Skins stars reveal bosses lined up teen cast to rank their bikini bodies and horrific truth behind raunchy sex scenes

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THE teen cast of hit E4 series Skins have revealed that show creators told them to “skip meals” before lining them up to rank their bikini bodies.

The female stars also admitted to feeling uncomfortable and “unprotected” when filming raunchy sex scenes aged just 18, admitting that they were “too young” for the expectations.

April played Michelle in the first two seasons of Skins

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April played Michelle in the first two seasons of SkinsCredit: Instagram
She and Laya, who played Liv, have revealed the 'f***ed up' truth behind the show

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She and Laya, who played Liv, have revealed the ‘f***ed up’ truth behind the showCredit: Instagram

Laya Lewis, now 29, and April Pearson, now 32, discussed their “f***ed up” experiences filming the show – with April playing Michelle in seasons one and two, and Laya Liv in seasons five and six.

The groundbreaking series aired between 2007 and 2013.

Laya admitted that being on the show left her insecure about her body, sharing: “I definitely felt a lot of pressure to be smaller or slimmer. From the actual creators or people behind the scenes.

“There was one point where we were told to skip breakfast, and for dinner we should just have a jacket potato.”

The groundbreaking series was known for its gritty storylines and raunchy sex scenes

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The groundbreaking series was known for its gritty storylines and raunchy sex scenesCredit: Channel 4
It prided itself on using 'real' teenagers for the cast

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It prided itself on using ‘real’ teenagers for the cast

Going into more detail about the pressure the teen cast faced, she went on: “Before series six, we all had a meeting and we were told to basically skip meals; I was the main one speaking up and I remember saying: ‘We all look the same, pretty much, as we did last year’.

“And I remember so-and-so, I’m not going to name names, looking at me and going: ‘Do you Laya? Do you all look the same as you did last year?'”

Laya continued: “We had to go to Morocco for the first episode of season six, and we each had to, in a bikini or our swimwear, one by one stand in a room with just us and the creator of the show.

“He was male and a lot older than we were, we were between the ages of 16 and 18, and be told if we looked good enough to film in Morocco.

Laya has said the show's creators lined them up to rank their bikini bods before a beach scene

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Laya has said the show’s creators lined them up to rank their bikini bods before a beach sceneCredit: Channel 4
The cast had to pose in their swimwear for bosses before shooting in Morocco

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The cast had to pose in their swimwear for bosses before shooting in MoroccoCredit: Channel 4
Laya found the entire ordeal 'horrible'

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Laya found the entire ordeal ‘horrible’Credit: Channel 4

“Costume told me to go first because I’m the most comfortable one, to show the other girls it’s not that bad – but it was bad.

“He said: ‘You look great, Laya, you look great’ – and I will never forget that moment… At the time I thought it was horrible, but I think it’s so much f***ing worse now.”

During the discussion on April’s podcast ‘Are You Michelle From Skins?’, the actress reassured her fellow alumni that “a lot” of former castmates felt the same way, adding: “At the time you’re young and you don’t know any better.

“You don’t really know what to say, to speak out, is this okay… And as with a lot of victims of trauma, you look back at it and think: ‘Yeah, that was f***ed up.”

April said she felt 'too young' and 'unprotected' in the sex scenes

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April said she felt ‘too young’ and ‘unprotected’ in the sex scenesCredit: Channel 4
Laya was uncomfortable after spending the 'whole of her first season having sex'

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Laya was uncomfortable after spending the ‘whole of her first season having sex’

Having starred in the earlier seasons of the show, April went on to admit that she’d hoped the later cast had “escaped w***er producers”.

She asked: “Were any of us actually old enough? You said at the beginning ‘they were looking for those kids’, and I speak like that – I say ‘the kids’ and that means children, it’s problematic!”

Both April and Laya’s first days on set as amateur teen actors also saw them film shocking sex scenes, with Laya explaining that she had more than her castmates because she turned 18 shortly before filming began – meaning she spent “all of season five having sex”.

She told April: “I do think fair enough, we are actors and we are acting, but I think if you want to pluck children out of the street, which is essentially what they were doing to have this authentic onscreen thing going on, there needs to be a bit more help.

Laya had just turned 18 when filming began, so had raunchier scenes than some castmates

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Laya had just turned 18 when filming began, so had raunchier scenes than some castmates
She wished she'd had more support for the scenes

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She wished she’d had more support for the scenesCredit: Channel 4

“Talk through things, it was just a bit much to be bang, day one, here you are.”

April agreed, arguing: “There’s a difference between being officially old enough and mentally old enough. I was having this conversation with my husband and I was saying I do feel like I was too young, I feel like I wasn’t protected.”

However, when her husband argued that these scenes were what gave Skins the gritty edge that attracted its young audience, the actress reasoned: “Perhaps it just meant for me, I was too young – but at the same time, Laya, you’re not the first person to have said you’ve carried some negativity from that experience.

April said other cast members have spoken negatively about their experience on the show

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April said other cast members have spoken negatively about their experience on the showCredit: Channel 4
She didn't feel 'protected' and spoke about 'w***er producers'

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She didn’t feel ‘protected’ and spoke about ‘w***er producers’Credit: Channel 4

“We’re talking seven series of the same show and everyone feeling the same, certainly the women and some of the men I have spoken to feel the same.

“The preparation for what we were going to do… Nowadays you have an intimacy co-ordinator as a standard for nude, intimate scenes and that just simply wasn’t a thing.”

April added that she “nearly cried” reading an interview with Normal People’s Paul Mescal where he said he felt “empowered” by his sex scenes, continuing: “At no point, if an interviewer had asked me: ‘How do you feel in the sex scenes of Skins?’ would I have said empowered. No way.”

Bryan Elsley and his son Jamie Brittain created the show

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Bryan Elsley and his son Jamie Brittain created the show
Jamie, now 35, is yet to respond to requests for comment

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Jamie, now 35, is yet to respond to requests for comment

Skins was created by father and son Bryan Elsley and Jamie Brittain.

When approached by The Sun for comment on April and Laya’s claims, 60-year-old Bryan’s rep said: “We’re deeply and unambiguously sorry that any cast member was made to feel uncomfortable or inadequately respected in their work during their time on Skins.

“We’re committed to continually evolving safe, trustworthy and enjoyable working conditions for everyone who works in the TV industry.”

The reps for 35-year-old Jamie are yet to respond.





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