‘Directors wouldn’t touch me!’ Nina Wadia on how EastEnders stint impacted her career

Nina Wadia says Eastenders made it hard for her to get back into comedy

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Actress Nina Wadia is best known for having played Zainab Masood in EastEnders. She joined the long-running BBC soap back in 2007, but eventually left in 2013. In a recent interview on ITV’s Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh, Nina opened up about how her time on EastEnders had some negative impacts on her career.

Alan chatted to the actress and comedy star about her impressive career, but was keen to know about her six and a half year stint on EastEnders.

The presenter asked: “How much did working on Eastenders contribute to what you did afterwards? Or did it get in the way?”

Nina explained when she was originally cast, she wasn’t meant to be on the soap for very long.

She said: “I only went in for six months to play the postmistress, but they liked the character.

“So, they gave me a family and then I really enjoyed it,” the actress remarked.

She explained: “I had kids at the same time, so I thought it’s a good job to have, that has a steady income, I’m kind of in the same place, I don’t travel too much.

“So, for that reason it was good. Career-wise it’s a difficult one,” Nina confessed.

She continued: “People say you should do about three years in a soap and then leave if you want to carry on what you were doing before.

“I stayed a bit too long. I think six and a half years was too long for me.

“The bonus was I became a household name, but the sad part was it was difficult to get back into comedy,” the star revealed.

Alan asked: “So, did it take a while after that to get back in?”

“Oh, yes! Almost a year,” Nina replied, confessing it was a challenge getting new work after EastEnders.

“Casting directors wouldn’t touch me because they were like ‘Well, she’s established. She’s known as Zainab Masood.’

“And then in the comedy world, a lot of people in the comedy world don’t watch soaps, like I didn’t used to.

“So, then when I was suddenly there, they were like ‘Where did you go for six years?’

“Like I’d died!” Nina laughed. “It was just, ‘Where did you go?’, ‘In a soap’.”

Alan remarked: “It seems to me that comedy is your natural métier. I mean, you are an amusing person.

“Does that make you a good comedy actress?” The presenter asked.

“That depends on the way you look in the morning,” Nina joked.

“No, I do love it. It’s just a natural thing for me,” the actress confessed.

Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh airs Sundays at 9:30am on ITV.

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