Talia Grant has opened up about becoming the first autistic actress to star in a mainstream TV drama.
The 16-year-old actress joins the cast of Hollyoaks this week as Brooke Hathaway, and reveals she is understandably "excited".
Talia, the daughter of famous vocal coaches David and Carrie Grant, appeared with her mum on Loose Women on Tuesday (10 July).
She told the hosts: "It was [incredible] when I got offered the part. It was an open audition that they advertised on social media. My godsister told me about it."
She added: "I feel like my character is not exactly like how I am. There are some ways she's different. It's exciting to show one representation of autism for the people out there."
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Of Tania's diagnosis, mum Carrie said: "Talia doesn't have any learning difficulties, so she flies under the radar. She'll sit in class, she's quiet, she hits all the targets academically, but inside there's a whole world of anxiety going on.
"It was through Talia's younger sister, we began to see differences. Imogen is about four years younger. We thought, hang on a minute, there's something a bit different here.
It's exciting to show one representation of autism for the people out there.
"We got Imogen tested and we thought we probably need to get Talia tested as she was suffering real anxiety at school."
Talia explained: "I had to sit on the same chair [at dinner], have a special plate… I can’t even eat pie, with the fruit mixing.
"When I tell someone I have autism, they'll say, 'No you don’t', because they have their own idea of it. I didn't know what it was. I didn't know that I had it.
"When I did find out, I didn’t know what that meant. I knew I felt different, but I didn't really know what about me felt different. I felt out of it, the odd one out. It makes a lot of sense now."
Talia's character Brooke is also autistic and is fostered by the Osborne family.
She was chosen from 150 autistic actors for the part.
Hollyoaks boss Bryan Kirkwood said that he was "delighted" by Talia's casting and said that she would "bring a new different voice" to the show.
"We are very excited about her arrival into the Osbornes where she will bring a secret from the past," he teased.
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