‘It could have been me’ Corrie’s Romanian star who plays the trafficker reveals real hell
But in an exclusive interview with the Daily Star, Romanian actress Ruxandra Porojnicu, who plays Alina Pop, a trafficked nail-bar worker, admits: “It could have been me.”
The gorgeous Ruxandra, 25, left home for England when she was just 21 to fulfill her dream of becoming an actress.
She had a friend who already lived in the capital but, with only £ 300 to her name, she was desperate for work.
She quickly accepted a job as a housekeeper on a construction site but, having already gained experience as a waitress while studying for her performing arts degree in the Romanian capital Bucharest, she handed over her CV to a number of renowned restaurants.
She managed to find a job with Pizza Express in London and spent the next four years working hard to save money, tailoring acting classes and auditions around shifts. But it wasn’t until now, after speaking to real victims of slavery for her heart-wrenching Corrie story, that Ruxandra realizes just how naive she had been when she left home.
Speaking at our photoshoot after attending an anti-slavery collective event in London with Princess Eugenie, she said: ‘That’s why this is such an important storyline because it really could have been me in the Alina’s situation. I was so eager to find a job when I arrived, and looking back four years, I had no idea how things worked in England.
“It’s so easy when you need the money to trust the wrong people.
This is what we are seeing with Alina right now, she doesn’t even know she is being used as a slave. She is so confident and believes the best in people.
“She actually thinks her bosses are watching over her, but everything is going to change.
“The stuff that I’m filming is so impactful, but after talking to someone who’s been through what Alina’s been through, it made me feel like I had a responsibility.
“It was very moving to meet her, especially because of the way I came to England on my own. I found this very impressive, but I can hopefully help raise awareness.
“I was lucky because I spoke English and knew how to apply for jobs at well-known places like Pizza Express. But it was tough and in those first few months I really struggled. Fortunately, my story has been a good one.
Ruxandra was still working as a waitress when she got the call to say she landed the life-changing role of Corrie in February.
But it was her boss Guilherme that she enthusiastically told her parents and her two older sisters.
Smiling, she said, “Can you believe I messaged my manager before my mom and sisters?” I think it was because he had made my trip with me and always supported me a lot.
“When I started I was just working and saving money. Then I slowly started taking acting lessons and looking for work. Guilherme always understood if I needed more hours or if I had an audition. He had seen how hard I had worked. I always knew how competitive it would be, but if you know what you want and really want to go there, and you’re not about the money or the fame, then you find a way.
“He was so happy for me. It wasn’t until I started Corrie that I realized how much of a show it was. We don’t bring him home. I grew up watching Spanish soaps and still can’t believe it.
“When I’m at Corrie, I’m like, ‘Do I even work?’ It’s so much fun and everyone has been so lovely.
Ruxandra completed her last shift at the restaurant on Sunday evening before heading to Manchester for her first day at Corrie on Monday.
Her arrival on the famous Cobbles caused a stir and she was hailed as the new Michelle Keegan after being pictured on location with love interest Harry Visinoni, who plays Seb Franklin.
Ruxandra says, “I didn’t know Michelle, but when I looked at her it was very flattering. I just enjoy being here in Corrie.
“I learn everyday. And my family is so proud of me. They are still texting me. I send video clips to my mom. She can’t understand what I’m saying but she says I look so good. We have the soap awards coming up too and it would mean a lot to me if Corrie won the best soap award. It also made my mom even more proud of me if possible.
So what can we expect in the coming weeks as Alina’s storyline takes a grim turn?
Ruxandra adds: “Alina is going to realize that something is really wrong. She’s happy because she’s in love with Seb and she’s in England with so many opportunities, but she’s so innocent about it all.
“Unfortunately, unwittingly, she will put Seb in danger.
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