festive fun Fair City star Stephanie Kelly is looking a family Christmas and planning her dream wedding
CHRISTMAS is a magical time for children, and for Fair City actress Stephanie Kelly this one will be extra special.
Stephanie plays feisty Sash Bishop on the hit show and her on-screen character became pregnant just after Stephanie had given birth to baby Rosie.
This time last year viewers were engaged in the storyline of how Sash was going to be a surrogate mother for Wayne and Orla Molloy so the new baby could be a bone marrow donor and save Junior's life.
While all that was going on Stephanie was preparing to have baby Rosie, who has an older brother Zack.
"We are really looking forward to Christmas this year as Rosie is 16 months old and is at an age where she can run in on Christmas morning with her big brother Zack," beams Stephanie.
"Zack has asked Santa for a metal detector and a shovel. He turns eight on St Stephen's Day so we might take a trip to the beach that morning to search for coins!
"It will be different this year in terms of who we will be able to see."
The soap star admitted it was a bonus she was pregnant in real life when the storyline about surrogacy came up.
"All of the emotions, mentally, physically were all so fresh in my mind. Baby Olivia is not that much younger than my own baby so it all felt really natural and of course it's lovely to work with such a beautiful little bundle of joy. I'm never nervous holding her on set, I'm so used to having a baby in my arms."
After initially agreeing to be a surrogate Sash's heartstrings were pulled.
"Sash would have never agreed to the surrogacy had the plan not been for her to keep baby Olivia," stresses Stephanie. "She had always yearned to be a mother - having had such an unstable upbringing herself all she had ever wanted was her own family.
"She wanted to help Junior but she knew she wouldn't be able to hand over a baby she carried and gave birth to. Orla and Wayne knew offering for her to keep the baby was the only way to save Junior's life, and that had always been their main objective. She wants the best for her daughter and knows a happy, healthy, honest relationship with the Molloys is the right thing."
Sash's love life has been complicated to say the least and she is single at the moment on the show.
"She is bisexual and has always wanted to find real love," notes Stephanie. "Herself and Cristiano have recently delved into some online dating which during Covid times can be very tricky and somewhat awkward."
She comes from a colourful Fair City family - the Bishops.
"Granny Bishop (Eileen) is probably my favourite Fair City character ever.
"A true inner city Dublin 'Ma'. She ran a stall in town for years. She's hilarious and I found myself laughing so loud watching her on screen over the years. Margaret who plays her was a joy to work with.
"The three Bishop boys I actually grew up with in Ballymun. We all joined the local drama youth club in the 'reco' ran by BRYR (Ballymun Regional Youth Resource) during our school years. It's wonderful that we all went on to be part of one of Carrigstown's best families - of course, I am a bit biased!"
Lockdown has been an experience. "When lockdown happened Rosie was seven months old, so I enjoyed being able to stay home. Time with family is precious. People had been going through such awful times so I was just appreciative that we were ok.
"I love being back in Fair City now, they've put plenty of safety measures in place to protect everyone and it's so nice to have some routine. The cast, crew and production team are always a pleasure to work with."
Both Stephanie and Craig, who works in sales, are from Ballymun in Dublin. When Stephanie had Zack she was for a time homeless and had to get emergency accommodation, so her heart goes out to people suffering this Christmas.
Thankfully she and her lovely family now have their own cosy home and are looking forward to a magical Christmas, as well as their upcoming wedding.
"Craig is a brilliant daddy and the best partner, he's a gem," she wells up.
"Our wedding is booked for 2022. We have a venue booked in Co Meath and we will go ahead regardless of number restrictions, but with it being just under two years away we are hopeful it will all go as planned."
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