Life

TV Quickfire: Samia Longchambon on Coronation Street and coping with anxiety

Samia Longchambon (35) is chuffed her latest storyline on Coronation Street isn't about her character's love life. The actress chats to Georgia Humphreys about what's next for hairdresser Maria, the anxiety she suffers off-screen – and the cleanliness of her fellow cast members' feet

Samia Longchambon, right, as Maria Connor, and Sue Nicholls as Audrey Roberts in Coronation Street

MARIA HAS BEEN SETTING UP HER OWN SALON BEHIND AUDREY'S BACK. DO YOU LIKE GETTING TO SHOW HER NAUGHTY SIDE?

It's really nice to have a storyline that's not involving a man. I'm not in the middle of a love triangle, and it's just been me and Sue [Nicholls, who plays Audrey] and now Rula [Lenska, who plays Claudia] and just lots of nice salon stuff. It's been nice seeing a different side to Maria, one that's not just focused on men.

AND WE HEAR CLAUDIA IS NOW GOING TO TRY AND POACH MARIA FROM AUDREY...

I think Maria really wants to go for it, because by that point it's got so sour with Audrey. Audrey's chucking her out of the flat and everything. But then, just as Claudia offers Maria the chance to franchise the salon, Audrey comes in the Rovers and says, 'I've been a bit harsh on you, I admit it. You don't have to move out of the flat', and just as she says that, Claudia comes in and says, 'Ooh, we're going into business together!' So it's one step forward, and two steps back!

MARIA HAS WORKED FOR AUDREY FOR A LONG TIME. DOES SHE FEEL GUILTY ABOUT GOING OFF ON HER OWN?

She does, yeah. But then actually, she makes a point to Audrey, 'I did want to invest with you, and make more of myself. I've got Liam to think about'. She's at a time in her life where she wants to do a bit more than what she's doing, and Audrey's stopping her really. So she says to Audrey, 'I can't keep being held back, I'm not doing anything wrong.' It's just a bit of ambition that's kicked in.

DO YOU HAVE ANY AMBITION TO TRY SOMETHING OTHER THAN CORRIE?

Yeah! I do. But not necessarily different shows. At the moment, I'm actually doing a reflexology course, just for something different to focus on.

DO YOU KNOW ALL YOUR CASTMATES' FEET REALLY WELL THEN?

I'm about to. I'm halfway through the course and they all keep offering to be guinea pigs for me. But yeah, I have to make sure they've all got clean feet before I start poking round.

WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO DO REFLEXOLOGY?

I've always been interested in reflexology and holistic therapies. I did a baby reflexology course when Yves [her son] was tiny, and I had a bit of reflexology when I was pregnant and it helped. It just helps you relax and it helps with anxiety and things like that, so that's why I've been doing it.

YOU'VE SPOKEN OUT ABOUT YOUR STRUGGLE WITH ANXIETY RECENTLY. WHAT WAS THE REACTION LIKE FROM FANS?

Amazing. I didn't have one negative reaction. I was really nervous about speaking about it because you don't know what people will think of you or what kind of reaction you'll get. But everyone was so supportive, and a lot of people have been messaging me on the social media platforms. It's been really humbling and actually, it feels quite liberating to go, 'Yeah, you know, life's not perfect all the time'.

WHAT DO YOU FIND HELPS YOU COPE WITH YOUR ANXIETY?

I've always had it – since I was a kid. Meditation can help; I just do guided ones on YouTube, sometimes, if I'm feeling a bit anxious or stressed. And talking as well – I think a lot of people are talking more now, which is important. But something like this reflexology course has been helping me as well, having something else to focus on rather than over-thinking. I always do that.

:: Watch Coronation Street weeknights on ITV.

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