In real life, things are looking brighter for Jacqueline Jossa, who plays Lauren, as she has secured her first major recognition for her EastEnders role. The 19-year-old is in the running for 'Best Newcomer' at the National Television Awards, which will take place in London on January 25.
Jacqueline recently caught up with Digital Spy to chat about the NTAs and Lauren's current storylines.
How does it feel to be in the running for 'Best Newcomer' at the NTAs?
"It feels wicked, actually! It's really nice to get some recognition and to feel part of it all. I'm very happy to be nominated."
What would it mean to you to win the award?
"It would be amazing. It would mean a lot to my family, and for me it would be a real honour. I've never really won anything before, so it would be really cool!"
"I'd say all of the scenes with Jo Joyner for the cancer storyline. I feel proud of those as it was really emotional stuff. There's also some scenes coming up where it's more about Lauren and how she feels about the whole thing. Lauren feels responsible for Tanya, and you'll see how she's coping with what her mum's going through, so I'm quite proud of those scenes too."
You're up against Chris Fountain from Coronation Street and Chelsea Halfpenny from Emmerdale. What do you think of your competition?
"I've met Chelsea before as I did a photoshoot with her last year, and she was so lovely. And I love Emmerdale - she's wicked in that and she's had a really good storyline. I don't watch Corrie as often but I've seen Chris in Hollyoaks and he's wicked as well. It's tough competition!"
How much support have you had from your EastEnders co-stars over the nomination?
"They've been really supportive. Everyone's joking around saying that they're going to jump up and dance if I win! Matt Lapinskas and Preeya Kalidas are quite funny as they've got all these dance routines, so they've said that they're going to come up and do a routine if I win - which would be hilarious!"
EastEnders is up for 'Best Serial Drama', so do you think the show is in with a good chance this year?
"I do - I think it's been an amazing year. We've had Jo's big storyline, Nina Wadia's storyline - and the Christmas episodes were brilliant. We've had Pat's death episode as well, so I think we have done a lot this year and we're definitely in with a good chance. But all the soaps are great, so we'll have to wait and see what happens on the night."
Jessie Wallace is also representing EastEnders in the 'Serial Drama Performance' category…
"Yeah, and Jessie is absolutely amazing. I watch everything that she does and try to learn from her every time that I see her on screen. She's so amazing, and I think she definitely deserves to win - absolutely."
Are you looking forward to the big night itself?
"I'm quite scared! I'm looking forward to it to see all the famous people though! I don't really class myself as famous, so it just feels like I'm going in and spying on all the celebs! It should be a great night."
"I think Lauren is just drinking to forget, to be honest. She's quite lonely at the moment and nobody is really taking any interest in her. Whitney is busy with Fat Boy, and she's got a bit of Tyler too! So Lauren feels slightly isolated.
"Lauren is also worrying about Tanya, but now that Max is back, he wants to be the one who's looking after her - so now Lauren doesn't even have Tanya to focus on. That's what's driving Lauren to drink at the moment - her loneliness."
Lauren has recently had a 'friends with benefits' relationship with Tyler. Was she hiding stronger feelings for him?
"She was hiding stronger feelings in the sense that she wanted someone to be there for her. It was a 'friends with benefits' thing, but I think Lauren would have liked it to be more than that. She gets along with Tyler, he's good looking - and for Lauren it's a comfort thing as she needs someone to be there.
"But Lauren thought that Tyler just wanted a casual relationship, so she pretended that she wanted it that way too - as it was the only way she could have him."
Now that Tyler has dumped Lauren, do you want her to get a new love interest?
"I think she's better off single for a while, to be honest! She hasn't really got time for a boyfriend as she's got so many other issues. Now that Lucy is back, she's more wrapped up in friendship, so I don't think there'll be time for a boyfriend just yet."
Lauren also decides to quit school in an upcoming episode. Is she making the right choice?
"In my opinion, Lauren should have stayed in school, because she's really intelligent. But if she gets a new job, takes it seriously and sticks it out, maybe it could work out for the best. We'll have to wait and see what happens!"
"I think there's always a bit of tension! I think in many ways they're exactly the same person - Lauren has exactly the same trust issues, and she tells lies too. They're exactly the same in so many ways, and I think that's why they clash so much. But Lauren is starting to understand him a little bit more, and he's starting to give her the time of day. Hopefully their relationship can get a little bit better!"
Would you like Lauren and Abi to bond a bit more as well?
"Yeah, I'd love that - and I think realistically they would when they're going through a family problem like this. It would bring the family a little bit closer. I think they are quite close already, though, and they have a lot of family banter! They may not like each other as people, but they love each other as family."
Could she have more scenes with uncle Derek too?
"Jamie Foreman is a legend - I love him and I think he's great. I'd definitely love to work more with him. We do get on well, so it'd be nice if there were more scenes with just me and him. I'd love Lauren to be his sidekick and make Max jealous!"
Where would you like Lauren to be in a year's time?
"I'd love it if it was a happy family environment in a year's time. And maybe she could get a nice boyfriend who would calm her down a bit with the whole drinking thing. She could settle down a bit, but I doubt that's going to happen - it's EastEnders!"
"I've always wanted to be an actress - since I was really little. But when I told people that, a lot of people would say, 'Oh right, but what are you really going to do?' - because they didn't see it as a realistic career choice. After that, I considered being a relationship counsellor for a while! But then I realised that I hadn't even had a relationship at that point, so it was a bit of a stupid idea!
"After that, I realised that I wanted to give acting a good go - and fortunately it actually worked out. I definitely didn't think it would happen so quickly. I was still in college when I got the role of Lauren and I had two years to go, but I had to leave because I couldn't fit both of them in. But you learn so much here at EastEnders that it's actually like being at college."
What have you learned from your time at the show?
"When I watch my first episodes back, I think that I was awful compared to how I am now. I think I've improved so much and you learn different techniques from different people. For example, when I work with Jo Joyner, I often pick up on little things that she does and I'll write it down. It's the same with Jake Wood and Shona McGarty - I've been learning from everyone, really, and soaking it all in."
Are you hoping to stick with the show for a while?
"At the moment, I'm completely happy at EastEnders. I think there's so much more for Lauren to do and experience. I'm certainly not planning to go anywhere at the moment!"
> Read all the latest EastEnders spoilers and news
Cast your votes for this year's National Television Awards here. Jacqueline is nominated for 'Best Newcomer' alongside Coronation Street's Chris Fountain and Emmerdale's Chelsea Halfpenny.