But she almost didn’t make it in the industry at all, as she revealed to Town & Country.
Opening up about her struggles, she said: “I was so close to not being a working actress. I had a hard time.
“It’s such a painful experience, wanting to act and not doing it, and trying to figure out how to get in there.”
And she almost fluffed her audition as well, admitting: “I went to audition, and because it was so top-secret, I didn’t get the script before I arrived.
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“I thought I’d probably have one line, but I had five scenes. I was reading them, going, ‘My God, this is a proper part! Why are they seeing me for it?’
“On my first day, I think Jim (Carter) saw I was like a rabbit in the headlights – I had to come in, speak, and serve myself some breakfast, which seemed utterly terrifying – and he said, ‘Why don’t you come over here, lovey, and I’ll help you?'”
Things worked out for her in the end though, as she’s not only enjoyed a successful acting career, but she also met her partner Michael C Fox on the show, where he played Andrew Parker.
“When you are able to work, and love it, it is such a joy,” she added. “And I’ve fallen in love and made wonderful friends – how lucky am I?”
Downton Abbey will be released on September 13 in the UK and on September 20 in the US.