My Secret Life: Jessica Hynes, actor & comedian, 37

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The Independent Online

My parents ... separated when I was very young. My mum brought me up; she worked in tourism, before retraining as a teacher when I left home. Now she's a writer. My dad started out as a textile designer and is now an artist.

The house/flat I grew up in ... For the majority of my childhood it was a tall thin terraced house in Brighton, which had two floors below street level. The bathroom was on the bottom floor, so when I was young I would often wet myself before I managed to get there.

When I was a child I wanted to ... do everything.

If I could change one thing about myself ... I wouldn't eat so quickly.

You wouldn't know it but I'm very good at ... I may be very good at sewing.

You may not know it but I'm no good at ... sleeping. I'm bit of an insomniac although I can nap a lot in the day.

At night I dream of ... Armageddon.

What I see when I look in the mirror ... is a hot mama.

My favourite item of clothing ... is a beautiful silk kaftan with flying swallows all over it, which I bought from my sister's new kaftan design line,

I wish I'd never worn ... a frown.

I ride ... Rollerblades, anywhere and everywhere, baby – but preferably wherever I can cause maximum embarrassment to my children.

My house is ... similar to my childhood home except not as long and thin. It's stuffed with plants and paintings.

My favourite work of art ... I studied History of Art and have lots of favourites. At the moment I want a print of a Picasso work called 'Faun Uncovering a Woman'.

My favourite building ... I love the Second World War memorial church in Alfriston in Sussex; it's a tiny little church filled with beautiful paintings, which is only reached after a long walk. I only went there a few times as a child, but remember just loving it.

A book that changed me ... was 'The Godfather' by Mario Puzo, which I read when I was about 23. After reading it I began to feel like Michael, the main character; I had a strong sense of wanting to protect my family.

Movie heaven ... would be a triple bill including 'A Tokyo Story', which I saw recently and is unlike anything I'd ever seen before.

The last album I bought ... I've got Spotify so I don't tend to buy albums. Maybe it was one by Bon Iver.

My greatest regret ... is not going to art college. It wasn't an option at the time. I worked instead.

My real-life villain ... is Nicholas van Hoogstraten, who seems like he's come out of the pages of a Gothic novel. He's an occasional Google obsession of mine; his life is like a work of fiction.

The person who really makes me laugh ... is the comedy writer Louis Weymouth. His dry wit is consistently funny.

The last time I cried ... was earlier today, reading an old article about this guy on Death Row called Brandy who'd had a horrific childhood. The whole story filled me sadness.

My five-year plan ... would be to increase my creative output, to do more charity events, to get more involved with the Outdoor Swimming Society; to be in the same place but doing it better.

What's the point? The point is to love.

My life in six words ... She tried, failed, she tried again.

A life in brief

Born Jessica Stevenson in London on 15 November 1972, she is best known for her role in the sitcom Spaced, which she co-wrote with Simon Pegg. Jessica has appeared in everything from Shaun of the Dead to Bridget Jones' Diary and has won two British Comedy Awards. She lives in London with her husband Adam Hynes and their three children. On 10 August, Jessica is appearing at the Huggies Little Bundle of Laughs charity event. Visit for details