Saffron Burrows, 21, is a British model. But she has a life beyond the catwalk - as an activist in the successful campaign to have the Channel rail link diverted into a tunnel under Islington; as an organiser of an forthcoming 'Unity is Strength' anti-racism concert and as an actress who kissed Daniel Day-Lewis during her first high-profile role, in In the Name of the Father. (Of this scene she says: 'He had a mouthful of chips.') Saffron will inevitably be branded as yet another MTA (model- turned-actress), but if she chooses her roles carefully she may shake off this tag.

MTAs often fail because they are more used to projecting their glorious selves and less able to lose themselves as roles require. Think of Tatjana Patitz, the supermodel who played a corpse in Rising Sun. Saffron is more likely to join the ranks of MTAs who are so successful that people forget they were models first: Jessica Lange, Greta Scacchi, Andie MacDowell, Sharon Stone and Kim Basinger.

Saffron is well aware of the traps. Since finishing In the Name of the Father, she's spent time in Los Angeles sifting through scripts. 'You should read some of them,' she laughs. 'You've got to keep your principles - I want a career of some longevity. I'm really interested in women's rights, that may sound unappealingly feminist, but I am.'

Although her next roles are as yet unconfirmed, there is talk of Winona Ryder's production of Little Women. .

For now she is back home in Islington, putting her energy into organising, with Vanessa Redgrave, the Unity is Strength concert to be held at the Royal Festival Hall on 23 April. Daniel Day-Lewis, Spike Lee, the director of In the Name of the Father, Jim Sheridan, and Emma Thompson have all pledged their support and she hopes to persuade Mick Jagger and Lenny Kravitz to perform a duet. Persuasive she is and always has been: at school she led a strike in support of the teachers; she has helped to build up her local Anti-Nazi League branch and in between modelling in Paris, she has been on protest marches against the right- winger Jean-Marie Le Pen.

All very commendable, but what we really want to know is - what was the kiss like? Besides the chips, she isn't telling. But she is blushing.

(Photograph omitted)

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