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For those of us who have already binge-watched season two of The Crown on Netflix (10 one hour episodes in a single sitting really isn’t that hard, guys), Yolanda Kettle’s face is undoubtedly still a standout. The 29-year-old actress is the latest star to hit our computer screens in the critically acclaimed drama with her performance as Camilla Fry, and this is certainly not the last we’ll be seeing of her.
Originally earning her stripes on stage, Kettle is now about to become one of your top faves of the small screen; having already wowed on the aforementioned The Crown, she’s set to impress with a role in BBC’s four-part adaptation of Howard’s End, and a part in the second season of the brilliant Marcella.
Destined to propel her into the spotlight, where she rightly belongs, we caught up with the new face set to rule the acting world to find out exactly how it all feels.
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Do you want to start with how you first got into acting?
I think I always knew as a kid that I wanted to act – I loved it! I did school plays, and I joined a Youth Theatre in Birmingham and then I did National Youth Theatre as well. I then went to drama school, I never really considered university, drama school was always going to be what I was going to do.
That’s rare! Not many people stick to their childhood career choices.
I know! It’s unusual and people say to me “you’re so lucky that you always knew what you wanted to do” and I guess I am in that sense! Other people I know have no idea what they want to do. I think, because we’re told that we have to get a job really quickly, people end up just falling into careers that they might not necessarily want to do.
Totally. So you’re in the new series of The Crown, which obviously has a huge fan following. How did you find that?
I loved doing it! It was so much fun. It’s just unbelievable, the scale of the production values — it’s unparalleled, it’s second to none. And the costumes, the attention to detail is amazing. And everyone is so lovely!
It’s the most expensive show on Netflix, right?
I don’t actually know all the facts and figures, but I do know that they’re very ambitious and their high production values mean that they secure amazing locations and all the costumes – they make a lot of them from scratch, so you’re just wearing all these beautiful things that have been fitted for you. It’s amazing.
And Olivia Colman is going to be taking the reign next season!
I know – so cool! She’s going to be amazing.
You’ve done both stage and screen, which do you prefer?
I think I fell in love with theatre and that will always feel like home to me. I love acting on camera but I love the liveness of having an audience there, I get a real buzz from that. I guess if you had to make me choose, I’d say theatre is what I originally got into acting for.
What would your dream theatre role be?
There’s so many, it’s really hard! To be honest, I’d love to do a new play, playing an amazing role with new writing, that’s what I’m really interested in at the moment, new writing.
Is the way that you prepare for a stage role different to how you’d prepare for a role on-screen?
Yeah, it’s really different. With theatre you have, like, four to 12 weeks of rehearsal, so you’re doing all of that with the other actors and you’re practising scenes everyday, so I sort of learn the lines as I go along with theatre, whereas with the screen stuff it’s slightly different because you don’t get the luxury of rehearsal time, so you have to just do all the prep work yourself, thinking about the character’s background and that kind of thing. You will get a chance to talk to the director and hopefully meet the other actors before you start, but sometimes there’s just no time for that.
I’m guessing you build up more chemistry with your co-stars when you’re doing stage work?
It really varies. You can’t really define chemistry. Sometimes it might just be that you suddenly meet someone and there’s this amazing chemistry between the two of you and sometimes there isn’t. It’s kind of your job to try and generate that as best you can.
We now have so many amazing TV productions and amazing series’ on platforms like Netflix. With that in mind, why do you think theatre remains so popular?
It’s 3D and it’s not on your screen, so there’s something about seeing live people, and also theatre is so special because that performance will only happen on that night when you go, the performance might be completely different the next night, something might change, and so I think that’s what’s really special about it. I think that theatre is really changing for the better now, we are really channeling new writing, female writers, black playwrights, people from all different ethnicities and background and that is hugely important.
So, looking at the work that you’ve done across different mediums, what would you say are the key lessons that you’ve learned?
I think to be nice and generous, be on time, don’t let other people down, just basic things. Don’t be a dick! And obviously learn your lines.
And one piece of advice that someone has said to you that’s stuck in your mind?
When I was starting and finding it a bit difficult, my brother sent me this really sweet thing in the post. He’s not particularly sentimental and it was a football quote because he’s really into football and it just said “if you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else?” and I do think, as clichéd as obvious that might sound, it’s easy to forget that sometimes and I think that’s hugely important, especially in this profession that is so unstable.
In terms of the projects you have coming up next year, Marcella – what can you tell us about that?
I felt so lucky and happy to be joining that amazing cast and series. I loved the first series and I think Anna [Friel] is just so talented on-screen. I play a new character who is going out with Jason, who is Marcella’s ex-husband.
So does that make you the antagonist?
A little bit, but my character is very lovely. She’s really rational and really reasonable and very kind, so she doesn’t really know what she’s let herself in for! It’s out spring next year…
Nice. And so finally, dream achievements moving forward?
I really want to keep expanding the work that I’m doing, particularly on-screen. As I said, I want to be doing new writing in theatre. I want to engage young people to come and see the theatre more. I want to be the best human being as far as I can, and doing more volunteering or helping people more and trying to get more clued up about the world really because I feel like we really need to look after it right now and society. The women’s movement is really important for me so I’d like to get more involved in that in the future.