Although I only meet Saffron virtually via Zoom, I immediately notice her radiant energy and presence. She seems confident – not in an arrogant way, but in a way that seems genuine, kind, and makes you feel instantly comfortable around her.
Hi Saffron, congratulations on the great new season of Top Boy. Why should people watch the show?
I think people should watch Top Boy because it does a great job covering social issues in London. It gives people an insight into a diverse world they may not know or experience for themselves. This season in particular is very female-heavy and female-led, and I think the storylines are incredible. Mine, for instance, is about domestic abuse, an issue that became particularly prevalent during the pandemic when the number of reported cases increased massively. And I think the series also does a good job of raising awareness that abuse doesn’t always have to be physical but can be mental as well.
The series features such well developed characters. How did you prepare for your role as Lauryn?
I prepared for the role by approaching a charity called Refuge, which campaigns for domestic violence against women. They were incredibly supportive and helpful. They gave me lots of advice and guidance on how to approach my character, which was a very educational experience for me. While I haven’t necessarily been a victim of domestic violence as such, there are certain aspects that I think many people have experienced in a relationship – gaslighting, stalking and other similar forms of abuse. It was also important for me to play her not only as a victim, but also as a fighter. That’s what made it even more important for me to prepare well for the role.
Since Top Boy is quite a sombre show, how did you manage to step out of character and shake off that heaviness at the end of the day?
It was incredibly emotionally testing. However, as long as I practice self-care I would say that I’m pretty good at letting go of things at the end of the day. So after shooting, I would come home, run myself a bath, cuddle with my cats, and just sit on my bed and watch something lighthearted like The Office.
“Once you’ve had comfort day in and day out, there’s no going back.”
What is it like to see yourself on the screen? Do you ever get used to it?
To be honest, I cringe when I see myself on screen. But at the end of the day, it’s my job, so I’m used to it. I don’t necessarily focus on how I look or anything like that, I really just pay attention to the acting and the performance that I’m giving. As long as I feel like I’m telling the truth and making myself as believable and honest as possible, I don’t mind.
Where in your career do you envision yourself in a couple of years?
Well, as an actor, sometimes work can be so few and far between. So I think it’s a real privilege and honour to work. I think the most important thing for me is to be in a position where I can continue to work on projects that I’m incredibly passionate about, that I love to do, and that really fulfil me. I never like to look too far into the future because you never know what’s waiting around the next corner.
Is there anything in particular you would like to do in the near future?
I’d love to do a comedy but I’m not sure about how funny I am. I mean, my friends tell me I’m funny, but I don’t know if that’s because they’re laughing at me or with me. And I don’t know if I can translate that onto the screen. I think, as Top Boy is quite gritty and hard-hitting, it would be nice to dip my toe into the lighter comic realm. But you know, you can still have a dark comedy, and at some points Top Boy probably is funny.
Do you have a dream filming partner you would like to work with?
I don’t know if he’s even still acting, but if he is, it would be Jack Nicholson. Or Jim Carrey, who is an absolute hero of mine. I think they’re both brilliant.
“I never like to look too far into the future because you never know what’s waiting around the next corner.”
I imagine that being an actor must be really tough sometimes. Is there anything in particular that has helped you overcome the challenges along the way?
I’ve now been acting professionally for eight or nine years now and have really had to plug away. With that in mind, it’s been challenging at times and there is no way I could have done that without the support of my parents. They have always had my back and are still my biggest cheerleaders. I am incredibly grateful to them.
What do you think of the concept of fame? Do you consider yourself famous?
No, I don’t consider myself famous and I wouldn’t necessarily want to be. I am in this job to do something I love and to share it with those who want to engage with it. First and foremost, I am an entertainer and I do it for entertainment purposes. I also hope to inspire and educate with my work and I hope that people can relate to it. I think those aspects often go hand in hand with fame and if that comes with it, then so be it. But overall I find the concept of fame to be quite scary because it’s almost like giving up your right to privacy and your right to keep things to yourself, which is something I would never want to do.
What is your go-to outfit?
Honestly, I feel most comfortable in a tracksuit. I think lockdown really exacerbated that because there was nothing to do all day so I just sat in my tracksuit. Unless I had to go to an event, I would just roll around in my tracksuit because comfort to me is key. Once you’ve had comfort day in and day out, there’s no going back. I mean, to each their own, but I’m actually confused by people who chill on their sofa at home wearing jeans.
When do you feel most yourself?
I feel most myself when I’m with the people I love – my family, my friends and my cats. I always enjoy the times most when I don’t have to rush around, and when I can just do pretty much nothing but enjoy the time I get to spend with them.
What do you consider cool in other people?
When people are kind, that’s what being cool means to me. It costs nothing to be nice. I love kind, nice, warm people. There are people who will go out of their way to make you feel comfortable around them, and I think those are the best people in life. So I think it’s cool to be kind.
Saffron currently stars as Lauryn in season 2 of the acclaimed drama series Top Boy, which will be available on Netflix from March 18.