4,3,2,1 star Tamsin Egerton reveals how school bullies toughened her up for …
Jun 2 2010 Rick Fulton
Tamsin Egerton Image 1
Don't be fooled by Tamsin Egerton's gorgeous, posh-totty exterior.
The 21-year-old willowy glamazon, best known for her St Trinian's role of Chelsea Parker, reckons she's "tough as old boots" after being bullied as a child.
And she's fed-up of being stereotyped as a "dippy, funny, slutty blonde".
The 5ft 10in actress is determined not to be pigeonholed as a hot chick.
But it's hard not to think of her as that, sat a foot away in a Glasgow hotel.
She's jet-lagged and has only had two hours' sleep but you wouldn't think so.
Wearing a simple Mulberry dress in blue, which shows off her miles of leg, and with her tousled blonde mane framing an exquisite face, it's no wonder Tamsin is being touted as the UK's next big star.
She is the stand-out in Noel Clarke's new diamond heist film 184.108.40.206, which is out today.
And she's hoping the last few years of frustration at being stereotyped because of the two St. Trinian's films will be over.
"I'm in it for the long run," she said firmly. "I'm not a fashion plan."
There's a hint of steel in her plummy accent. And no wonder.
She may have been blessed with a perfect face and body but Tamsin hasn't had it easy. As a child, she was badly bullied and even had teeth knocked out.
The Hampshire girl, who started life as Tamsin Egerton-Dick, began acting at six when her older sister Sophia joined a youth theatre.
Tamsin's potential was instantly recognised and, at 11, she appeared with Anjelica Huston in the 2001 movie The Mists Of Avalon.
A year later she was on the West End stage as Mary in the Royal Shakespeare Company's musical production of The Secret Garden.
But her success made her schoolfriends jealous. She said: "I think going away to do jobs pulled me apart from the group, sectioned me off and made me different.
"When I went back to school, I wanted to be a kid and play Barbies with my mates.
"But they didn't want to do that. They wanted to be mean. My teeth were knocked out when I was blindfolded and someone smashed me into a pole.
"But now I'm tough as old boots. I really don't give a monkey's.
"Bullying is despicable and no one should get away with it. My bullies are all at uni and I'm living my dream."
Tamsin is also turning people's perceptions around. Her early work saw her go topless, aged just 16, in the 2005 comedy Keeping Mum, starring Rowan Atkinson.
She was the object of Harry Potter star Rupert Grint's affections in Driving Lessons before being the leader of the Posh Totty Tribe in the St Trinian's films.
"After the first St Trinian's, I spent six months turning down the same kind of part," she said.
"That meant I didn't work for a year.
"I didn't mind doing it for St Trinian's but not again and again. It became a Catch 22."
Step forward Noel Clarke. The Doctor Who actor has turned into one of the UK's hottest young writer-directors thanks to street-smart films Kidulthood in 2006, Adulthood in 2008 and now 220.127.116.11.
He wrote the script because he had been criticised for the lack of strong female characters in his first two films.
Tamsin had auditioned for Adulthood and although she didn't get the part, Noel was sufficiently impressed to sign her up for 18.104.22.168. She said: "Noel admitted he just assumed that I didn't have that depth, like people do, which is naughty."
The film will turn around Tamsin's career. She starts out as a naive teenager who wants to lose her virginity to the man of her dreams. By the end of the movie, she's a kick-ass girl with attitude.
"I do feel a lot less frustrated now," she admitted. "People are shocked that I have done this."
Tamsin, Emma Roberts, Ophelia Lovibond and Shanika Warren-Markland play four pals who become involved in a diamond robbery.
Her character goes to New York to audition for music college, and to hook up with Brett, a guy she's met on the internet who she wants to lose her virginity to. Was Tamsin as naive? While Tamsin, who lives in London's West Hampstead with three male friends who work in the theatre, won't talk about her personal life, she does confirm she currently has a boyfriend (reportedly Prince Caspian star Ben Barnes).
She dated Andy Jones, a footballer and former Hollyoaks actor, who she met on the set of Keeping Mum.
Two years ago, she was linked with Formula 1 champion Jenson Button.
She admitted: "I've been a naive little girl. I got my first boyfriend at 16 and was with him for a year. I thought I loved him. I've also had my heart broken. I've been severely unhappy for years after my first love and I broke up.
"Now I'm cynical. OK, I'm 21 but at least I know that in a relationship it can be perfect now but three months down the line anything can happen.
"You can build up a relationship for 10 years and in a minute something can be said and it can be over. And that's really scary."
Another thing Tamsin found daunting was her first sex scene, which she had to do for 22.214.171.124.
She said: "It was the most awkward thing I've ever done. In the scene, I pushed the guy and got on him really quickly.
"But Noel asked me if I could stand back, saying he needed a shot of my face with me looking at the guy longingly.
"I was covered, but not a lot. My character Cassandra is really straitlaced.
"She's very innocent. And she's a dreamer. She's romantic.
"I think I have this incredible romance and I'm going to lose my virginity on a bed of rose petals with champagne in New York. But it doesn't go to plan.
"And so my story really is facing the difficulties that come my way, especially with men. I grow a bit of balls, I suppose, in a figurative sense."
She's since done another sex scene in the recent BBC2 adaptation of Martin Amis's Money with Shaun of the Dead star Nick Frost. And this time it was easier.
"Half way through, Nick was talking about a chocolate owl he wanted from the canteen," laughed Tamsin. "He was funny.
"It was easier to do because I'd done it before. I was meant to be naked but I didn't think it was necessary. It was necessary for 126.96.36.199 because it's awkward. My character is doing it for the first time and we needed to feel comfortable.
"In Money, I was on top of him and didn't need to get them out for that. So I just put on sexy lingerie."
fans of St Trinian's have copied Tamsin mime for "Oh" (clasps mouth) "my" (clasps chest) "God" (clasps hands in prayer). It's done in playgrounds around the country.
And 188.8.131.52 has given her another catchphrase, this time for the Sex And The City generation – "You took my virginity and then you took my shopping".
While the other girls were left in London, Tamsin spent some time filming in New York, although she admits it wasn't very glamorous. There is also another great moment on a plane with Clerks director Kevin Smith in a very funny cameo.
She said: "It was all night shoots so I slept all day. But it's still exciting to do something like that and Kevin was amazing."
But it's clear Tamsin is very good at and comfortable with comedy. She's just finished Chalet Girl, which also stars Bill Nighy. But she's looking forward to doing roles that require her to cry a lot.
She's taking "baby steps" to find a role like Charlize Theron's Oscar-winning transformation in Monster.
And while St Trinian's may have limited her roles for a couple of years, she would still go back for another term.
"I'd love to do another one," she said. "I'd hate to think that's it.
"St Trinian's 2: The Legend Of Fritton's Gold was one of the best experiences of my life. But I'm getting older."
184.108.40.206. is released tonight in cinemas nationwide.
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