Meet the Brit beauties taking over US TV – including actress discovered at Leeds Festival & star rejected by EastEnders

HOLLYWOOD is home to some of the world’s biggest stars – but many of its finest young actors are UK born and bred.

From House Of The Dragon to The Last Of Us and Fallout, casting agents in the US can’t get enough of talented Brits who cut their teeth in our top-class drama schools and theatres.

Here, Josh Saunders looks at six homegrown celebs who are taking the States by storm.

Aimee Lou Wood

Aimee Lou Wood is set for her biggest break to date next year on The White Lotus

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Aimee Lou Wood is set for her biggest break to date next year on The White LotusCredit: The Mega Agency
Aimee already won a Bafta for best female comedy performance in Sex Education

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Aimee already won a Bafta for best female comedy performance in Sex EducationCredit: Netflix Inc.

AIMEE LOU WOOD is set for her biggest break to date next year on season three of award-winning Sky Atlantic telly hit, The White Lotus.

The star, 29, has already won a Bafta for best female comedy performance in Sex Education while critics hailed her portrayal of Sonya in 2020 film Uncle Vanya, which was shot during the pandemic.

She is soon to appear in Netflix drama Toxic Town, based on the Corby polluted waste scandal, alongside acting heavyweights Robert Carlyle and Jodie Whittaker.

Aimee, of Stockport, Cheshire, recently had a ­supporting role in acclaimed TV drama Alice & Jack, co-starring Domhnall Gleeson and Andrea Riseborough – and picked up the best takeover performance gong for her part in Cabaret at the WhatsOnStage Awards.

Emily Carey

Emily Carey, 21, has already notched up top acting credits

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Emily Carey, 21, has already notched up top acting creditsCredit: Getty
Emily played teen Harriet Manners in Netflix hit Geek Girl

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Emily played teen Harriet Manners in Netflix hit Geek GirlCredit: Netflix

SHOWBIZ runs in the family for Emily Carey, who began helping backstage at her grandmother’s theatre shows when she was just a young child.

Now the 21-year-old, from Barnet, North London, has notched up top acting credits – including playing teen Harriet Manners in Netflix hit Geek Girl.

The Brit-Canadian series got to No2 in the streaming giant’s Global Top Ten list of English shows in its second week.

It comes after Emily played a young version of ­Alicent Hightower – Olivia Cooke portrays the character as an adult – in House Of The Dragon in 2022.

Emily was also in West End productions of Shrek The Musical and The Sound Of Music. She played Grace Beauchamp in Casualty, a young Lara Croft in Tomb Raider and Wonder Woman as a child in the 2017 film.

‘Legendary’ Game of Thrones star Bella Ramsey makes epic debut on His Dark Materials

Bella Ramsey

Bella Ramsey won legions of fans for their ­portrayal of Lyanna Mormont in Game of Thrones

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Bella Ramsey won legions of fans for their ­portrayal of Lyanna Mormont in Game of ThronesCredit: Getty
Bella Ramsey was praised for their incredible performance in The Last Of Us

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Bella Ramsey was praised for their incredible performance in The Last Of UsCredit: Alamy

AFTER joining the Game Of Thrones cast aged 11, non-binary Bella Ramsey won legions of fans for their ­portrayal of Lyanna Mormont in the HBO series.

Nottingham-born Bella, now 20, went on to play ­Mildred Hubble in CBBC’s The Worst Witch, before landing their biggest role in end-of-the-world drama The Last Of Us.

Starring with Pedro Pascal, they were praised for having crafted “a complex, turbulent blend of childlike innocence and white-hot violence”.

Among many accolades, Bella has been nominated for an Emmy and Golden Globe, and won two Critics’ Choice Super Awards.

They also featured on the Time 100 Next list, which highlights top rising stars.

And with a second series of The Last Of Us in the works for 2025, the future is looking bright.

Olivia Cooke

Olivia Cooke left school before finishing her A-levels after landing her first big role in BBC drama Blackout

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Olivia Cooke left school before finishing her A-levels after landing her first big role in BBC drama BlackoutCredit: Savage Fenty
Olivia Cooke plays Queen Alicent Hightower in House Of The Dragon

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Olivia Cooke plays Queen Alicent Hightower in House Of The DragonCredit: Avalon.red

IN Game Of Thrones spin-off House Of The Dragon, Olivia Cooke plays Queen Alicent Hightower – and in showbusiness, the Oldham-born star, 30, also reigns supreme.

She landed her first agent at 14 and went on to appear in a 2012 tour video for One Direction, in which she got a piggyback ride from Harry Styles.

That same year, she left school before finishing her A-levels after landing her first big role in BBC drama Blackout alongside Christopher Eccleston.

Olivia was turned down by acting school Rada and rejected by soaps Hollyoaks and EastEnders, but refused to be deterred.

Instead, she moved to New York to star in TV’s Bates Motel, a prequel to Psycho, before her breakthrough role as a cancer-hit teen in 2015 film Me And Earl And The Dying Girl.

It led to her being hand-selected by Steven Spielberg for the lead in film Ready Player One and further plaudits for her starring role in ITV’s Vanity Fair.

Emma Laird

Emma Laird is tipped for big things despite just six acting credits to her name

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Emma Laird is tipped for big things despite just six acting credits to her nameCredit: Getty
Emma Laird in The Mayor of Kingstown, starring along Jeremy Renner

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Emma Laird in The Mayor of Kingstown, starring along Jeremy RennerCredit: Instagram

DESPITE having just six acting credits to her name, Emma Laird has been tipped for big things.

The star, 25, from Chesterfield, Derbys, set tongues wagging after being hailed as a Brit to watch by Variety magazine in 2021.

It followed her accepting a lead role in the Paramount+ series Mayor Of Kingstown, which co-stars Jeremy Renner.

In the US series, which is currently airing its third season, she plays Iris, a charming dancer and escort who initially works for the Russian mafia.

She has also starred with Spider-Man’s Tom Holland and Amanda Seyfried in The Crowded Room, and Kenneth Branagh, Jamie Dornan and Tina Fey in A Haunting In Venice.

Emma found fame as a model after being scouted in Leeds. She was unveiled as the face of jewellery brand Pandora in 2019.

She switched to acting around six years ago after becoming ­disillusioned with the industry.

Ella Purnell

Ella Purnell attended the acclaimed Sylvia Young Theatre School at nine

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Ella Purnell attended the acclaimed Sylvia Young Theatre School at nineCredit: AFP
Ella is the star of Prime Video’s second most-watched show, Fallout

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Ella is the star of Prime Video’s second most-watched show, Fallout

AROUND a decade ago, Ella Purnell considered quitting acting for good to become either a writer, therapist or teacher.

But now the 27-year-old, from Bethnal Green, East London, is the star of Prime Video’s second most-watched show Fallout, which was viewed by 65million people in just 16 days.

Ella attended the acclaimed Sylvia Young Theatre School at nine and beat hundreds of girls to star in Oliver! at London’s Theatre Royal three years later.

The role led her to be cast as younger ­versions of Hollywood A-listers including Angelina Jolie in Disney’s Maleficent, Keira Knightley in Never Let Me Go and Margot Robbie in The Legend Of Tarzan.

At 18, Ella took time out and says returning to acting felt “bittersweet at first”, but it would prove a wise and lucrative decision.

In 2021, she moved to Los Angeles to film Yellowjackets, about a girls’ football team whose plane crashes in the Rocky Mountains.

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