Emma Rigby

Emma Rigby

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Emma Rigby
Emma Rigby with a fan.jpg

Rigby in September 2011
Born Emma Catherine Rigby
(1989-09-26) 26 September 1989 (age 28)
St Helens, Merseyside, England, UK
Occupation Actress, model
Years active 2002–present

Emma Catherine Rigby (born 26 September 1989) is an English actress. She is best known for playing the role of Hannah Ashworth in long-running soap opera Hollyoaks, Gemma Roscoe in BBC One drama series Prisoners’ Wives and as the Red Queen in American fantasy-drama Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.

Early life[edit]

Rigby was born in St Helens, Merseyside to Carole and Steven Rigby. She has an older sister called Charlotte. Rigby attended De La Salle High School where she gained 9 A* at GCSE.


Rigby’s first acting role was Lisa Gunstone in Born and Bred. Before getting the role as Hannah Ashworth in Hollyoaks, she had a few minor roles and appeared in popular soap Brookside as Elena Jones.


In 2005, Rigby got the role as Hannah Ashworth in Hollyoaks at the age of 15.[1] She was given praise and recognition for her anorexia storyline, in which she was nominated for various awards. Including the British Soap Award for Best Actress in 2008.[2]

In November 2008, Rigby announced she was leaving Hollyoaks to pursue other projects, and would remain on-screen until June 2009. However, after meetings with soap bosses, it was later confirmed that Rigby had extended her contract for an additional six months and would remain on-screen until February 2010. Her final episode was broadcast on 11 February 2010.


For a brief time Emma turned from acting to modelling shooting a campaign with Rory Lewis Photographer in Late February 2010.[3] From 2009-2011 she starred in several short films, including the award-winning ‘Talk’.

In July 2010, Rigby made her debut in the West End psycho-sexual thriller musical Wolfboy. She had a non-singing part, playing the role of nurse Cherry. She received positive feedback from critics.

In 2011, Rigby starred as Brandy Mulligan in online series Becoming Human.[4] 2011 also saw Rigby make her film debut in British horror Demons Never Die, and in September of the same year she had a minor role in the first episode of C4 comedy Fresh Meat as Rachel.

In December 2011, it was announced that Rigby would be starring in brand new six-part drama series Prisoners’ Wives along with Jonas Armstrong. The show’s first episode aired on 31 January 2012 with Rigby playing Gemma Roscoe, a young pregnant girl whose life falls apart when her husband is arrested for murder.[5][6] In March 2012, she had a guest role in Pramface as Mike’s Blind Date Carrie-Ann. In June 2012, it was announced that she had scored the female lead in The Physician alongside Ben Kingsley, the film was released in late 2013. Also in 2013, she made her US film debut with a minor role in The Counsellor.

In 2013, Rigby appeared in episode four of Ripper Street as Lucy Eames,[7] and in episode one of The Job Lot.[8] In April 2013 it was announced that Rigby was cast in a lead role as the Red Queen in the U.S. television series Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.[9][10][11]

In 2014 she starred in the remake of Endless Love and also played the female lead in the British crime film Plastic which is based on a true story, about a group of English university students were running a successful credit card scam.

Rigby at San Diego Comic Con in July 2013

In March 2015, Rigby worked alongside James Franco in the movie adaption of his book Actors Anonymous. It expected to be released in 2017.

2016 saw Rigby make a return to British television after a three-year absence with a guest appearance on Death in Paradise.[12] Also in 2016 she had a minor role in US thriller television remake of Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? which premiered on Lifetime on June 18. In the summer of 2016, Rigby signed on for her first female lead in a US film, starring as Angie in romantic comedy A Cinderella Christmas. It was filmed during that summer and released in December of the same year. She also shot American crime thriller drama American Violence, playing Olivia Rose, which was released in early 2017.

In February 2017, it was announced that Rigby would be starring as the female lead in Hollywood Dirt which is due to be released on Passionflix in September 2017.[13]

In May 2017, Rigby appeared in the first episode of the final series of Inspector George Gently as Betty Platt.

In September 2017, Rigby joined the cast of comedy film The Festival.[14]

Personal life[edit]

She was number 98 on FHM 100 Sexiest of 2015.[15]

In 2016, Rigby confirmed that she doesn’t have social media as she stated ‘I’m super private and keep myself to myself.’[16]

Rigby became an ambassador of CAFOD after reaffirming her faith.[17]


Film roles
Year Title Role Notes
2009 A Kingdom without a King Alicia Waterstone Short
2010 Talk Eloise Short
2011 Analogue Love Maggie Short
Demons Never Die Samantha Rearden
2013 The Physician Rebecca
The Counsellor Tony’s Girlfriend
2014 Endless Love Jenny
Plastic Frankie
2017 American Violence Olivia Rose
Actors Anonymous Bree Post-production
Hollywood Dirt Summer Post-production
2018 The Festival TBA Filming
Television roles
Year Title Role Notes
2002–2003 Brookside Elena Jones 3 episodes
2003 Born and Bred Lisa Gunstone 1 episode
2005–2010 Hollyoaks Hannah Ashworth Regular role, 3 October 2005 – 12 February 2010
2009 Hollyoaks Later Hannah Ashworth 5 episodes
2011 Becoming Human Brandy Mulligan 5 episodes
Fresh Meat Rachel 1 episode
2012 Prisoners’ Wives Gemma Roscoe 6 episodes
Pramface Carrie-Ann 1 episode
2013 Ripper Street Lucy Eames 1 episode
The Job Lot Chloe 1 episode
2013–2014 Once Upon a Time in Wonderland Red Queen/Anastasia Main role
2016 Death in Paradise Laura Hagen Episode 5.1
Mother May I Sleep With Danger? Nightwalker Television movie
A Cinderella Christmas Angie Wells Television movie
2017 Inspector George Gently Betty Platt Episode 8.1


Year Title Role Notes
2010 Wolfboy Cherry Non-singing role

Awards and nominations[edit]

British Soap Awards 2008

Year Award Category Work Result Refs
2007 British Soap Awards Best Actress Hollyoaks Nominated
2007 National TV Awards Most Popular Actress Hollyoaks Nominated
2008 British Soap Awards Best Actress Hollyoaks Won [18]
Best Dramatic Performance Hollyoaks Nominated [18]
Best Storyline (for Hannah’s Anorexia) Hollyoaks Nominated
2009 British Soap Awards Sexiest Female Hollyoaks Nominated
2012 TV Choice Awards Best Actress Prisoners’ Wives Nominated

In 2007, at the age of 17, Rigby was nominated for Best Actress in the British Soap Awards (being 1 year too old to qualify for consideration for Best Dramatic Performance for a Young Actor/Actress), but did not make it to the final four. She was also nominated for Most Popular Actress at the National Television Awards. A year later, she won The British Soap Award for Best Actress and was nominated for Best Dramatic Performance, but lost to Jo Joyner.[18]

Her portrayal of Hannah Ashworth’s battle with anorexia attracted praise. The Daily Mails television critic, Jaci Stephen, wrote on 24 November 2007 that the Hollyoaks storyline had “taught her more than any drama or documentary on anorexia has ever done”. Stephen also admitted some of Hannah’s scenes had moved her to tears. She won best storyline for Hannah’s eating disorder at the annual Hollyoaks awards. She was up against John Paul and Craig’s affair, The “Who pushed Clare?” storyline, and Kris and Jess’s relationship.[19] At the All About Soap Bubble Awards in April 2008, Rigby won an award for the “I’m a Survivor – Bravest soul in soap” category.[20]


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