SOPHIA’S L.A. DIARY

Rachel Hyde-Harvey

Rachel Hyde-Harvey and, right, Emma Roberts.

At just 20 Rachel Hyde-Harvey is following in the footsteps of fresh-faced English actresses like Keira Knightley and Sienna Miller.
However, her coming out party is not the catwalks of Milan and Paris, or some gritty, British flic.
Rather, it’s the brave new world of media that was the bone of contention during the long and costly Hollywood writer’s strike.
Harvey is the star of Sony Pictures Television’s “Sofia’s Diary,” an online series featured on Bebo, the popular social networking site founded in 2005. She plays Sofia Taylor, a feisty 17-year-old working at a teen magazine in London and living with an overbearing stepmother.
The show is based on an international cross-media format conceived by Portuguese writer Nuno Bernardo. Stretching across Internet, TV print and radio, the show is funded through advertising with a range sponsors who integrate their products into the series.
“My generation are the last to watch television,” said Harvey. “Younger people are watching online.”
Launched in February this year, the show immediately hit the zeitgeist, especially for young girls, garnering five million hits within the first few weeks. It is now up to 16 million views.
Last week, Harvey made a whistle-stop visit to Los Angeles to film a special Hollywood episode.
“I can’t give too much of the storyline away, but we’re filming with Emma Roberts [Julia’s niece] to promote her new film ‘Wild Child,’” said Harvey, in the familiar surroundings of Santa Monica’s famous English bar The King’s Head.
“I think Emma is a really good up and coming actress and she’ll be a great asset to the show.”
A graduate of the same London stage school as Emma “Baby Spice” Bunton and Amy Winehouse, Harvey is the product of a middle-class, middle-England upbringing.
“I wanted to sing, dance and act from a young age, but never knew how to get into it,” she said. “But when I was 13 my parents saw a national audition for stage school in London. I applied and got in.”
Given her young age, the rest isn’t quite history, but she’s beginning to carve out a career on stage and screen having trod the boards in London’s West End and acted opposite Christopher Lloyd (“Back to the Future”) in a movie shot in Barcelona.
Hollywood stardom might not be far behind. “I’m out here in L.A. so there’s loads of possibilities,” said Harvey.

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