Actress Sarah Solemani is a force to be reckoned with and it is her straight-talking style that has led to leading roles including the hit comedy series Him & Her. We caught up with the cool, cultured and distinctly funny actress at The Blues Kitchen in Camden to talk industry secrets and the importance of denim in her wardrobe.
DONNA IDA: The award winning series Him & Her has become a cult classic. Do you keep in touch with your co-stars?
Sarah Solemani: Yes - Russell Tovey and Kerry Howard are my good friends. I love them dearly and we had such laughs filming the show. Happy memories!
Sarah wears J Brand Leather Leggings
DONNA IDA: What five tips would you give to aspiring actresses?
Sarah Solemani: Work hard and educate yourself on current affairs, not just showbiz.
Don't be scared to leave the country and travel, it's important you see the world.
Speak up in rehearsal or on set - your opinion matters.
Find out what the men are paid and ask for the same.
Don't become so obsessed with being a woman you lose your sense of humour, no one likes a bore.
DONNA IDA: What was the most rewarding moment of your career?
Sarah Solemani: Making my Sky film 'Aphrodite Fry'. I loved being able to choose the director, Vanessa Caswill, who is the only female TV director I've ever worked with and to act in something I'd written. The cast were amazing fun and we shot it all in Brighton which made everyone feel very alive. We would all have a drink in a pub after shooting and it was a great family feel - every creator's dream!
Sarah wears J Brand Nicola Moto Leather Jeans in Pewter
DONNA IDA: Your experience goes beyond acting to script writing, what have you written recently? What inspires you with the creative process?
Sarah Solemani: Kerry Howard and I are writing a sitcom for BBC1 which has an all female cast. We're VERY excited about it. Inspiration comes from the obvious places; reading, listening, watching. But I like to write late into the night, then go straight to sleep without talking to anyone and then write first thing in the morning. That way your dreams become part of the thinking process, and you look at the story or the images from a different, sometimes surreal angle.
DONNA IDA: How important is the staging and costumes to your performance?
Sarah Solemani: They make a big difference, a certain outfit will effect your posture or how you walk, whether you feel protected or exposed, a fabric can make you feel poor or rich, they all help to build the character.
Sarah wears Ravn Coat
DONNA IDA: Tell us about your day to day wardrobe - how do you wear your jeans?
Sarah Solemani: I would describe my style as 'bender chic' . That means I leave the house fairly put together; studded flat boot, a fitted jacket, little leather here, little fur there. But over jeans or a casual shirt so that if I go on a bender, I can pull off the walk of shame with relative ease. Also, I never wear bra or knickers, always a black body. It holds you in but can also double up as a swimming costume or leotard. That way, you are prepared for wherever the night takes you.
DONNA IDA: Which were your very first pair of jeans?
Sarah Solemani: Torn Levis from Camden Stables Market. I discovered a £1 stall with my late mother and she bought me five things - and my nineties wardrobe was born!
Sarah wears Pyrus Kimono
DONNA IDA: Do you prefer high rise jeans or low rise jeans and why?
Sarah Solemani: I like the high rise jeans in theory because I have a small waist so it can be flattering if you tuck a shirt in. BUT sometimes if you've had a big dinner you get that slight bloat which is more discreet with a low. Hmm, it's terribly hard. Depends on how gassy your dinner is.
DONNA IDA: Who is your fashion icon?
Sarah Solemani: Boringly, because everyone says this, it's Kate Moss. But here's the thing: She never looks too fussed though she MUST be. And she never looks too rich, though she DEFINITELY is. Her look suggests she's just arisen from wild sex with a saxophonist, rummaged around the clothes strewn at the bottom of his bed, thrown them on and slipped to the offy for some eggs and vodka. And I saw her wedding dress in the V&A and it was probably the most breathtaking thing I've ever seen in my whole life.
Sarah wears IDA Mabel in Noir
DONNA IDA: Describe your style highs and style lows?
Sarah Solemani: I was a bit annoyed, at the British Comedy Awards last year, that my nine months pregnant red carpet look didn't quite work. In the shop I looked like a shimmering Goddess of Life. But in the photos I looked like a swollen metallic bin bag.
My style high was the RTS Awards. The emerald and green lacquered dress is actually my blokes Grandma's from the 50s and I did my hair and makeup myself. I won for best comedy performance but the real triumph, as any good woman will tell you, was that my outfit really worked and at no cost whatsoever!