Paige Sandhu has been at the heart of one of 2021's most gripping soap storylines.
As Emmerdale's murderous Meena she has killed off Andrea Tate (Anna Nightingale), Leanna Cavanagh (Mimi Slinger), and most recently Ben Tucker (Simon Lennon). But Paige says that all that is 'small fry' compared to what is around the corner for Meena.
And in real life Paige, who starred in Doctors and Endeavour before being cast in her role on the Dales, is worlds away from her on screen counterpart and insists she's had the time of her life playing the crazy character. She tells OK!: "It’s been crazy, but I love playing Meena."
The star also reveals that she manifested her hugely successful year.
"At the start of 2021, on New Year’s Eve, I told myself this would be the best year of my life, and it has been. I’ve had such a great time," she said during our exclusive interview.
And though she's clearly loving being at the centre of such a spectacular storyline, Paige admits it can be overwhelming, particularly as she started on the show during the pandemic when all of the actors were working very separately.
"I must admit, when I see fans waiting outside the studio, I do get a bit nervous," she says. "It’s a completely new experience because I’ve been working through Covid and not really had to deal with that kind of thing."
But the actress says she's determined to enjoy that side of things, explaining: "I’d rather embrace it than shy away."
Another reason why Paige may struggle to deal with the fame that playing Meena has brought is that she suffers from anxiety.
She explains: "I felt a little bit anxious recently over nothing that I could put my finger on, so I did some yoga and meditation and it made me feel like a different person.
"As long as you take care of yourself, anxiety won’t feel as overwhelming. That’s what my experience has taught me."
She adds that looking after her "diet and sleep'"also really aided her mental health, telling us: "I truly believe that as long as you focus on the positives, and choose to see challenges as things that are happening for you, things continue to get better."
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