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The Transformation Of Jenna Coleman From Childhood To Doctor Who

Jenna Coleman is a beloved English actress and model, most well-known for her role in the classic BBC One science fiction series "Doctor Who." Before she became known as the Doctor's companion, however, she had parts in everything from soap operas to TV miniseries.

In an interview with Harper's Bazaar, Coleman revealed that she'd always known she wanted to act. "I don't know how or why, I don't know what happened. I think my head was always in books and stories. I just remember one day hearing the word actress and just being like, 'Yeah, that's it.' It felt like that's what I was supposed to do." She's since gone on to win a Golden Nymph Award, a TV Times Award, and a Logie Award — among a long list of other wins and nominations — for her impressive performances.

Here's a look at Coleman's transformative career, from childhood to her most famous role.

Jenna Coleman got her start in a soap opera

Coleman was 19 when she landed her first role in the long-running British soap opera "Emmerdale Farm." She played Jasmine Thomas, a rebellious teen with a penchant for controversial sexual affairs, and went on to appear in 180 episodes. In an interview with the Sunday Mail, Coleman explained how she got the part, explaining "I've always wanted to act and it was my plan to go to drama school after finishing my A-Levels but the audition for 'Emmerdale' came along, I went for it and I got the job. It was a big decision but I put drama school on the back burner to join the show. I might go back at some point but for now I just thank my lucky stars I've started off in this industry with such a fantastic break."

Though Coleman never returned to school, her first role earned her plenty of accolades to kickstart her career. She received several award nominations during her time on "Emmerdale Farm," including The British Soap Awards nominations for Best Newcomer and Best Dramatic Performance.

She was in several BBC projects

Following her success on "Emmerdale Farm," Coleman was cast in the BBC drama series "Waterloo Road," where she played a high school student named Lindsey James. Since Coleman was 23 at the time of her casting, she confessed that it felt surreal to be back in a school setting while on set. Nonetheless, she fell in love with her character right away, saying, "She's completely different to Jasmine Thomas, my "Emmerdale" character. She's a hard nut to crack and a tormented soul, whereas Jasmine wore her heart on her sleeve and just cried all the time! I loved the character straight away" (via Digital Spy).

In 2010, Coleman was set to play the role of Susan Brown, the rich daughter of a business magnate, in the BBC Four's TV miniseries "Room at the Top," which was based on John Braine's novel. She shared her desire to play characters that are as unlike her as possible, telling The Guardian "I don't really enjoy playing myself at all. I love anything that feels more removed from myself. I have a lot more freedom ... But using my own voice and being me? I feel self-conscious." The role of the rich heiress was far removed from her previous roles as troubled teens, which she purposefully did to avoid being typecast.

2011 was a big year for Jenna Coleman

In 2011, Coleman played a stewardess named Annie Desmond in the "Titanic" miniseries. The Guardian revealed that she described her character as "the cheeky little cockney" as well as "the Eliza Doolittle of the ship." Her role in the drama gained Stephen Poliakoff's attention, and he cast her in his drama series "Dancing on the Edge" shortly after.

That same year, Coleman had a brief role in the movie "Captain America: The First Avenger" as Connie, Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan)'s date. She spoke with Collider about her experience on set, and whether or not she knew the Marvel Cinematic Universe would become such a huge franchise. "No, I had no idea," she said. "I just knew that it was so great, as an actor, because I could see the huge setups and the green screen. It was just a great experience to be able to watch. I had no idea." Though her time in the MCU was brief, it marked Coleman's feature film debut.

Coleman made her mark on Doctor Who

Keeping with the historically private audition process of "Doctor Who," Jenna Coleman revealed that she was told to pretend she was trying out for a show called "Men on Waves" to keep the casting news top-secret. "When she was auditioning, Karen Gillan had been given a codename – Panic Moon, which is an anagram of Companion – so I worked out that Men on Waves is an anagram of Woman Seven, because this is the seventh series. Weirdly, seven is my lucky number and this is my seventh job," she said, via Radio Times. Showrunner Steven Moffat revealed to Digital Spy that Coleman's energy with Matt Smith during auditions led to her being cast, as she kept him on his toes.

For her role as Clara Oswald, Coleman won a TV Times Award for Favourite Newcomer along with a Glamour Award for UK TV Actress. Recently, she gushed to Collider about her time on "Doctor Who," saying, "There's nothing else to ever compare it to. There's no other job like it. It's just the element of storytelling and the adventure. It feels like being part of quite a special club."