Rachel brings her TV Bunny Boiler character home

Rachel Jackson
Rachel Jackson
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As the debate rages about the dearth of working class performers making their mark in the entertainment business, Edinburgh’s Rachel Jackson is the perfect example of how hard work and determination can make dreams comes true, regardless of background.

As the Capital is awash with the annual influx of posh students exploring creativity in venues across the city, Rachel’s is a distinctly working class voice amid the middle-class chatter.

“I grew up in a very loving home and we never had much,” she recalls, adding, “and apparently when I was six my Gran asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said, ‘an actress’.

“My Gran said, ‘That’s really sweet but what do you really want to be?’ I stared back dead pan, giving my first answer again - I have always had a drive like no one else I knew. A bit like Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant.

Home for the Fringe, Rachel is making her stand-up debut in Bunny Boiler, at the Pleasance Courtyard.

A “fun, nuts stand- up show about my life with a couple of characters too” it tells of her at times disastrous love life.

The 29-year-old, who attended Juniper Green Primary School and Currie High, left school at 16 to fullfil an ambition she had held since being a child - not that her life long dream to be an actress was embraced by everyone around her.

“One teacher, who doesn’t deserve to get his name in print, but let’s just say he liked to spit on you as he spoke, said, ‘You still want to be actress? Yeah Good Luck with that’.

“People from where I grew up didn’t end up at drama school generally. My ambitions were never encouraged at school, as sad as it sounds.

“There was actually a thing called a High Fliers Club and apparently I wasn’t clever enough to join.”

Not that Rachel could be easily discouraged.

“I’m like a vampire when it comes to negative comments. I use them to create such drive that I can make amazing things happen.

“However, it was a bit awkward when I’d left school saying I was going to be a big deal only for my drama teacher to catch me doing a promotion for the National Lottery in Tesco at Colinton - I was saving up to move to London at the time.”

Rachel moved to London at the age of 20 and worked day jobs to pay for the boat she lived on halfway down the River Thames, sneaking off to auditions whenever she could. If she appears familiar, this could be why... “A highlight, before going to Rose Bruford drama school - I got a bursary to attend - was being the face of Irn Bru,” she reveals.

Desperate to do more comedy, Rachel says she “kind of fell into being a stand-up comedian”, but there’s more to her than just making people laugh.

“It’s mad when people ask me to choose between being an actress or comedian. It’s as if I’m being too greedy at a buffet. I’ve filmed two films this year; Karen Gillan’s directorial debut The Party’s Just Beginning, and Beats, directed by Brian Welsh.”

Rachel has also enjoyed her own BBC 3 mini-TV series, Bunny Boiler’s Dating Vlog, which is where her current character evolved.

Proudly, she says, “I am an example of how hard work and crazy ambition takes you places no matter what background you come from. No going back to Tesco for me.”

Rachel Jackson: Bunny Boiler, Bunker 1, Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 August, 10.30pm, £7.50-£9.50, 0131-226 0000