herald

Sunday 20 April 2014

This could be the last time I play Jojo says Charlene as LA beckons

She is one of Ireland's leading actresses, but Charlene McKenna says that the downside to success can be the pressure to succeed.

Charlene will return to our screens for the fifth series of RTE's Raw tomorrow.

But the 27-year-old Monaghan actress, who plays feisty waitress Jojo in the kitchen drama, has hinted that her time on the show may be coming to an end.

"I love working on Raw," the petite brunette said. "But I don't know if I'll be back next year.

"I wouldn't necessarily say it's my last series. I could go back at some stage," she said.

Charlene has been making waves across the water on gritty new BBC drama Ripper Street, which is based around the infamous Jack the Ripper murders.

With a leading role in the flagship period drama, a role in the next series of Channel 4's Skins and several projects in the pipeline, Charlene should be jumping for joy.

But the bigger the roles get, the more pressure the young actress says she feels.

"People expect a lot of things of you," Charlene said. "But that's part of the job".

Next month, Charlene will head to LA for the pilot season, hoping this might be her chance to break into the lucrative US scene.

"A lot of actors go, but it is really exciting and Ripper Street is going prime-time in America, so it's a natural step to take."

Charlene says hanging out with fellow Irish actors helps her de-stress during the frantic few weeks.

"There's always an exodus of Irish actors for the pilot season. So that's nice because it can be a lonely. There's a great Irish community and a sense of people having each other's back."

"We Irish actors are in it together and anybody can break lucky at any minute, so you just have to try your best," she said.

Charlene will take the opportunity to hang out with former Love/Hate actress Ruth Bradley while in LA.

Although Charlene is excited about the opportunity to try out for US roles, she has ruled out a full-time move to Los Angeles, especially with a second series of Ripper Street in the pipeline.

"I'm not moving to Hollywood," she said. "I really like living in London; it's a great place."

The fifth season of Raw will see Jojo play the part of the blushing bride, a development that surprised even Charlene.



paradise

"Jojo comes back married, which is quite shocking," Charlene said. "It was a lot of fun to see her happy and in love."

However the actress hinted that there may be trouble in paradise for the unlucky-in-love chef.

"It was a lot of fun filming as always and watching Jojo's married life unravel is always interesting," she added.

hnews@herald.ie

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