From Loose Women To Tattooed Tina
Lisa Riley as you’ve never seen her before
Covered with tattoos and sporting black lipstick and a mouth piercing, Lisa Riley looks a million miles away from the glamorous and bubbly personality we know from Loose Women. But Lisa doesn’t mind transforming herself into a goth – because it’s all for a role in a new BBC1 drama, Age Before Beauty, with co-stars Sue Johnston and Robson Green.
“I like to take on roles where people say, ‘Is that Lisa Riley?’” explains Lisa, 42, when we meet to chat about her new role. She’s attractive and slim in a black jumpsuit. “I like to take chances – that’s why I chose FatFriends and ThreeGirls [the BAFTA-winning drama about sexual grooming in Rochdale]. I’m a chameleon and don’t want to just play what I call the generic gin-and-tonic characters.”
Lisa’s latest role is anything but generic. She’s Tina, a tattoo artist who’s covered in ink herself, the second of four daughters running the family beauty salon in Manchester with their out-there mother, Ivy-Rae (Sue Johnston). Dr yly humorous Tina is a confidante to her sisters. “What I liked about the role is that Tina’s the sarcastic one, only because I know myself, within my family when the chips have been down, we’ve used humour,” says Lisa, who was born and brought up in nearby Bur y.
She endured hours in the make-up chair ever y day to have fake tattoos applied to her hand, neck and shoulder, her hair braided and her eyebrows made to look as though they are tattooed on – a common practice today called “micro-blading”. Although Lisa had cosmetic surger y last year to remove r excess skin following her dramatic d 12-stone weight loss, she was w surprised at all the beauty treatments t available today.
“Pretending to work in a beauty salon s was a real eye-opener,” says Lisa. L “I mean, a glycolic peel, what is i that? I had absolutely no idea, but Tina T works in a world where people get g their boobs done like they go to the t supermarket. To each his own, but b I pride myself on having had nothing n done – no Botox, nothing. My face still works.”
Lisa says that the biggest bonus of her physical transformation is in finding herself more in demand as a serious actress, with offers of roles like tattooed goth Tina. “I always wanted to play [Prime Suspect’s] DI Jane Tennison and those meaty roles growing up,” explains Lisa.
“Not to be that generic comedic role is so exciting. I think people are going to be ver y surprised when they see me in this.”
“I like to take on roles where people say, ‘Is that Lisa Riley?’”