Actress Ruth Negga was born in Ethiopia and grew up between Limerick and London. Having trained at the Samuel Beckett Centre in Trinity College, she got her first major break in 2005, when she was cast in Neil Jordan’s Breakfast On Pluto. Since then, she has maintained a steady career in theatre, film and television – already, in 2010, she has starred in the BBC series Five Daughters and the Irish film Trafficked. From September, she will be appearing in the role of Ophelia in the National Theatre’s production of Hamlet. She recently starred in RTE’s four-part drama Love/Hate.
What was the first record you ever bought?
Nirvana, Heart-Shaped box (with the Marigold b-side where Dave Grohl sings).
What’s your favourite smell?
The smell of summer rain on its way and the smell of the person I’m in love with. Preferably a mix of the two.
Have you ever had a nickname?
Tooters, Roo… all my “weak” passwords, which I’ll now have to change.
What is your favourite room in your house?
My bedroom at around 5pm last Saturday when the evening light hit.
What are your guilty pleasures?
Real pleasures shouldn’t be guilty. I read that somewhere. Wish I could get it into my head. I’m always feeling guilty about something or other. OK, ALL of Paul Rudd’s films.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I know for a fact that people are sick of bloody actors banging on about being shy, but it is true for a lot of us. I am obsessed with the idea that the most important thing about someone is that which you don’t know. I read that somewhere too. I’m looking forward to having an idea or thought of my own.
Who is your closest female friend?
I have three and strangely enough they don’t really know one another: Pippa, Lou and Nadia.
Do you have any tattoos or piercings?
Neither. For now.
Where would you most like to live?
Kilshannig, Co. Kerry
Who was your first kiss?
When I was 6 or 7, with a lovely boy called Aaron. Think I could be totally making that up, though. I do that quite a lot with memories.
What’s the most unusual question you’ve ever been asked?
Haven’t yet. Quite interested to see what’s ahead.
What’s the best present you’ve ever received?
An early edition of The Third Policeman. It was from my mother.
What is your favourite word?
Too many to mention, although I’m a natural Mrs. Malaprop so I probably wouldn’t know what it meant anyway.
Who was your first love?
I had an almighty crush on a boy with initials D.C. when I was 8. Makes me get butterflies even now. He had absolutely no interest whatsoever.
If you weren’t doing what you do, what might you have become?
An artist, I think. Or mad. Or less mad, probably. Who knows?
Is there a book you’ve bought several times as a gift for someone?
Yes: The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories by Tim Burton. Whom I keep mentioning in interviews in the vain hope of getting a job off him.
What happens after we die?
“The Undiscover’d Country”. Where there’s lots of sleep and beautiful dreaming.
What female historical figure do you admire most?
The courageous, good ones who never make it into the books.
Sum yourself up in three words:
Bewildered. Headstrong. Loquacious.
And finally… What are you anti? What are you pro?
This is a school essay question that I have nightmares about where I’m wearing my pyjamas – if I’m lucky! I’ll be brief: anti mean people; pro the nice ones.