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Rebecca Grant

July 2014

IT was the breakdown of their parents’ marriage that was the catalyst for the three Grant sisters to go into showbusiness.

So says Rebecca, 32, the youngest of the three.

“They split up when I was one. My mum had a choice of either being really upset about it or investing that energy into the arts.

“She’d take us to the Morrison School of Dance in Hyson Green and I think that was very fulfilling for her. She also became involved with costume making for the school, which she still does now.”

Model and actress Rachel, who starred alongside Pierce Brosnan as a Bond Girl in Die Another Day, now lives in New York, while eldest sister Angela runs a dance school in London.

Rebecca now lives in North London with husband Ivan Pierson, who works in publishing. Their wedding in 2009 was covered by OK! Magazine.

“We got married in a place called Ham, which is near Sandwich, would you believe,” she laughs.

The Morrison School of Dance was the beginning of Rebecca’s life on stage and screen, that over the past 30 years has included Andrew Lloyd Webber’s West End show Bollywood Dreams, a play with Christian Slater, a role alongside Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman in the film The Other Boleyn Girl, plus TV roles in Emmerdale, Prisoners’ Wives and Holby City.

“I think my dancing lessons at the Morrison School of Dancing were so magical, it was like stepping into a fairytale book. That’s where I started.

“And I don’t think I’ve ever properly left; I always pop in to see Miss Morrison and her pupils. She was such an inspirational teacher and she brought out a feeling and passion for dance.”

Mum is Isabel Grant, who still lives in Mapperley where the sisters grew up. She moved from the Philippines in her early 20s.

“Mum was in labour for 24 hours with me,” grimaces Rebecca, who plans to have children in the next few years.

“She says that whenever I heard music I used to dance in my cot. Well, not dance, more like wriggle.”

Dad, who she has remained close to despite the separation, is a GP. And it is through his family that Rebecca has a connection to the future king.

“It’s true – we are the fourth cousins of William and Harry. We always knew about it growing up because my dad used to talk about it.

“My grandfather’s mother was Ernestine Bowes Lyon, the first cousin of the Queen Mother. I was very intrigued with the story of how she met my great-grandfather.

“She was already married and had two sons in Scotland until she fell in love with my grandfather [Ronald Grant, Baron de Longueuil] and eloped with him. She shot herself in the heart and recovered and lived until she was 96.”

The Grant sisters went to Hollygirt, the independent girls’ school, where she picked up ten GCSEs, including four A*s.

Rebecca then studied performing arts at Clarendon College.

“I’d heard that Samantha Morton had gone there and I really admired her. I loved the two years I was there.

“At the same time I was in shows at the Co-op Arts Theatre, which I’d been doing for years as a dancer and actor.

“And I was in a play at the Playhouse with Helena Bonham-Carter when I was 11.

“I thought she was very beautiful. She had this bed backstage which she used to lay on and look at the ceiling. I found that intriguing. She’s beautifully eccentric and is one of my idols.

“After Clarendon College I wanted to go to Rada but couldn’t really afford it.

“I was doing a lot of dancing jobs, and eventually got a role as a flamenco dancer in Carmen at the Royal Albert Hall.

“I did a few short films, including one in the Philippines which I won an award for. It was English-speaking but I had to do a Filipino accent,” she says, adding that it is something she can do quite easily as her mum’s partner is Filipino, so it’s the language she hears when she’s visiting them in Nottingham.

Her break came after numerous auditions for West End shows, when she landed a role in the musical Bombay Dreams as one of the principal dancers.

“I had the ambition to appear in the West End before I was 20. I was 19.

“We did a lot of TV shows, including the Royal Variety Show, The Generation Game and Michael Barrymore’s My Kind Of People.”

In her second year with the Lloyd Webber musical, Rebecca got a bigger part, found herself an agent, then ended up starring alongside Christian Slater in the play One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.

“He was really lovely. I seriously can’t fault him. I played a nurse; a Filipino nurse.”

The theme continued for the role she is most recognised for – Filipino nurse Daisha Anderson in Holby City.

“On the first day I snogged a patient,” she laughs. “I got pregnant, was going to have an abortion, then I didn’t, I gave birth in a lift, was going to give the baby up for adoption, then I didn’t... then I got shot.

“It was lots of fun. Robert Powell is still a friend, Patsy Kensit was so sweet and funny and Adrian Edmondson really made me laugh.”

She was in Holby City for two years, after which, and in between stage shows, Rebecca reappeared on TV in Emmerdale and Prisoners’ Wives. Her biggest film role was in The Other Boleyn Girl with Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman and Eric Bana.

“I was playing a dancer, and you see me quite a bit,” she says.

Rebecca is currently appearing in Around The World In 80 Days, which has just transferred from the New Vic in Stoke-on-Trent to Manchester’s Royal Exchange.

“I play an Indian princess who gets rescued by Phileas Fogg. And we’ve been getting some great reviews so hopefully it will continue around the country.”

For more about Rebecca visit her website

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