My Secret Life: Ruth Jones, Actress, age 42

The home I grew up in... was a Victorian terraced house 100 yards from the sea-front in a lovely Welsh town called Porthcawl. My Nana lived with us and my Gramma lived round the corner. It was a happy time.

When I was a child I wanted to... win the Crackerjack Young Entertainers competition. I entered, singing "A Mouse Lived in a Windmill" and accompanied myself on the guitar. I couldn't do F sharp 7th, so went silent on that bit. I was beaten by a nine-year-old ventriloquist from Rhyl.

The moment that changed me for ever... a practical change was to stop drinking 18 months ago. It's given me more time to do things – I get up earlier and can drive home after parties. It saves a lot of money too!

My greatest inspiration... is human nature at its best, like when people carry out random acts of kindness for each other.

My real-life villain... was this woman on a flight to Sri Lanka at Christmas, who was pretty pissed and got really abusive towards me and my step children. Not a nice experience. You can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family. Or who you sit next to on a plane.

If I could change one thing about myself... it would be my lack of confidence.

At night I dream of... the strangest things: I woke up one night shouting at the bedside light in my hotel room to get the hell out, thinking it was a journalist! I don't think he was from The Independent though.

What I see when I look in the mirror... good teeth and eyes and a growing number of grey hairs.

My favourite item of clothing... a jumper I bought in Marks and Spencer about ten years ago. I call it my "haggis" jumper, because it's the colour of haggis.

I wish I'd never worn... my hair up when I got married.

It's not fashionable but I like... the contents of my wardrobe. I've decided that the best thing, if you can, is to get a dress made if you've got a posh do to go to. It fits properly and you feel comfortable and confident. Gosh, that sounds like an ad for a feminine hygiene product

You wouldn't know it but I'm very good at... fencing. I took an advanced diploma in it when I was at drama school and have been doing it regularly ever since. I love it.

You may not know it but I'm no good at... telling the truth. That thing about the fencing: all lies. Sorry.

All my money goes on... London taxis. I can relax for 20 minutes, catch up on some phone calls and texts, and have a bit of peace.

If I have time to myself... I'm a bit of a spa addict. I could quite happily be pampered all day with facials and massages.

I drive... my faithful old Saab, which isn't very sexy but it is elk-proof.

My house is... an Edwardian semi, near Roath Park in Cardiff. It's my favourite place to be. We've been there just over two years now. The kitchen is the best bit – it's the heart of the home and is bright and spacious.

My favourite building... the Millennium Centre in Cardiff, which not only looks fabulous from the outside with its massive quote from Gwyneth Lewis's poem – "In these stones horizons sing" – but it also has fabulous acoustics inside.

Movie heaven... movie hell would be full of sci-fi and fantasy adventure. I'm not a fan of Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings or anything like that. I don't like farcical comedy films like Wayne's World either. Give me When Harry met Sally or Sleepless in Seattle or Meet Joe Black.

A book that changed me... Jackie Collins' Hollywood Wives. It was the answer I gave at my interview for Manchester University in 1985 when asked what bedtime reading I'd done recently. They didn't offer me a place. What if I'd said War and Peace?

The best invention ever... the women's corset. They pull you in and push you up, in all the right places. Every girl should get one.

My favourite work of art... I went to this fabulous Ron Mueck exhibition once which I've never forgotten. There were rooms filled with giant and tiny human sculptures.

The shops I can't walk past are... those ones that sell those natural soaps and body products – I think they're called "Lush"? The smell is so overpowering I have to cross to the other side of the street to avoid it.

The last album I bought... We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things by Jason Mraz.

The person who really makes me laugh is... my husband David. Soppy, but true. He has a very sharp mind combined with a dry Yorkshire wit, making him a naturally funny man.

In 10 years' time, I hope to be... 52. As opposed to dead. Which would be a bit of a shame.

My greatest regret... is not reporting that woman on the flight to Sri Lanka to the air steward. But seriously, I don't think there's a lot of point in having regrets. Life tends to sort itself out one way or another.

My life in seven words... packed, funny, blessed, happy and highly unpredictable.

A life in brief

The comedienne, actress and script-writer Ruth Jones was born in Porthcawl in 1966. Co-writer, with James Corden, of the BBC's multi-award-winning sitcom Gavin and Stacey, she also plays Nessa in the show. Further television credits include Little Britain, Nighty Night and Fat Friends. She lives with her husband, David, and step-children in Cardiff. Ruth plays Joan Durbeyfield in the BBC adaptation of Tess of the D'Urbervilles which starts on BBC1 on 14 September, and will also be in the TV adaptation of Little Dorrit later in the autumn.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Talent Manager / HR Manager - central London - £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...

HR Manager (standalone) - London

Up to £40,000: Ashdown Group: Standalone HR Manager role for an SME business b...

HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...

Day In a Page

Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

Stolen youth

Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

Made by Versace, designed by her children

Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Anyone for pulled chicken?

Pulling chicks

Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband