This week, ex-EastEnders actress Katie Jarvis was ‘outed’ as having taken a job as a security guard at a B&M Bargains store. After accusing the tabloids who broke the story as ‘job-shaming’, a host of Katie’s fellow actors have come to her defence by sharing the ‘ordinary’ jobs they’ve taken on when the acting work has dried up.
Whilst we may think of soap stars and other actors living glamorous lives well apart from the rest of us, the reality is that they’re human beings like anyone else and when their contracts are up there aren’t always new acting jobs for them to move straight into.
This was the case for Katie Jarvis, who played Hayley Slater on EastEnders from February 2018 to February 2019. After being at the centre of some huge plots involving Alfie Moon’s return and departure, her own struggles with alcohol and mental health and the birth of her baby Cherry, Hayley left Albert Square after running away from a psychiatric hospital.
Whilst 28-year-old Katie has also starred in Palme d’Or-nominated film Fish Tank, she has ‘taken a step back from acting’ since leaving the BBC soap earlier this year. As a mum-of-two, the actress has taken on a job as a security guard at a B&M Bargains store but was blindsided when she woke up to see photos of herself at work splashed across tabloids this week.
She appeared on The Victoria Derbyshire Show to express how she felt about the story, saying: ‘The way the story was portrayed wasn’t very nice. It was quite nasty – to be made to feel degraded is wrong. Security guards put themselves at risk, there’s a lot goes into it – I joined my sister there as she does the same job. I feel I need to stand up for working class people.’
Katie also received an outpouring of support on Twitter from fellow soap actors and actresses who have been through similar periods of working in other industries to make a living – including Hollyoaks’ Bronagh Waugh and Zoe Lister, EastEnders’ Aaron Sidwell and Corrie’s Charlie Condou.
Take a look at the video above to see what these former soap stars had to say about working ‘ordinary’ jobs…