Danielle Harold — things you didn't know about the TV star

Danielle Harold attends the "Radiant Resilience" debut exhibition from Zara Muse at Quantus Gallery Shoreditch with her blonde hair down and wearing a grey roll neck jumper
Danelle Harold has become a household name thanks to EastEnders. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Danielle Harold became a household name for her role as EastEnders' feisty young mum Lola Pearce, making her first appearance on the Square back in 2011 before bowing out of the soap in May 2023 when her character sadly passed away from a brain tumour — and now she is in I'm A Celebrity 2023.

Poor Danielle is having quite the time of it in the jungle even having the misfortune to see Nigel Farage's bum! Danielle told fellow contestant Josie Gibson: "I just saw something I never thought I'd see: Nigel’s bare a**e.”

Josie laughed: "I see it on the first day! Considering he's nearly 60 it ain’t too bad." 

Danielle replied: "He looks good, doesn’t he? Nice little bum."

During her time on EastEnders, Danielle was at the centre of some hard-hitting storylines and infamously became the first EastEnders actress to act out giving birth to her character's daughter Lexi Pearce (Isabella Brown) on live television.

While we might have said a tragic goodbye to Danielle in EastEnders, here are a few other things to know about her, from owing her career to TV chef Jamie Oliver to meeting Hollywood legends...

Danielle Harold says she owes her career to Jamie Oliver

Danielle Harold on I'm A Celebrity 2023

Danielle in I'm A Celeb (Image credit: ITV)

Back in 2011, Danielle quit her job as a waitress and took part in Jamie's Dream School and, according to the actress, it is the best thing she ever did. She thrived on the show and won a scholarship, which she spent on a drama teacher. She then got an agent, which lead to her first audition, which just happened to be for the role of Lola in EastEnders.

Lola Pearce holding a coffee wearing a bright pink crop top with a velvet tracksuit

Danielle as Lola Pearce in EastEnders. (Image credit: BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron)

She was seriously ill as a teenager

Getting a severe illness at just 15 meant that Danielle's schoolwork suffered and she ended up leaving school with only one GCSE. She told Mirror.co.uk: "I was in year 10 when I fell ill and was in and out of hospital. At that point I just gave up and didn't try with GCSEs.

"I didn't do well at school, I used to bunk off lessons a lot. I always felt frustrated because I couldn't understand maths and English. I knew I'd never get good grades, I was more into drama and sports."

She had a tough childhood 

The actress revealed that she had a tough childhood and grew up in a rough area, similarly to her soap alter-ego Lola. 

She told the Sunday People: "I didn’t grow up in a great area — it was a tough place to live at times. A local boy who lived a few streets away from me was out one night and ran into the wrong crowd. He was stabbed and died. 

"That was a massive eye-opener for me, I was only 16 but it made me realise that there are dangers out there.

“It made me grow up a lot and I learnt how to be street wise which helped me so much with Lola. It was terrible when he died but it’s made me appreciate what I’ve got."

Danielle Harold

The soap star had a tough childhood. (Image credit: Karwai Tang/WireImage)

She's met her childhood heroes

During her four year stint away from EastEnders between 2015 and 2019, Danielle starred in the horror film Fanged Up, which led to her being invited to the Cannes Film Festival.

While she was there Danielle bumped into Hollywood royalt John Travolta and Uma Thurman. She told Mirror.co.uk: "Cannes was one of the best experiences. I was in a queue to get an ice cream and Uma was in front of me.

"She dropped her wallet on the floor and I picked it up and gave it back. I also got to see a screening of Grease for the anniversary and John Travolta presented it. I was dying because Grease is one of my favourite films. He spoke to the audience and I ended up touching his hand!"

She once thought about applying to Cambridge University

Whilst appearing on Jamie's Dream School, her history teacher, David Starkey, was so impressed with her essays that he encouraged her to apply to Cambridge University.

The actress confessed at the time that she was shocked that her essays were up to scratch because until that point she had never written one before. However, thankfully for TV fans, Danielle decided that uni life wasn't for her and acting was her calling instead.

Her co-star Jamie Borthwick is like a brother to her

Danielle is good friends with her former EastEnders co-stars, such as Perry Fenwick (Billy Mitchell) and Danny Dyer (Mick Carter) but she's especially close to Jamie Borthwick, who played her on-screen husband Jay Brown. 

Talking to Digital Spy, Jamie revealed that he and Danielle are like "brother and sister" in real life.

He said: "We have a laugh on set, we know each other inside out, and we know what makes each other laugh. We know when it's time to be serious, we know when it's time to be silly. I've got Danielle's back, and she's got my back; we're extremely close — we're like brother and sister, and I'm with her every step of the way."

Jamie Borthwick and Danielle Harold

Danielle and her co-star Jamie Borthwick. (Image credit: Mike Marsland/WireImage)

She's won HUGE awards for Lola's cancer storyline 

Since Lola sadly lost her battle with cancer in May 2023, Danielle's outstanding work on EastEnders has been widely recognized, earning her Best Leading Performer at the British Soap Awards 2023,  Best Soap Actor at the TRIC Awards, Serial Drama Performance at the National Television Awards 2023, and Best Actress at the Inside Soap Awards. 

Not only has Danielle's work left viewers heartbroken as Lola's tragic story played out, but she has also raised a huge amount of awareness after working closely with Brain Tumour Research for the storyline. 

She thought she had been typecast 

After leaving EastEnders back in 2015, Danielle has revealed that she kept being offered acting roles for sex workers or strippers, and she's convinced it is all down to her hair colour.

She told mirror.co.uk: "I was stereotyped — it was the classic prostitute or pole dancing role. I couldn't wait to get back to EastEnders! I think it was because of my blonde hair.”

She has spoken further about being stereotyped when she spoke about being in I'm A Celebrity. "I am a little bit ditzy but I am definitely not the dumb blonde of, 'Oh look she won’t want to get involved or do that'. In fact, that is the opposite to me. I want to do the different challenges and I can't wait to do the Deals on Wheels challenge!”

Danielle Harold's fact file

Most frequently asked questions about the star…

How old is Danielle Harold?

Danielle Harold is 31, she was born on May 30, 1992.

Is Danielle Harold married?

Danielle Harold is not married.

Does Danielle Harold have any children?

Danielle Harold does not have any children.

Where was Danielle Harold born?

Danielle Harold was born in Lewisham, London.

How tall is Danielle Harold?

Danielle Harold is 5 foot 3.

Instagram: @danielle_harold

Twitter: @DHaroldOfficial

We work hard to ensure that all information is correct. Facts that change over time, such as age, will be correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of the last article update.

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and whattowatch.com writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.