If you've watched Bridget Jones's BabyBridget Jones's Baby (and if not, why not?) you'll doubtless have been immediately won over by Sarah Solemani and her on-screen alter-ego, Miranda, our heroine's younger, bolshier and wilder colleague
There's plenty more to Sarah, though, than one winning rom-com role. With a clutch of cult-favourite comedies and critically lauded writing gigs on her CV, her star is set to rise and rise. Here's everything you need to know about one of British comedy's best young talents.
How old is Sarah Solemani?
Sarah was born in Camden, London on September 4 1982, meaning that she’s just turned 34. She told the Jewish ChronicleJewish Chronicle, ‘I remember going to plays when I was a child and thinking “I bet I could do that.” I joined the National Youth Theatre and had an agent by the time I was 16 so I never thought about jobs.’
That's not to say, though, that the actress has had an easy ride. She has since spoken about how her NYT acceptance letter arrived just after her mother died of cancer, telling The IndependentThe Independent, 'It sounds trite but I was struggling and young and it was light in this incredibly bleak period.'
Sarah's early career
After making her West End debut in The Graduate during her gap year, Sarah went on to study Social and Political Sciences at Cambridge, where she joined the Footlights - the student comedy group that has acted as a talent incubator for names like Stephen Fry, Peep Show's David Mitchell, and her future Bridget Jones's Baby co-star Emma Thompson. With contemporaries including Downton's Dan Stevens and future Inbetweeners Simon Bird and Joe Thomas, she went on to become the club's vice president: no mean feat considering, as she later told The IndependentThe Independent, she 'was always the only girl.'
While still studying for her degree, she landed a role as a showgirl in Brit comedy Mrs Henderson Presents (which, FYI, also marked Will Young's big screen debut...), then went on to secure a handful of parts in TV and theatre productions.
Sarah Solemani in Him & Her
Her big break, though, came in 2010 with BBC3 sitcom Him & Her, written by her Footlights contemporary, Stefan Golaszewski. An under-stated anti-romcom set almost entirely in a less-than-glamorous Walthamstow flat (read: bedroom), it focuses on the day-to-day mundanities of a twenty-something couple, Becky (Solemani) and her fiancé Steve (played by Russell Tovey). Think Gavin & Stacey but with fewer heart-warming set pieces and more gross-out gags: as Sarah put it in an interview with Radio TimesRadio Times, 'they're rough around the edges: unemployed, no money, filthy habits [...] It's definitely not a feel-good romp; it's done in a very unique, very British, very dark way.'
The show went on to run for four seasons, and won Sarah a Royal Television Society award for Best Comedy Actress (as well as a TV BAFTA for Best Comedy). Missed out so far? It's all available to stream on Netflix now.
Sarah Solemani in Bad Education
Admit it – you probably recognised Sarah from her role in another BBC3 comedy - Jack Whitehall’s Bad Education (and the spin-off film...) For three series, she played long-suffering biology teacher (and sometime Whitehall love interest) Ms. Gulliver, joining a cast of British comedy royalty including Gavin and Stacey's Mathew Horne, Green Wing's Michelle Gomez and Harry Enfield.
Sarah Solemani in Bridget Jones's Baby
Sarah's biggest film role to date came playing Miranda in this year's much-anticipated Bridget Jones 'threequel', Bridget Jones's Baby. A thirty-something presenter on Bridget's TV show, Miranda is our heroine's new partner in crime, stepping in as old friends Shazza and Jude drop off the radar thanks to baby-sitting duties. As Sarah told Grazia, her character 'loves to have a good old time and she makes sure that Bridget has fun - putting her on Tinder, taking her to musical festivals... They generally have a riot together.'
'Like most women, you grow up feeling like Bridget is your best friend, so it wasn’t a stretch to play it in the film,' she added. 'I’m a huge fan, which made the audition very nerve wracking, because I felt very connected to the whole world of it.' Watch our full interview with SarahWatch our full interview with Sarah.
Is Sarah Solemani married?
Unlike her Tinder-loving Bridget Jones character, Sarah herself has been married to financier Daniel Ingram since June 2012, when they tied the knot in a ceremony in Petach Tikvah, Israel. The pair tend to keep their relationship out of the spotlight, although Sarah has previously been photographed attended premieres and events with her husband.
The couple have a daughter, Soraya, who was born in December 2013. In a recent interview with The Guardian, she revealed that fellow female actors advised her ‘not to tell a soul’ about her pregnancy. ‘I hid it,’ she explained. ‘Every shoot I did, and psychologically I never stopped.’
Sarah Solemani's wedding
Describing the wedding to the Jewish ChronicleJewish Chronicle, Sarah said, ‘We had about 400 guests and most of them had never been to Israel. We were unsure about what they thought of the place so we wanted to put on a big party – an event over four nights. It sometimes feels like we put a village together.’
Sarah Solemani on the Harvey Weinstein revelations
In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault allegations, Sarah wrote a Guardian article unpicking the 'toxic' atmosphere which women face in the film and television industries.
In the piece, she recalls an uncomfortable experience as a 19-year-old, when an older male director asked her to take her clothes off to gauge whether she was 'comfortable' with nudity.
'The Weinstein scandal puts us at a crossroads. The wicked witch is dead, the wizard is a lie, and we have to celebrate that victory at least,' she wrote. 'But where to go from here?'
Sarah's writing projects
Not content with being a Cambridge grad, award-winning actress and all-round excellent person, Sarah's also a talented writer. She's had several of her scripts performed in London's West End, while her TV projects include one-off comedy drama Aphrodite Fry, which garnered comparisons to Lena Dunham's Girls, and a standalone episode of the BBC drama series The Secrets, titled The Conversation (she starred in both pieces). She has recently relocated to Los Angeles in order to work on HBO show Barry with Bill Hader. Speaking to the Jewish ChronicleJewish Chronicle about her project, she revealed: 'It’s a completely different experience to what I’m used to, sitting around on my own at a computer. This is a group of seven writers, seven hilarious, brilliant brains to help solve problems and come up with ideas. And seven people to convince your idea is a good one.' Watch this space...
What's Sarah's next TV show?
Last summer, it was announced that Sarah will star alongside Brett Goldstein in The Pact, a comedy pilot for BBC Two that focuses on two teenage friends who end up getting together 20 years down the line. Other than that, her next project in the pipeline is Wild Honey Pie, where she'll appear alongside Girls actress Jemima Kirke and The Thick of It's Joanna Scanlan.
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