Jodi Balfour joins Netflix original series The Crown for Season 2 in a tough role for anyone to play, let alone a South African — Jackie Kennedy.
The second season of the hit show, released on December 8 2017, covers the time from the Suez Crisis in 1956 up until around the time of British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s retirement in 1963 at the end of the so-called Profumo affair.
The timescale spans Kennedy’s presidency, which began in 1961 and ended with his assassination in Dallas, Texas, in 1963. Balfour steps up to the plate as First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, who married JFK in 1953.
Here’s five things you didn’t know about the South African beauty:
1 She competed to be Miss South Africa in 2008
Balfour, who grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, competed in the Miss South Africa 2008, the year before she first got into TV. The actress has previously called her entry a “momentary lapse of sanity”, after she ended up standing waiting to go on and thinking “what am I doing here?”.
Luckily she didn’t win, as her path may well have taken a different turn and we quite possibly wouldn’t have seen her end up as the wonderful actress she is today.
2 The Crown is not her first period series
Balfour’s big break came when she landed the role of Gladys Witham in Canadian television drama Bomb Girls, about four women working in a munitions factory in the country during WWII.
In 2015 she won the gong for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series at the Canadian Screen Awards for her role in spin-off television movie Bomb Girls: Facing the Enemy. Talking about why she gets cast in period shows, she has previously said she “must have the face for it”.
3 She’s had big roles in both the UK and Canada
Balfour lives in Vancouver main roles to date have been in both Canada and the UK. In 2014 she starred in Canadian comedy-drama TV miniseries The Best Laid Plans which originally aired on CBC, and earlier this year she took on the lead role of DI Elaine Shepard in British police procedural series Rellik on BBC One.
However, she also starred in Quarry for US network Cinemax in 2016, and has had minor roles in shows like Supernatural and V.
4 She co-owns a coffeehouse
As well as her acting career, Balfour co-owns the Nelson the Seagull coffeehouse in Vancouver, which she opened with fellow South Africans Jonathan and Lee Snelgar after moving to the city from South Africa in 2010.
She is vegetarian but told Vancouver is Awesome in 2012 how she has always been “super passionate about food”, which adds to the skills that her business partners Jonathan and Lee bring to the table.
5 One of her role models is Meg Tilly
In the same interview, she told how her Bomb Girls co-star, actress and novelist Meg Tilly, was one of her role models having done so much with her life while managing to take a 15-18 year sabbatical to raise her kids out of the spotlight.
Balfour said: “It sounds so cliche but so humble and generous as well.”