What Business Did Sophie McShera Run Before Landing Role on ‘Downton Abbey’?

Celebrities, Celebrity Q&A, TV Shows
on January 2, 2014
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What can you tell me about Sophie McShera, who plays Daisy, on “Downton Abbey?”
—Yvette Falsette, Albany, Georgia

Sophie McShera, 29, was born into a large Irish family in Bradford, England, headed by her financial advisor dad and teacher mom. She attended St. Joseph’s College before joining the Footsteps Theater School, which is where she developed her passion for acting.

McShera was only 12 when she landed her first professional job in a production of “The Goodbye Girl” at the Palladium in London. She followed that up with a national tour of “Annie,” prior to attending Brunel University.

“I did not go to drama school,” McShera says. “I went to university, so I did a degree at university, but after university in Manchester, I did my training. I think it is always good to keep learning.”

While at Brunel, McShera and her ex-boyfriend won £100 in a competition for new business ideas, which they invested in a confectionary company they named That Sweet Feeling. Their main product was decorated jars of sweet treats, which also included notes filled with sweet nothings.

In 2007, McShera launched her adult acting career, landing minor roles on the British television series “Emmerdale,” “Survivors” and “Waterloo Road,” before winning the role of Daisy Mason on “Downton Abbey.”

“I feel like ‘Downton’ opened up a lot of doors that would definitely have been shut before, because now I can go to auditions, where I wouldn’t have been able to get into the room before,” she says. “They know who you are now, so they will see you. It gives you more opportunities.”

The result of those opportunities has included a starring role on the modern-day comedy series, “The Job Lot,” for the same network that airs ‘Downton’ in the UK, and which takes place in an employment agency.

And, this hiatus, McShera is filming Walt Disney Productions’ new, live-action movie version of “Cinderella,” playing wicked stepsister Drizella, opposite her ‘Downton’ co-star Lily James (Lady Rose) as Cinderella.

“It is old-fashioned in terms of the time period, but it is playful,” McShera says. “The costumes are incredible.”