Ambika Mod was 13 years old when she first read David Nicholls' bestselling novel, One Day.
But she says she never anticipated that years later, she'd be playing the lead character Emma Morley in the new TV adaptation of the book.
"God no, all of this is still mad to me," the actress tells BBC News.Mod, 29, was born in Hatfield to Indian immigrant parents. Growing up, she claims she didn't witness many people from ethnic minorities playing prominent roles in Western films.
"Even up until my early 20s, it was something that was quite rare in TV and film," she says.
Mod is taking on a much-loved main character, which was formerly played by Anne Hathaway in the 2011 film One Day.
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In the new Netflix series, she co-stars with Leo Woodall, 27, who plays Dexter Mayhew.
Both characters were cast "regardless of ethnicity," according to Mod, who adds, "I believe [that decision] was totally perfect for Emma.