What is your earliest memory?
I remember when I was about five years old, making my younger brother dress up as a horse, using my dad’s belt and he would say gidiup gidiup. We would laugh and run around our house in Leigh for hours.
Where is your favourite place in Essex, and why?
I love taking walks on the beach in Leigh. I also love Rollacity when I am in the mood to roller skate!
Are you often in the mood to roller skate then?!
Always! When I’m down here that’s what I do. I’ve properly roller skated from when I was a kid. When I was 14, I used to roller skate everywhere – all down the seafront – and every time I’m back down here I do! It’s great here. You’ve got this roller skating rink right on your doorstep in Rochford. And now you’ve got the trampolining open next door, so it’s perfect.I go and see my dad and then I go roller skating and then trampolining!What is your favourite Essex story or memory?
I used to enjoy going to Leigh library reading about ghost stories in the area. There were always rumours when I was a child about a witch being buried in the graveyard in Leigh – so I was always trying to find out about that. I just used to find it fascinating.
When are you at your happiest?
When I am in a health spa. How can you not be?
What are you working on now?
The Habit of Beauty, which is due for release in June and some other film projects which I can’t talk about just yet. Also the film Cardboard Gangsters which has been selected for Newport Beach Film Festival in LA later this month. It won three awards at Manchester Film Festival a month back and it’s released in Ireland on May 5.
How did you get into acting?
It wasn’t easy getting a break. But I did all my first acting lessons round here. Elizabeth Slater I started with at the age of seven. I’m sure she’s still a teacher now. I was with her for years. And then I went to Focus drama school, And for a short time I did Saturday workshops at the Palace Theatre. I did all the festivals around here. Leigh Festival. Southend Festival. Then when I was 21 I went to Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, in New York, for three years.
What is your secret vice?
Shopping. I do spend too much on food shopping. It’s more than I should for one person! It’s ridiculous. I go in for a little bit and I come out with all this stuff. But I also love clothes shopping. I’m torn between which of those is my vice. They both are!
What are you most proud of?
I am both proud and humbled by being a Bafta nominee, [for best actress in It’s A Free World in 2008] alongside some amazing women.
What is something people might not know about you?
I take a hot water bottle to bed.
If you could only live in one place in Essex where would it be?
Buckhurst Hill. You’re on the central line. You’re three stops away from Westfield. And you’ve also got the forest around you, You haven’t got the beach like in Leigh, but the connections are great. I live in East London now, but my dad still lives in Leigh so I’m always back and forth, I’m always down here.
Who do you most admire and why?
It has to be my dad, he is shrewd and always on the ball. He is also quick witted and fun.
What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
Don’t judge a book by its cover. It’s a famous saying that I heard when I was a child and it’s true. Well all of those kind of sayings are true aren’t they? I like all those old sayings, I think a lot of people do. There’s so many of them. But that’s my favourite one.
What is the best life lesson each of your parents ever taught you?
My dad taught me to be sensible with money and invest it. My mother taught me to always have respect for myself. She also said to make my own money because times have changed. Don’t rely on any man.
Where do you imagine your life will be in 10 years?
It would be nice to finally have a balance in life, of career, life and love.
Kierston’s make-up was done by Rebeccca Ryther Make-up in Leigh-on-Sea: rebeccaryther.co.uk
This interview was first published in the Echo newspaper on Thursday, April 6: www.echo-news.co.uk