For Emmerdale stars Paige Sandhu and Rebecca Sarker, the year has been a roller coaster ride in the best possible way.
The couple have been at the heart of one of 2021’s most exciting soap opera storylines, as murderous Meena Jutla and her sister Manpreet Sharma.
Fortunately, far from the Dales, Paige and Rebecca are very close.
“We’re like real sisters,” Rebecca reveals, Paige adding that they are constantly sending voice notes and texting each other on WhatsApp.
“If I ever feel anxious or need to let off steam, I’ll go see Rebecca for help,” says Paige.
Newcomer Paige has certainly had six busy months playing the Meena murder streak, in which she killed Andrea Tate (Anna Nightingale), Leanna Cavanagh (Mimi Slinger) and most recently Ben Tucker (Simon Lennon).
Rebecca has also flexed her acting muscles – and her real muscles – this year. She did several of her own spectacular stunts during Super Soap Week, and the fitness fan reveals that she hopes the same will be true in 2022.
To celebrate their amazing year – including filming these jaw-dropping Woolpack blast scenes for the Christmas Day episode! – Notebook magazine gave the couple a glamorous photoshoot.
Here, Rebecca and Paige tell Notebook about the close bond they formed during their time together on set, why “everyone is so happy” before Christmas at work, and how they both spent the holiday season. year …
LORNA ROACH PHOTOGRAPHY)
Hi Paige and Rebecca! You had a great year playing Meena and Manpreet in Emmerdale. How did you both find it all?
Paige: It was crazy, but I love playing Meena. At the start of 2021, I thought it would be the best year of my life – and it was. I had such a great time.
Rebecca: Manpreet had such an epic story during Super Soap Week in the fall, and it all continued over Christmas with his sister. It was a lot of fun to be in the thick of it.
The holiday season is finally here. How was it in Emmerdale at this time of year?
Paige: Everyone is so happy! The food guys were making Christmas lunches so there was plenty of turkey, roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings.
I heard that before Covid there was a Christmas fair with stalls selling festive goodies and a big party, but I didn’t experience any of it.
Rebecca: It was a countdown to the holidays – we were like greyhounds waiting to go out on a track. The summer party is always quite loud – we party! But, thanks to Covid, I’ve only ever been to one Christmas party and it was pretty docile of me as I wanted to go home with my family.
You play the sisters in the soap opera. What do you like most about working together?
Paige: Rebecca is a really kind and caring person. We care about the job and put our heart and soul into every scene.
Rebecca: Playing with Paige is half the reason it’s been such a joy this time. She’s a great person to work with and so kind, generous and supportive. We get along very well and give each other advice and support. I love the dramatic scenes we did recently, where we both shoot at full blast.
LORNA ROACH PHOTOGRAPHY)
What is your relationship behind the cameras?
Paige: We’re constantly texting and sending each other voice notes on WhatsApp. If I ever feel anxious or need to let off steam on something, I’ll go see Rebecca for help.
Rebecca: We talk a lot outside of work. We’ve both been so busy it’s hard to socialize in a normal way, but if I had to socialize with anyone it would be her!
So pretty! And Paige, did Rebecca take you under her wing and show you the ropes of show business?
Paige: [Laughs] Not really, because I started during Covid so I never even went to a red carpet event. We are truly alike in that we enjoy doing our jobs well, having fun, coming home to our families and being private.
Rebecca, you’ve been at Emmerdale since 2018. What’s your most embarrassing moment on set?
Rebecca: I fell asleep in a hospital bed. I was hooked up to all the medical equipment for a scene and dozed off! So many people told me in advance that they had done the same, and I said, “No! I would never do that, I’m too professional. It was so comfortable, I couldn’t help it. I was woken up by the medical advisor stroking my arm, telling me it was time for tea! Fortunately, I didn’t snore. I would have been mortified!
You were on Coronation Street too [as Nita Desai from 1999 to 2000], alongside some of your Emmerdale co-stars. Was it nice to have familiar faces on set when you joined in?
Rebecca: Yes! It was so nice to see Chris Bisson and Gaynor Faye when I started. Having two friendly faces made me feel like I belonged. I am also still in contact with Kevin Kennedy since my Corrie days.
What are your hobbies outside of your acting job?
Paige: I love to sing. Now that I have some free time for Christmas, I’ll take that back. I could read all day and I also really enjoy practicing yoga, Pilates and meditation.
You mentioned anxiety, Paige. Does this sort of thing help you?
Paige: Completely. I was feeling a little anxious lately because of nothing I could put my finger on, so I did yoga and meditation and it made me feel like a different person. As long as you take care of yourself, anxiety won’t feel so overwhelming. This is what my experience has taught me. When
I think back to when it was really bad, I’m thankful for that time as I’ve learned how taking care of my diet, sleep, and mental health all add up.
Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the stardom that comes with being in Emmerdale?
Paige: I have to admit that when I see fans waiting outside the studio, I get a little nervous.
It’s a completely new experience because I’ve worked on Covid and haven’t really had to deal with this sort of thing. However, I would rather kiss it than turn away from it.
Rebecca: I’m recognized more often now, but that’s part of the job, isn’t it? However, I have only had great reactions and am really grateful for the support.
Rebecca, how did your two sons react to all of this?
Rebecca: My youngest son is 10, and he loves that his older brother, who is now 15, is never mentioned in the press. And my oldest son always wants me to set the record straight and remind everyone that I have two boys [laughs].
I said, ‘Yes, honey. I will kiss you at every opportunity ”. He is a black belt in karate, plays the guitar and looks very good.
After what happened on Christmas Day, Meena surely can’t get by forever. Can you tease anything about his downfall?
Paige: Manpreet is the only flaw in Meena’s evil armor, so I think it has to revolve around the sisters. In terms of a teaser, all I’ll say is that everything we’ve seen of Meena so far is small fry compared to what’s on Christmas Day. She feels invincible right now, so her behavior is getting more and more weird and people are starting to notice that something is wrong.
Rebecca: There is something Terminator about Meena, although she may have met Sarah Connor in Manpreet. For her last hurray, I would love to see her starving for her bad oxygen. She’s the kind of person who wants notoriety and thrives on the terrible things they do.
It would be great if it were made into a treat that pats dogs and sniffs flowers. I think that would be the most horrible thing for Meena to experience.
So basically, what if she had therapy?
Rebecca: [Laughs] Exactly! It would be horrible for her.
Is there someone in Emmerdale that you would be afraid to kill because of the potential fan backlash?
Paige: Paddy! He’s so adorable, so viewers really wouldn’t like it.
Did you watch the Christmas Day episode?
Paige: I had to do it. My mom’s mom is a huge Emmerdale fan and she was spending Christmas Day with us this year.
How did you both spend the festive break?
Paige: I always spend it with my family. I make vanilla fudge for my grandmother. She has a huge sweet tooth.
Rebecca: We have two weeks off and we’ve all worked really hard heading into Christmas to get that break.
At home, our Christmas tends to be pretty traditional – I baked pies while the tree was being erected. On Christmas Day itself, we spent the day at the house, and the children opened their presents by the fireside, with George the cat stuck in his Christmas sweater in the background, bless him.
Finally, what are your hopes for 2022?
Paige: Like I said, I had every intention of last year to be my best year yet, so I think I’ll carry on that tradition. I truly believe that as long as you focus on the positives and choose to view challenges as things that happen to you, things just keep getting better.
Rebecca: I would like to leave behind the boarded up theaters, home schooling and Boris briefings. I would also love to see the backs of these oversized jackets that everyone looks gorgeous in except me! My hopes for 2022 are for the same, when it comes to work. I loved exploring the character of Manpreet and hope he can continue