Derry Girls star says it is exhausting playing a teen and reveals how she unwinds

Jamie Lee O'Donnell as Michelle Mallon in Derry Girls

Irish star Jamie-Lee O’Donnell has spoken about how ‘exhausting’ it is to play a teenager in the modern classic comedy series Derry girls.

O’Donnell starred as the feisty teenager Michelle Mallon on the show from 2018 until the final season in 2022, by which time she was actually 30 years old.

She says that once she get’s into the headspace of her character it is not easy to come out – and that takes up a lot of energy when her character is a teenager.

O’Donnell told the Irish Independent: “It can be quite hard, whenever you’re doing those roles, when you’re really in the character and the script and you want to stay in that vibe to give a really good performance and stay in that energy.

“It can be slightly hard to switch it off and shake it off. It’s even hard when it’s really positive.

“Playing Michelle can be a bit exhausting, because it’s this intense, teenage hyperness that you’re bouncing about all day.

“Because it’s a comedy and it’s so hyper, between scenes I try and keep myself at a 10. At the end of the day, you’re still buzzing but you’re physically tired.

“That kind of hyper, positive, delighted-about-life energy can be really exhausting as well.”

The star also revealed that while it tough to unwind after long periods in character she as fully aware of the value of rest and recuperation in order to avoid burn out.

Thankfully she has plenty of interests and activities to keep her busy – in less of an intense manner.

O’Donnell continued: “I’ve gotten back into meditation recently. I like to exercise, going to the gym.

“Reading a book. Anything quiet, I like. Just being outdoors as much as possible, going to the beach and stuff.

“Hanging out with my friends, going for coffees and chit chat is really lovely.”


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