb, and I went to Sainsbury’s and was like, ‘Hi, is there anybody in here that can change my lightbulb?’ It’s a wonder I didn’t get killed!”

Jessica has done “a lot of therapy” to process that time, which was defined by loneliness.

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