Childhood & Early Life
Amy-Leigh Hickman was born on September 16, 1997, in East Sussex, to British parents of Indian origin. She was interested in drama and acting since a very early age, and that made her join theater while still in school. She was academically good, and this led her to be an all-rounder in school.
However, despite being a good student, she was a shy girl. She mostly remained quiet and had very few friends. She was also a victim of mild racial bullying. She was particularly interested in arts and English, and enjoyed reading.
By the time she joined high school, she had started attending drama classes, which helped her become confident on stage and in front of an audience. She then joined ‘The Theatre Workshop’ in Bexhill. She honed her talent before she ventured into professional acting, and her natural charm and acting skills earned her a major breakthrough in the early stages of her acting career.
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In 2009, at the tender age of 12, she auditioned for a role in the series ‘Tracy Beaker Returns.’ The audition was successful, and she earned the role of ‘Carmen Howle,’ a fun-loving, extroverted, and emotional girl. The series was a sequel to another series named ‘The Story of Tracy Beaker,’ which was based on a successful novel. Amy was part of the series till its fourth season. It soon became one of the most successful children’s series’ of the decade.
Amy could not have hoped for a better career breakthrough, and she revived her role in the spin-off series ‘Tracy Beaker Survival Files.’ The series ran for one season and featured Amy as ‘Carmen’ in 11 episodes. By then, Amy had become a well-known, talented child actor. Soon, she began receiving significant acting offers. However, she decided to focus more on her studies and played minor roles.
In 2013, she appeared in the six-episode series ‘Strike Back,’ in which she played the role of ‘Ester Kamali.’ The series was one of the most highly-rated drama series of its time, and being associated with it enriched Amy’s career.
Another major role came her way when she was offered a reprisal of her role of ‘Carmen Howle’ in the children’s drama series ‘The Dumping Ground.’ The series ended up winning a ‘BAFTA’ award. It was a loose spin-off of ‘The Story of Tracy Beaker’ and was more critically successful than the original series. In 2014, she reprised the same role again, in another spin-off series, ‘The Dumping Ground Survival Files.’ The series became hugely popular, and ‘Cameron’ became one of the most well-known characters in the entire franchise.
In 2015, she appeared briefly in two soap operas, ‘Doctors’ and ‘Casualty.’ The next year, she portrayed ‘Cameron Howle’ in another spin-off to ‘The Story of Tracy Beaker,’ ‘The Dumping Ground: I'm...’ The only difference was that the latest spin-off was a web series, with 10 episodes in its first season. The second season debuted in 2017.
In 2016, she began appearing in the British soap opera ‘EastEnders,’ which became one of the most-watched and highest-rated British soap operas of all time. Amy played the recurring role of ‘Linzi’ in the series, which ran for 16 episodes in 2016 and for a few more episodes in 2017. The series showed her character falling for a boy who mistakes her for an adult. In a shocking revelation, she turns out to be a 14-year-old girl.
In 2017, she played herself in single episodes of two kids’ series, ‘Sam & Mark’s Big Friday Wind-Up’ and ‘Top Class.’ The same year, she was approached to play a key role in the series ‘Ackley Bridge,’ in which she played the role of ‘Nasreen Paracha.’ The series narrated the events in a few people’s lives when an Asian-community school and a British-community school are merged. The show touched upon several themes such as racism, love, friendship, and happiness.
The series has, since its beginning, received good reviews and has been compared to some of the classic British shows with similar themes, such as ‘Waterloo Road’ and ‘Grange Hill.’ In 2018, Amy was selected to play one of the key roles in the ‘Netflix’ series ‘Safe.’ The French–British drama has been received positively by both critics and viewers.
Apart from acting in TV series, Amy has been active in the theater circuit, too. Her management company produced a theatrical version of ‘Disney’s ‘Aladdin,’ and Amy portrayed the female lead, ‘Princess Jasmine.’ The show was performed at several locations in Wales. She featured in another theatrical adaptation, ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ in 2015, playing the lead role. In 2016, one of the shows for ‘Sleeping Beauty’ was held at the ‘Sunderland Empire Theatre.’
Her character of ‘Carmen Howle’ is regarded as one of the most popular characters on British TV. The series has attained immense mainstream success and has also been turned into a video game series, featuring her.