IT’S a fair old hop from Hollyoaks to Hollywood, but that’s the destination former soap babe Emma Rigby has in her sights.

It has been a very busy few years since the then 15-year-old De La Salle student gained a place as Hannah Ashworth in Hollyoaks and now five years later Emma, from Eccleston, says she will always be grateful to the soap that made her a household name.

Emma said:"I was very fortunate, I had the opportunity to act every day, which I love, and it made me grow up very quickly. It was a huge learning curve and I owe an awful lot to Hollyoaks, but it is time for me to try new things.”

Blonde, slim and beautiful, it seems Emma Rigby was made for Hollyoaks, but now she hopes to concentrate on a more serious acting career and theatre work, adding: "I was seriously nervous about leaving a stable job like Hollyoaks, especially in the current climate.

"But I don't feel that a soap like Hollyoaks will hinder my career in anyway.

"It's been a fantastic experience and I wouldn't change it for the world. I want to get into some more serious stuff when I get out – theatre, films and drama.”

There is more to Emma than a pretty face. The star landed her first acting role on the show at just 15-years-old, despite attending only evening classes in dance and drama, achieving a drama GCSE and never actually signing up to full-time drama school.

"It was hard juggling the workload with normal school life but I think it paid off, I am used to working hard and juggling lots of projects," she added.

Up until recently Emma lived with her parents in St Helens, and admits that although it is great to have a taste of freedom, there are things she misses about home.

She added: “Of course I miss my family and friends and having my tea made for me and getting my washing done! But I will be coming back to St Helens regularly.”

Emma did have some advice for budding young actresses from St Helens: “You should never give up on your dreams. It is a lot of hard work, but I think if it’s possible a drama school can really help you to advance.”

Though she was acclaimed by eating disorder charity BEAT for her portrayal of Hannah's battle with Bulimia, she's on the lookout for something a bit different now.

"Hollywood is something I also have my sights on. Films, especially a British flick, would be a great step now. I feel lucky to have done so much already but there is definitely more from me to come!"