Hayley Squires: ‘Who do I most admire? Two friends who work for the NHS’

The I, Daniel Blake star on her parents’ generosity, working in a call centre and her love of ice-cream

Born in London, Squires, 32, studied at Rose Bruford College in London. She starred in the Ken Loach film, I, Daniel Blake in 2016, earning a Bafta nomination and winning most promising newcomer at the British Independent Film awards. Her West End debut in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof followed in 2017. Her television work includes The Miniaturist and Collateral; in the autumn she will play the lead in the Channel 4 drama, Adult Material.

What is your greatest fear?
Snakes.

Which living person do you most admire and why?
Two friends who work for the NHS, Jason and Kate. One is a paramedic and one has been moved to work in an ICU.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I give myself a really hard time about choices I’ve made and whether I’m working hard enough.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Selfishness.

What makes you unhappy?
The people I love being in a state of unhappiness.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
How unsymmetrical and squidgy my face is.

If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
Tangy Toms, the crisps.

Who would play you in the film of your life?
Kathy Burke.

What is your most unappealing habit?
I say sorry too much.

What is your favourite smell?
The smell of my house when my mate Bill’s cleaned it.

What is your favourite word?
Home.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted my own ice-cream van and to be a lollipop lady.

What is the worst thing anyone’s ever said to you?
I once got told by somebody I was seeing that he felt sorry for the man who ends up marrying me.

What do you owe your parents?
I owe my mum everything. I owe my dad my career, in the sense that I wanted to become an actress because he pounded me and my brother with culture when we were younger. We didn’t have a lot of money, but he made sure we had access to films and music.

What does love feel like?
Essential, like oxygen.

What was the best kiss of your life?
I am going to shout out Bradley Tucker when we were in the park on the hill, when I was 15.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
All of them are swear words and I prefer not to say, because my mum will get upset.

What is the worst job you’ve ever done?
I worked in a call centre. I would go clubbing on a Saturday with my brother and my mates, get home for five or six in the morning, and then have to be at work at 8am.

How often do you have sex?
The answer to that just isn’t interesting – I’m single.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
A driving licence.

Where would you most like to be right now?
On a beach in a different country with an ice-cream.

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