It is a long-established showbiz trend – singers swapping their microphones for a script to transform themselves into soap stars. And soul star Mica Paris is thrilled to join their ranks as she makes her EastEnders debut as the "formidable" Ellie Nixon.
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"This is a new frontier for me as an actress. I've never had this kind of role before," she tells HELLO! Mica, who will appear in several episodes, joins a glittering list of musicians turned soap actors, including Spandau Ballet's Martin Kemp, Duncan James from Blue and Hear'Say stars Kym Marsh and Suzanne Shaw.
Mica Paris is making her EastEnders debut as Ellie Nixon
Despite having shown her acting prowess on stage in the likes of Fame the Musical and Chicago, she says she was terrified to make her debut on the BBC1 soap.
However, there were no nerves showing last Friday when the 51-year-old star burst on to our screens as Ellie, the adoptive grandmother of Denise Fox and Phil Mitchell's son Raymond. Ellie appeared after his family were in a car crash, crossing paths with Denise in Walford Hospital.
"Ellie's not the sweet grandma you're expecting her to be," Mica says. "She comes out of nowhere and is a force to be reckoned with. It takes a very powerful character to intimidate Phil, but that's what she does. "I walked past the monitor on set and saw myself on the screen and I was even frightened of myself."
The star filmed her stint during the summer under strict social distancing regulations
Having filmed her EastEnders stint this summer under social distancing regulations, Mica is hoping a return trip to Walford is on the cards.
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"If I'm received well by the audience, hopefully I'll get the call asking me back," she tells us.
If she does, her daughters Russia Mae, 14, and Monet, 29 – who made Mica a grandmother last year with the birth of son Reuben – will once more be on hand to make sure she's word perfect.
"My daughters helped me to learn my lines, but they'd make fun of them," says Mica, with a laugh. "When I'd tell Russia off about her homework, she’d repeat one of my lines back to me."
To read the full exclusive interview, pick up this week's HELLO! magazine, out now!