I’m A Celeb star Danielle Harold poses in Latex as she reveals how she got her big break thanks to Jamie Oliver | The Sun

SHE may be an NTA winner and one of the UK’s biggest soap stars right now, but Danielle Harold didn’t attend a fancy drama school or have contacts in the industry. 

The 31-year-old actually got her big break as Eastenders' Lola Pearce thanks to television chef Jamie Oliver – and now she's set to appear in one of the nation's most-watched shows, I'm A Celebrity.

Just when she was about to be promoted to catering manager at her 9-5, Danielle was offered a spot on the naked chef’s new TV venture, Jamie’s Dream School.

The show aired in 2011 as a seven-part documentary series following a group of teenagers who all had fewer than five GCSEs.

Jamie Oliver placed them in a school where they would be taught by famous faces who each had a specialist subject.

“Jamie’s Dream School was the perfect opportunity for me,” Danielle says. 

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“It showed me that you can still excel in life, even if you’re not academically smart or have dropped out of mainstream school.

"Jamie Oliver left secondary school with only two GCSEs, and look how amazingly well he’s ended up.

“During filming, we got to go to 10 Downing Street and meet [then-Prime Minister] David Cameron and discuss changing how the school system is run, in order to make it easier for kids like us.”

Although unconventional, appearing on the documentary was Danielle’s ticket into acting. 

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“I ended up on the path into acting from that show,” she says. 

"I got some acting classes with a private coach through the scholarship money I received, which then led me to auditioning for EastEnders.”

Thanks to the show sparking her big break, Danielle now hopes to be a beacon of light for other youngsters wanting to break into the industry.

“That’s why I always tell people who want to break into acting to keep going,” she says.

"If you have the passion and the talent, you’ll get there. 

“You don’t necessarily need to go to a big drama school to do it.”

Danielle always possessed a burning desire to become an actress but felt hopeless when she “fell through the school system”.

Danielle even bunked off her final performance for her drama GCSE after suffering stage fright.

While working in her catering job, she attended open auditions trying to find her big break. 

“I don’t think I ever would have stopped, “ she says.

“Who knows if it might have worked out differently, but I wouldn’t have given up.”

Danielle appeared as Eastenders' Lola between 2011 and 2015, and then again from 2019 to 2023.

Fans were heartbroken when her character passed away in May from a terminal brain tumour in a heartbreaking storyline.

Back in September, The Sun revealed that Danielle was in talks to appear in I'm A Celeb.

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"Danielle is at the height of her career and in demand after her moving storyline on EastEnders, but she’s really caught the eye of ITV bosses to appear in the upcoming series of the jungle," a telly source said.

"As well as being a talented actress with a huge fanbase, Danielle has a fun personality with a wicked sense of humour, which makes her the ideal campmate for the show."

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