Everyone is talking about Samantha Barks. Since catapulting into the spotlight in Les Miserables, the 22-year-old Brit has been touted as one of Hollywood's most promising rising stars with an incredible talent for both singing and acting.
But who is this new girl on the block? Here's five facts you should know about Samantha.
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- Contrary to recent reports, Samantha is not dating her Les Miserables co-star Russell Crowe. She is said to be in a relationship with Welsh This Morning host Matt Johnson. The couple have been together for a couple of months and are "absolutely besotted with each other".
- It's not the first time Samantha has been romantically linked to a famous face. In 2010, while in the stage version of Les Mis, she reportedly began a three-month romance with her co-star American teen heartthrob Nick Jonas. Already media-savvy, she refused to confirm the relationship
- Stardom was never really an option. Born and raised on the tiny Isle of Man, Samantha says growing up fame just wasn't a career choice. "No, I danced because I wanted to dance, I sang because I wanted to sing. It was the passion that drove me. It always has."
That passion saw the youngster try her hand at everything from ballet, tap, jazz and modern dance to the clarinet and drums. She also sang with choirs and rock bands.
- Aged 16, she convinced her parents to let her move to London to seek fame and fortune. Less than a year later she was well on her way when she took part in I'd Do Anything, a BBC talent show search to find a new unknown lead to play Nancy in a West End revival of Oliver! She reached the final, eventually coming in third place. The future screen star described it as "the most amazing experience of my life".
- Before she was cast in the film adaptation of Les Miserables, Samantha played Eponine on the West End stage for more than a year. Shortly afterwards, coincidentally while on tour playing Nancy in Oliver!, her big break came. On January 31, 2012, producer Cameron Mackintosh showed up in the audience in Manchester and went onstage during the final curtain to announce that Samantha would play Eponine in his film. It was an incredible moment for the young talent, who had reportedly beaten the likes of Taylor Swift and Scarlett Johansson to the part.