I have a scrap of paper I ripped out of a magazine years ago on my dressing table mirror that says: “None of us know the steps and there’s no music playing.” Life is a crazy dance and I like that image of chaos and confusion. 

What is the difference between right and wrong? 

You know by how it sits in your stomach. 

Where is your happy place? 

A medieval hilltop village in the Le Marche region of Italy. My husband [Mr Selfridge actor Tom Goodman-Hill] and I stumbled upon it a few years ago during a festival and all the locals were dressed up as characters from old fables.

Nature or nurture? 

I believe in the perfect blend of both.

Is it more important to be liked or respected?

Respected. It’s exhausting if you want everyone to like you, and it’s impossible. 

If you could be remembered for one thing what would it be? 

Someone who kept their sense of humour in 99% of situations. There’s not much that humour can’t diffuse.

Who or what is your greatest love? 

I got married last August so I’d have to say my husband. But a few musicians have also had a big influence on me, such as David Bowie, Róisín Murphy and Kate Bush. They all forged the way to become completely unique people.

When did you last lie? 

I don’t lie very often because I go puce red. In auditions you can never be negative about a script so you have to find something good to say but they’re just little white lies.

Does the supernatural exist?

I hope so. I was convinced there was something in my room when I was about 10 years old and had to sleep in with my sister Sarah, which really p*ssed her off. 

Are you fatalistic? 

I fight it because I think it’s important to make your own fate. There’s a quote from American film producer Robert Evans which sums it up perfectly: “Luck is where opportunity meets preparation.”

What is your greatest fear?

Boredom. Long periods of boredom can slip over into depression quite easily, which I try to avoid.

Animals or babies? 

Animals – they’re so much fun. I have two cats [Margot and Pickle] and I find myself talking to them as if they were humans. 

What talent do you yearn for?

I’d love to have a beautiful singing voice. I had three years of lessons at Rada but I don’t think they did anything.

Do you like to be complimented?

Definitely. There’s an interesting thing to be said about being complimented as a woman because it’s a female trait to brush them off. Increasingly I’m like, “thank you.” 

Do you have a high pain threshold? 

It depends where I am in my cycle [laughs]. One moment I can burst into tears at nothing then be as strong as Fort Knox at another. 

What book do you recommend most to others?

The Crimson Petal And The White by Michel Faber. It’s a stunning book that investigates Victorian ideas of right and wrong.

Which lesson has been the hardest to learn? 

Physics and chemistry have always foxed me – they have no human emotions so I can’t connect to them.

What food sums up happiness? 

Melted cheese is the ultimate comfort food. I love it on toast with Worcestershire sauce or baked with a baguette to dunk in it. 

What have you never understood? 

No sex before marriage. You have to investigate before you hook up with someone, surely?

What is the one thing you want to know before you die?

Why the squirrels in my garden tore apart the one bloom of Camellia Japonica I’ve been nurturing for years. 

Are you scared of dying or what happens when you die?

Not really. I only hope it will be painless and that there is an afterlife. 

Quinoa or Quavers? 

Quavers every time. You got me at cheese-based snack.