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I'm happy being the fat bird from Hollyoaks; Actress Mikyla tells Dawn Collinson why she wouldn't swop places with soap's skinny girls.

AT 6ft tall and a size 22, actress Mikyla Dodd is far from the usual teen soap pinup image.

She's never been asked to strip for a glossy lads magazine and, she cheerily accepts, she's never likely to be.

"I'll always be the fat bird off Hollyoaks!" she laughs. "But it doesn't bother me. I've got the label and I'll wear it quite happily and do what I want to do.

"I accept the way I look and I don't have to worry about having a totally flat stomach for FHM because I don't do FHM so I can put a stone on, or lose two, and nobody really cares."

The issue of weight is never far away for Mikyla. But, in the next few weeks, it will be in even sharper focus as her Hollyoaks character Chloe suffers a series of setbacks which make her question how other people see her.

"There's this realisation when things go wrong for her that it might be her weight, " explains Mikyla.

"I think Chloe got complacent and forgot people's biases and prejudices, although it isn't really so much about that as self-image."

Mikyla says her own size has never stopped her doing anything and she's always been very confident, thanks mainly to parents who constantly built her self-esteem.

"I've never been slim, even as a child, but that's probably why I'm able to deal with it, " she says. "And my mum is fantastic, she's always telling me how beautiful and special I am."

Now 24, Mikyla admits, though, that there was a time four years ago when she realised she needed to do something about her weight.

"I was getting up into the size 28/30 bracket, I weighed about 24 stone, and I was much bigger than I'd ever been, " she remembers. "It was getting to the point where I was only going to be able to shop in one or maybe two places and that was depressing.

"Then there were things like having to stand all the way to London on the train or having to sit through whole performances in theatres on the stairs or the fire escape because I couldn't fit in the seats.

"It was the one and only time I've ever really been bothered by my weight and I was really uncomfortable."

A diet and exercise saw Mikyla shed five stones and, although she's put a stone back on since joining Hollyoaks two years ago, she's content with her size again now.

"As I am now, it's fine, " she shrugs.

"I've never been one to say being fat is great but it's just what I am and it doesn't trouble me enough to do something about it."

Mikyla, who has recently bought a house in Liverpool, says the Chloe storyline was a joint idea between her and Hollyoaks bosses.

"It is very difficult for them because obviously it's not just Chloe that's fat, it's me, " she smiles, "but this is very definitely her story, not mine.

"Of course it can be hard because you spend all day having everyone talk about how fat you are and when you go home you're still as fat as they said, but I'm really OK with that.

"Instead I try to find the positive in being fat. If I walk into a room and all the seats are taken by men I've never met I know they won't get up to offer me their chair whereas if a gorgeous slim girl walks in, at least four or five of them will leap up.

"But, at the same time, it's amazing how men listen more to what you've got to say.

They respect you in a different way so it's often to my advantage."

That is one of the reasons why Mikyla, who was born in Blackburn, maintains that, although she's surrounded by beautiful blondes on Hollyoaks, she wouldn't swop places with any of them.

"All the girls on Hollyoaks are so gorgeous, every one of them, but they've all got insecurities so I honestly don't envy them, " she insists.

"I'm happy with my lot, with the way I am and the kind of person I am. I don't doubt that, if I'd have been slim, life might have been easier but then I wouldn't be the same person.

"I can really say that if someone offered me a pill now which I could take and wake up a size 10, I wouldn't be tempted."
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 6, 2002
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