Emma Appleton and Bel Powley tipped as hottest actors of the summer

Emma Appleton and Bel Powley tipped as hottest actors of the summer

06/01/2022

Rising stars taking over summer TV : Model turned Sex Pistols star Emma Appleton and soap actor’s daughter Bel Powley are tipped for the big time as they lead BBC’s hotly-anticipated Everything I Know About Love

  • Bel Powley and Emma Appleton star in BBC’s Everything I Know About Love 
  • British actresses, both 30, landed the lead roles and are set for a busy summer 
  • Bel is the daughter of a soap star and began acting when she was still in school
  • Emma grew up in Oxfordshire before moving to London to pursue modelling 

With starring roles in a hotly-anticipated BBC miniseries, it is set to be a busy summer for rising stars Bel Powley and Emma Appleton. 

The British actresses have landed the lead roles as best friends Maggie (Appleton) and Birdy (Powley) in the TV adaptation of Dolly Alderton’s best-selling memoir, Everything I Know About Love.

The series follows the pair as they navigate bad dates, heartaches and life in London in their 20s. 

Alderton’s book was a smash hit when it was released in 2018, and producers will no doubt be hoping for similar success when it premieres on BBC One next week. 

Hit TV adaptations of popular books have become a way for up-and-coming stars to become household names, with Bridgerton and Normal People proving just what a successful – and lucrative – path it can be. 

Now it’s Bel and Emma, both 30, who are poised to step into the spotlight. Here, FEMAIL takes a closer look at the lives of two of TV’s hottest new properties, from Bel’s soap legacy and child star beginnings, to Emma’s role in Danny Boyle’s new Sex Pistols biopic… 

Leading ladies: Bel Powley, left, and Emma Appleton play best friends Birdy and Maggie, respectively, in the TV adaptation of Dolly Alderton’s memoir, Everything I Know About Love

Summer hit? Powley as Birdy, left, and Appleton as Maggie in Everything I Know About Love. The series follows the pair as they navigate bad dates, heartaches and life in London

BEL POWLEY, 30 

Performing is in the blood for London native Bel Powley, daughter of actor Mark Powley and former dancer turned casting director Janis Jaffa. 

Although you might not recognise Mark’s name, there is you’ll know his face, for he has popped up in everything from The Bill and Casualty to Hollyoaks and Next Of Kin. He married Janis in 1989, though it is thought their marriage later broke down. 

Their daughter Bel was raised in Shepherd’s Bush and began her acting career while still a pupil at Holland Park School. 

Following a handful of smaller roles – including a part on The Bill – Bel landed a lead in CBBC action series M.I. High, about a team of undercover teenage spies juggling school life with their jobs as secret agents. 

Handsome beau: Bel, right, has been in a relationship with The Riot Club actor Douglas Booth, centre, since 2016. Pictured, the couple with Skins star Kaya Scodelario in June 2018

Popped the question! In July last year they shared enigmatic posts announcing they had taken their relationship to the next level. Booth’s post (pictured) suggested he had proposed, while Powley referred to him as her ‘husband’

Showbiz family: Performing is in the blood for Bel, daughter of actor Mark Powley and former dancer turned casting director Janis Jaffa, pictured at their wedding in 1989

Familiar face: Mark Powley, left, in TV show Life Of Riley. Although you might not recognise Mark’s name, there is you’ll know his face, for he has popped up in everything from The Bill and Casualty to Hollyoaks and Next Of Kin

She received critical praise when, aged just 16, she appeared in Polly Stenham’s play Tusk Tusk at the Royal Court.

She then appeared in the Broadway production of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, which was seen by every casting director on the continent — one of whom cast her in the scorching coming-of-age gem Diary Of A Teenage Girl.

That was followed by a hilarious portrait of Princess Margaret in A Royal Night Out, a picture that imagined what Princess Elizabeth and her sister got up to on VE Day.

The actress, who is engaged to The Riot Club actor Douglas Booth, tried her hand at a grown up spy drama in Amazon Originals Informer before being cast alongside Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston in award-winning Apple TV series The Morning Show. 

Teen star: Bel, right, landed a lead in CBBC action series M.I. High, about a team of undercover teenage spies juggling school life with their jobs as secret agents, while still at school

Stage success: Powley received critical praise when, aged just 16, she appeared in Polly Stenham’s play Tusk Tusk at the Royal Court, pictured

TV star: Powley then appeared in the Broadway production of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, which was seen by every casting director on the continent — one of whom cast her in the scorching coming-of-age gem Diary Of A Teenage Girl (pictured)

Royally good fun! That was followed by a hilarious portrait of Princess Margaret in A Royal Night Out, a picture that imagined what Princess Elizabeth and her sister got up to on VE Day. Pictured, Powley as Margaret, Sarah Gadon as Elizabeth ad Rupert Everett as King George VI

Powley plays Claire Conway, a researcher who beds the much older weatherman.

Before the coronavirus crisis, Bel had been in the U.S. filming the second season of the hit series. 

She spent lockdown in East London, at the house she shares with actor Booth. 

The couple are thought to have met on the set of period romance A Storm In The Stars, which was filmed in Dublin and in Luxembourg in 2016.

In July last year they shared enigmatic posts announcing they had taken their relationship to the next level. Booth’s post suggested he had proposed, while Powley referred to him as her ‘husband’. 

During lockdown, the couple have been dedicating themselves to ‘cooking and eating’ — and watching old films, such as Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn, and Funny Girl with Barbra Streisand.

Loved up: Bel with Douglas Booth at Wimbledon in 2017, a year after they met on a film set


Red carpet star: Bel in stunning ensembles at the Golden Globes in 2020 (left) and at the British Fashion Awards in 2019

Powley also starred opposite Kim Kardashian’s boyfriend and SNL star Pete Davidson in The King Of Staten Island. 

She spent time living in the New York City borough to pick up the local dialect for her part in Judd Apatow’s film. 

Powley raved about her experience shooting Everything I Know About Love on Instagram, writing: ‘I have had an absolute blast shooting this beautiful, hilarious and unbelievably apt (millennial women get ready) show by the incredible @dollyalderton. 

‘I couldn’t have wished for a better cast and crew to go on this journey with. @emmajappleton @marlisiu @aliyahodoffin I am so lucky to have worked with you, I love you all! @dollyalderton THANK YOU for trusting us. Stay tuned!!’

Brush with Hollywood: Powley was cast alongside Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston in Apple TV series The Morning Show. Pictured, with Reese at a 2020 fashion show

Indie hit: Powley also starred opposite Kim Kardashian’s boyfriend and SNL star Pete Davidson in The King Of Staten Island, pictured

EMMA APPLETON, 30 

Big break: Model-turned-actress Emma Appleton stars as Maggie in Everything I Know About Love

Making a name for herself: Emma Appleton was booked by brands including Victoria Beckham and The Kooples before leaving modelling for acting

Model-turned-actress Emma Appleton was born in raised in Witney, the Oxfordshire constituency of former Prime Minister David Cameron. 

She went to a local comprehensive school specialising in the visual and performing arts where she discovered a talent for acting. Yet when she finished, drama school didn’t seem a viable option and she pursued a career in modelling instead. 

Appleton was approached by an agency and moved from the leafy Cotswolds to bustling London aged 19. 

The leggy brunette modelled for The Kooples, Victoria Beckham and Daks before leaving the runway in 2015. 

First role: It didn’t take long for Emma to transition from modelling to acting and she bagged a part in short film Dreamlands (pictured) the year after quitting the runway

Learning from the best A major turning point came with Traitors, the Channel 4 Second World War spy drama, in which she starred opposite TV golden girl Keeley Hawes (second from right)

‘I was at the point where it was not fulfilling me creatively, and I wanted more,’ she told Elle magazine. 

‘I worked with some wonderful people, but the negative times did taint it for me. I wasn’t very happy; it wasn’t good for my soul. I just wanted to act.’

It didn’t take long for the star to transition from modelling to acting and she bagged a part in short film Dreamlands the following year. 

Next came BBC Three drama Clique, about a gang of ‘alpha girls’ at university, and support roles in Grantchester and The End of the F***ing World. 

A major turning point came with Traitors, the Channel 4 Second World War spy drama, in which she starred opposite TV golden girl Keeley Hawes. 

Dream team: Appleton (back, centre) with her Pistol co-stars (from left) Louis Partridge, Maisie Williams, Anson Boon, Sydney Chandler, Talulah Riley, Thomas Sangster, Jacob Slater


Rock ‘n’ Roll: Emma plays Sid Vicious’ girlfriend Nancy Spungen, who was stabbed to death at the age of 20. 

It was followed by cult hit fantasy series The Witcher.

Nothing, however, comes close to the scale of the projects Emma is involved with this summer. Alongside Everything I Know About Love, she is promoting Danny Boyles’ Sex Pistols biopic Pistol. 

She plays Sid Vicious’ girlfriend Nancy Spungen, who was stabbed to death at the age of 20.

Nancy’s body was discovered in the the bathroom of the New York hotel room they shared in October 1978, months after the Sex Pistols fell apart. 

The notorious case ended with Vicious being charged with his girlfriend’s murder – but dying of a heroin overdose before it came to court.

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