'I think my boyfriend looks like La
Roux!' Kathryn Prescott jokes. 'But he gets annoyed when I tell him
that.' It's 8am and we're in a glittery hotel suite in central
London, waiting for Kat's co-star Lily Loveless.
While we're waiting we're flicking through a copy of DIVA's
December issue, checking out the Hot 100 list in which Kat and Lily
ranked 43 and 47 respectively. 'Yes!' Kat says triumphantly,
spotting another familiar celebrity face on the list. 'We beat
When Loveless arrives, having stopped off at a nearby Whole Foods
to pick up lunch and call for directions ('It seems like whenever
we speak on the phone Lily's in Whole Foods,' Kat says) we make our
way to the screening room downstairs where hair and make-up are
waiting to work on our cover stars. Over the sound of the builders'
intermittent drilling next door and regular bursts of noise from
hairstylist Marcia's hair dryer, we settle in for a chat.
Despite their tender years - Loveless is 19, Prescott 18 - both
actresses are already well on their way to stardom, thanks to their
roles on Channel 4's Skins, a popular youth-driven drama which
follows the lives of a group of teenagers in Bristol. With
last-series viewing figures of 1.2 million (plus a further 270,000
viewing online) it's one of channel's greatest recent home-grown
successes. Kat and Lily are undoubtedly an important ingredient in
this success; one of the most compelling plot lines of last year's
third series was the developing romance between Lily's Naomi
Campbell and Kat's Emily Fitch, known to fans as 'Naomily'.
'Mainstream television doesn't tell many stories about young girls
coming out,' Kat points out, when I ask what she makes of Naomily's
popularity. 'The reason I like the Naomi and Emily storyline is
because after a few episodes it stops being about the fact that
they're two girls and it just starts being about their
relationship, which has the same issues and problems as any other
relationship. There's more to it than the fact that they're two
girls. I like that.'
'It's so well-written,' Lily adds.
'Some of our scenes were written [in collaboration] by a girl my
age who was probably writing about her own experiences. From the
feedback I've had the story feels very realistic. That's the most
important thing: that people relate to it and
don't just think they are sitting there watching a lesbian fantasy
written by an old man.'
Speaking of lesbian fantasies, can Kat expand on her Hot 100
comment that 'If I'm honest, I've always secretly preferred women
'I know what she meant!' Lily interjects.
'I know this sounds sexist but I would be far more complimented if
a woman put me in a thing like that than if a men's magazine ever
did,' Kat explains. 'I've always preferred feminine people.'
When pressed to define their sexuality, both women explain that
they prefer not to label themselves. 'We're still young,' Lily
reminds me. They will tell me that they both currently have
boyfriends: Kat is seeing Oli, 25, and Lily is dating Ben, 20. Both
are members of the Skins crew they met on the set.
The unwillingness to adopt labels crops up again when I ask Lily
to define Naomi, who more than Emily appeared to struggle with her
same-sex attraction in the third series. Is Naomi gay or bi or
Lily pauses, seriously considering the question. 'I think she's
probably bi,' she says finally. 'But I also don't think it's that
important. Now that she's come to terms with the fact that she
likes girls, it's more about the fact that she likes who she likes,
whether they are a boy or a girl. So maybe she's bi or maybe you
can't put a title on her. I don't think she'd want the title, she's
more like, "If I like someone, I like someone".'
Both seem slightly bemused when asked if they, their agents or
family ever questioned the wisdom of taking on characters with a
same-sex storyline. Were they ever worried it might have negative
career repercussions? 'It's literally never been an issue,' Kat
says. 'I think teenagers now are very accepting of gays and
lesbians,' she comments later, 'even more so than when I was
younger. I think when you hear someone say something homophobic it
really ages them. It sounds old fashioned. It's usually someone
from past generations
that aren't really up with the times.'
Does she think Skins, which has
depicted teens engaged in drug and alcohol use, and also contains a
fair bit of recklessness, sex and violence, offers viewers an
accurate representation of British youth today?
'Well, it's written by young people so I think it's more accurate
than almost all other shows about teenagers. Shows not written by
teenagers might not understand it as well as someone who's living
through that at the moment. But it's exaggerated for the sake of
The conversation soon returns to sexuality, and I'm not surprised
to hear that both Kat and Lily have out gay friends. 'I have a
few,' Kat says. 'I used to hang out with this big group of friends
and half were gay or bisexual.'
'I have loads of gay friends,' says Lily, adding, 'My best friend
They're not sure what proportion of their fan base is lesbian.
'They never tell you if they're gay or not', Lily says of the
female fans who write to her, with a hint of disappointment in her
voice. They are happy to accept my suggestion, however, supported
anecdotally and by DIVA and afterellen.com's most recent poll
results, that they have a loyal lesbian fan-base.
'Secretly, I think we have the best fan-base out of all the
characters,' Kat says.
'We weren't the most important characters originally,' Lily notes.
'I think it's because of the fans that the writers and producers
have thought oh, these characters are actually more important than
we thought. So we owe our fans a huge thank you for that because
felt early on that we were just a bit on the side, but now we have
So what can they tell us about this coming season, then? Not a
lot, as it turns out. All I'm able to prise out of them is that
Emily will go 'off the rails' a bit, and leave home, and that we'll
see a different, more sympathetic side to her twin Katie, played by
Kat's sister Megan.
Someone murmurs something to the effect that Naomi wants to prove
to Emily how much she cares, but it's all very vague and cryptic
and hush-hush. The frenetic teaser on the C4 site isn't giving much
away either, but is, importantly, generating a lot of speculation
among fans in advance of the season premiere later this month.
When we move on to talk about the future, it's clear that both Kat
and Lily have reached a crossroads of sorts. Although Skins 4 is
yet to air, for Kat and Lily the filming is done and their
contracts are over. A generational show, Skins sheds its young cast
every two years.
How was their final day on set?
'Emotional!' Lily says.
'So sad!' Kat explains. 'Though there was only me, Lily and Lisa
[Backwell, who plays Pandora Moon] actually filming, so it wasn't
as sad as last year.'
'Yes, it was!' Lily interjects.
'Well, yeah it was,' Kat says. 'It was sadder because we were
actually finishing for good.'
At the end of their last take, Lily says, the producer and line
producer brought in flowers. 'They said, "That's a wrap for Lily
and Kat" and we both burst into tears.'
Would they like to have stayed on for another year?
'I think it was good that we left when we left,' Lily says
pragmatically. Kat agrees. 'If we got offered more and more work on
the same series it would be difficult to go, and we might get stuck
in the same roles and get typecast. So I think that it's quite good
that they've kicked us out.'
Would they play gay characters
'It depends what kind of role,' Kat explains. 'I would,
definitely, but not if she was similar to Emily, just because I
would be scared of being typecast. I definitely would play a gay
character again though. It's been really cool, the reaction we've
got from people. Lily and I
have had people come up to us sometimes, telling us that we helped
them, that our storyline inspired them to come out to their friends
and family and stuff. That's really cool because family and friends
are the people you should be able to be most honest with, and if
you can't that's horrible. So that's really cool that we got to do
And what's next? 'I'm doing some acting classes,' Lily says. 'I'll
probably work to pay for them. And I'm still going to, like,
audition. As far as acting jobs go, you can't really plan anything
because you don't really know what's going to come up.'
How about Kat? 'I'm on my gap year
now, and then I've got a place to study psychology at Westminster
Uni,' she says. 'But if acting takes off then I might put off uni
for a bit. I want to be a counsellor if I'm not an actor,' she
As we wind up the interview, I
mention that work has also begun on an American version of the
show. Set in Baltimore, it will start with the first generation,
pre-Naomily. How do they feel about other actresses eventually
playing Emily and Naomi?
'It's wrong!' Lily says, only (I think) half-joking.
'I don't know if they're going to have the same names,' Kat says.
'I hope they're not because that would be weird.'
What can they say about rumours there will be a Skins
'It's 50-50,' Lily says. 'They're
definitely thinking about it,' Kat pipes up. 'I don't think
anything's final.' They'd both like to be in it, though, if it goes
ahead. 'Yeah, I'd like to play Naomi again,' Lily says, a little
What are the main differences between Naomi and Emily in series
three and in series four?
Lily: I think they're more similar this year.
Emily's come out of her shell, and, well, Naomi's always been out
of her shell and just does what she wants. She didn't care what
anyone thought and I think Emily's become much more like that in
Kat: Yeah, they've both come out of their shells
a bit, Naomi about the whole gay thing and Emily just generally.
She used to be really shy and let people walk over her and she's
really not like that anymore. I think they're both happier, and
more at ease with themselves.
I heard the lake scene in episode six of series three was cut
because Kat went into hypothermic shock. What was supposed to
Lily: There was meant to be a scene which was
kind of flirty and they came close to a kiss but then Emily swam
away. I think it was more a scene to show off the scenery because
it was such a beautiful place, so cutting it didn't really have an
impact on the story.
Do you find it harder to do comedy
or romantic scenes?
Lily: Comedy probably, because the more times you
do it, the less funny it is.
Kat: Yeah. Your timing goes after a while. You do
it right the first couple of times and then you've heard it so many
times... It just ends up sounding a bit bad.
Was it really emotional to film
your last scenes together?
Lily: What was our
last scene together, Kat?
Kat: It was you being, oh no, hang on, I can't
say! (Both laugh.)
Lily: The thing was, I was concentrating so hard
on what I was doing, I didn't think about the fact that it was our
last day together. It was quite a heavy scene for me, so I had to
really get into it. I wasn't really thinking about Lily's problems,
I had to just be in Naomi.
Kat: Yeah, I only realised after we'd done it
that, oh, that was our last scene together.
What would you like to think your
characters will be doing five years after Skins 4 ends?
yeah, and travelling the world.
Lily: Travelling the world together, setting up
orphanages, 'cos that's what they want to do.
If you were able to be any
fictional character, who would you like to be?
Rabbit! (Laughs.) No, I'm joking. Maybe Marge Simpson. (Imitates
Marge's trademark disapproving noise.)
Kat: Yeah, but she's married to Homer.
Lily: But Homer's so sweet and nice. He might be
fat and ugly but he's sweet.
Kat: (Thinks.) Probably Francine, the wife on
American Dad. Or the daughter, because she's so dozy.
Lily: Or Stewie from Family Guy.
Would you get a tattoo?
Lily: I've got a
tattoo. It's on my foot, I'll show you.(She shows me.) It's a lily
flower with my family's names going down the stalk. I got it when I
was 16, which was probably a big mistake. I said to my mum, I was
like, 'Mum, I'm going to get a tattoo,' and she didn't really
believe me, she was like 'Whatever,' and then I came home and I was
like '[untranscribable noise]'. The only reason she let me off
lightly was because it had her name on it. She thought it was so
Kat: I don't have any tattoos. I probably
wouldn't get one. I think they look really cool but I would change
my mind about it. I know I would. I'm so changeable.
Lily: I'm dreading that, but at least it's only
on my foot.
Kat: But your name is Lily. If my name was like
Daisy or something I might get a daisy, but because my name is
Kathryn it's not like -
Lily: You could get a cat!
Kat: What, just a cat? On my face? (Both laugh.)
No, I just wouldn't trust myself to get something I'd like
Do you believe in aliens?
really random. (Both laugh.)
Kat: I think there most definitely is because
there are so many thousands and thousands of other planets.
Lily: Yeah, there's got to be some other form
of... thing... living organism somewhere.
Kat: Yeah, when scientists say that life isn't
possible without water and air and there's not that on other
planets, they're just talking about human life and all the life
that they already know exists. There might be some other kind that
doesn't need that.
PHOTOGRAPHY: MATT MILES & KONRAD WYREBEK
This article first appeared in DIVA magazine, February