Laura Carmichael: 5 Things to Know About the Downton Abbey Actress
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Downton Abbey

Laura Carmichael: 5 Things to Know About the Downton Abbey Actress

We're not going to spoil anything for you, but let's just say you're going to want to pay some extra attention to Lady Edith Crawley this year — and the gorgeous lady who plays her, Laura Carmichael. The Southampton-born actress, now in her late 20s, got her big break with Downton Abbey and is rapidly becoming a talent to watch.

Read on for five things you didn't know about Laura Carmichael!

She Plays Words With Friends With Maggie Smith! When Cosmo asked Laura about cell phone use on set, she confessed, "We’ve become obsessed with this word game, this Scrabble game. Maggie is really good. But I'm also really good."

Okay, so it's not definitely Words With Friends. But it sure sounds like it!

She's Also the Middle Sister of Three. Like Edith, Laura has one older sister and one younger sister — although apparently she gets along a lot better with her sisters than Edith does.

"I have two sisters and we are the best of friends," Laura told the Daily Mail in September 2012. "We are very different but there is a bond between us that is sacred, so it was interesting to play a sister whose life’s purpose is to ruin her older sister."

She's a Huge Beyoncé Fan. "I have such a huge girl crush on Beyoncé," Laura gushed to Daily Mail in their September 2012 interview. "She's so sexy and inspirational, and she makes no secret of the fact she works hard. If I'm feeling discouraged or at a low ebb, I ask myself, 'What would Beyoncé do?' and I know she would go to the gym or the supermarket."

When Laura finally saw Beyoncé on the red carpet for 2012's Met Gala, though, she didn't seize the opportunity to go meet her idol. "Michelle [Dockery] whispered, 'Do you want to go and speak to her?' but I was so overcome in her presence I was almost in tears and unable to move," she admitted.

Before She Made It Big, She Was a Receptionist. While Laura was active in the theatre before breaking into television, she still needed a day job — and ended up working as a receptionist in a doctor's office. "Luckily one of the GPs was the uncle of a friend from drama school, so they were good about giving me time off for auditions," she told the Daily Mail in November 2012.

From the sounds of things, though, it's good that she got her big break. "I was rubbish. I was OK at day-to-day stuff like answering phones, but my heart wasn't in it," she said. "It was good experience, though. I did all sorts of jobs after drama school — working in a bar, as a teaching assistant. I probably learned as much from them as I did at drama school."

Her Great-Grandfather Was a British Flying Ace. Back in World War I, cutting-edge aviators were hot celebrities! One of Laura's great-grandfathers, Captain Norman Blackburn, was just that: a flying ace and toast of the town.

He was also, by many accounts, quite the character. Once at an airport, he was asked why he was wearing a flamboyant camel hair coat. He responded, "When wearing this coat, I can go without a drink for a week."

Sarah Anne Lloyd is an Associate Editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!