EastEnders star Katie Jarvis: I need to stand up for working class people against job shaming

EastEnders star Katie Jarvis has said she feels she must “stand up for working class people” after being ‘job shamed’ for working as a security guard.

The 28-year-old actress - who played Hayley Slater in the BBC soap between February 2018 and February 2019 - was revealed by the Daily Star Sunday to be working as a security guard at B&M Bargains in East London.

Jarvis told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire: “I woke up on Sunday really be on the front pages just for having a job really upset me.

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“I feel the way they portrayed the story wasn’t very nice. It was really quite nasty - to be made to feel degraded.”

She added: “A lot goes into being a security guard, they put themselves at risk. I need to stand up for them and for working class people.”

Katie Jarvis as Hayley Slater in EastEnders (Credit: BBC)
Katie Jarvis as Hayley Slater in EastEnders (Credit: BBC)

The actress - who rose to fame starring opposite Michael Fassbender in Andrea Arnold’s award-winning 2009 film Fish Tank - described herself as a “dabbler”, revealing that since becoming an actress she has had many other jobs over the years including as a waitress, on a food truck, and working in admin at a credit card company.

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Jarvis, who is mother to 10-year-old daughter Lillie and eight-year-old son Alfie, said: “All actors go through it... I don’t think anyone should be made to feel like I did - job shaming. As long as you’re working that’s all that matters.”

Since the story was published the acting community has come out in support of Jarvis, with many star revealing the other jobs they have had during their careers.

Kathy Burke tweeted: “Person gets job so her kids don't starve? Good for her.”

Fellow ex-EastEnders star Tamzin Outhwaite wrote: “I am a landlady, a voice over artist, car boot salesperson, art dealer, up cyclist, interior designer, motivational speaker, and many other jobs... it’s what artists do to earn a living. They work in between jobs.

“It’s called Grafting! Or not being afraid of hard work... or loving your family enough to drop your dream for a bit to earn a living so the family can live life. And there is no shame in wanting to work hard to make sure your offspring are cared for. #noshame.”

Former Hollyoaks actress Bronagh Waugh tweeted: “Since leaving Hollyoaks I have had some amazing TV & film gigs but I've also had loads of times of being out of 'work' so have worked as a nanny, a cleaner, and a teacher and I am proud of every single one of those jobs. I don't know her but Katie Jarvis seems like a BOSS.”

And comedian Katy Brand said: “Acting is one part of what I do, and it always shocks me how rudely and badly actors are treated. There is ZERO shame in finding other work. Congratulations to Katie Jarvis for supporting her family with honour and dignity. I bet she’s happier too.”

Jarvis said she felt “overwhelmed” by their support.