Date of Birth: September 9, 1968
Julia Sawalha is a preposterous human being. A walking contradiction. As Jennifer Saunders once put it, "She is the person most likely to do the exact opposite of what everybody expects."
The London, England native, first made her mark in the Channel 4 children's series Press Gang, where her on-screen kiss with co-star Dexter Fletcher led to a four-year off-screen romance. The show was a hit and went on for five years. After winning the BAFTA award for her role on the show, it was evident that she had a talent that would not easily fade into the limelight.
The youngest of three sisters, Sawalha was a gene pool built for success. Her mother was a dancer, while her sisters Dina became an artist, and Nadia, an actress. Her father, Nadim is a well known stage, television and film actor. Sawalha looked up to her father and has always been close to him.
Sawalha made her debut screen bow in 1990 with a small part in Buddy's Song. But she would not gain nation wide interest until 1992 when she played, Saffron, the down to earth daughter to her spaced out mum in Absolutely Fabulous.
Like Press Gang, the show became a national success overnight. But Sawalha had little time to celebrate her new stardom. "For 11 months I was doing AbFab, Chuzzlewit, Faith in the Future, Pride and Prejudice, In the Bleak Midwinter and Lovejoy, going from one character to the next. I know it's a cliché, but I didn't know who I was any more."
Success seems to follow Sawalha whereever she goes and soon after Absolutely Fabulous was introduced overseas, the American audiences got another taste of her dynamic chameleon abilities with the release of Pride and Prejudice (1994). This time, Sawalha played a silly, giggling, flirtatious, care-free girl who gets herself in a world of trouble, and never really knows it. The mini-series struck gold with viewers everywhere, and was showered with awards.
Sawalha has continued working on film and television. Lately she has been lending her voice to films like The Wind in the Willows (1996) and Chicken Run (2000) with Mel Gibson.
Unfortunately, Sawalha has found the celebrity lifestyle a lonely one. "You probably won't believe me, but I never get chatted up anymore. The more famous you become, the less men approach you. They think you're unobtainable, or uninterested in the average guy because you're such a success."
Chicken Run (2000) (voice)
Venus and Mars (2000)
Comic Relief: Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death (1999)
The Wind in the Willows (1996)
In the Bleak Midwinter (1995)
Buddy's Song (1990)