Outlander: Claire and Jamie share intimate season six scene
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Caitriona Balfe stars as time-travelling nurse Claire Fraser in the sprawling small screen adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. Alongside Scottish breakout Sam Heughan, the Irish actress has spearheaded Starz’s gripping fantasy drama to success, but her acting career wasn’t always headed in the right direction.
Outlander’s leading lady has spoken candidly about her early beginnings in one of the world’s most demanding professions.
Before landing iconic roles on the small and silver screens, Caitriona worked as a catwalk model for several high-end fashion designers.
Appearing in hundreds of runway shows in the early 2000s, the Outlander star has walked for the likes of Chanel, Valentino, Alexander McQueen, and Givenchy.
She soon became one of the most in-demand models working the runway circuit, but eventually traded fashion for fiction when she was cast as Claire Fraser in the Starz drama.
The former model has since admitted life on the runway wasn’t always as pleasant as it might appear.
“There was something about the theatricality of the runway shows and the event of it that I really loved,” she initially told Vanity Fair.
However, after nearly 10 years showcasing some of fashion’s top brands, the job eventually lost its appeal.
She said: “For the last couple of years I was miserable, really.”
“It’s not exactly the nicest industry or the healthiest industry.”
Caitriona briefly returned to her former career after landing some minor TV and film roles.
In 2006 she appeared as a Runway employee in the classic fashion film The Devil Wears Prada, and also featured in JJ Abrams’ sci-fi blockbuster Super 8.
However, it wasn’t until she was cast alongside Sam’s ferocious yet soft-spoken Highland warrior Jamie Fraser that her acting pursuits started to blossom.
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She has since appeared in a major role in one of this year’s Oscar favourites, Belfast, which focuses on the lives of a working-class family living through the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
While she took on minor roles, Caitriona decided to take the leap and move from New York to Los Angeles, and the rest is history.
“I knew that I had a passion for acting,” she continued.
“I knew it was something that, if I got the chance to do it, I would attack it with everything I had.”
Unfortunately, she was initially dropped by her manager, who told her “You have to wear the dress and put the makeup on and do the hot-girl thing”.
“It was so not me,” Caitriona said. “I’m glad I knew that I wanted to do it with integrity, if that makes any sense.”
Thankfully, it wasn’t long before she found international success with Outlander and became one of television’s most recognisable heroines.
Outlander season 6 premieres Sunday, March 6 on Starz in the USA and Starz Play in the UK.
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