Eastenders star Barbara Smith is currently seen lighting up screens playing Bobby Beale’s girlfriend Dana Monroe.

The actor joined the show earlier this year and quickly proved a hit with viewers.

However, while the 24-year-old may be one of the BBC soap's youngest stars, this isn’t her first role on the Square.

Before joining the cast full time, the actor was cast in a smaller role in 2019.

Barbara previously played the character of Ellie, who sold Bex Fowler, played by Jasmine Armfield, the medication that caused her to overdose.

In an interview with Inside Soap, Barbara explained the character as "a girl named Ellie who sold Bex Fowler (Jasmine Armfield) some dodgy medication, which of course led to a challenging story for her."

Since her cameo, Barbara appeared on Casualty and took to the stage for a performance of Unburied in 2020. She has also appeared in Call The Midwife, Vengeance and Doctors.

In 2021, she was cast as a permanent cast member in EastEnders and admits that she still finds it ‘surreal’ to be on the iconic set full time.

Speaking to Inside Soap, she said: “I felt as if I was stepping into my TV when I first walked on to the set and it was one of those moments where I had to pinch myself.

"I was obsessed with EastEnders as a kid, and it's especially surreal if I ever see Lacey Turner, who plays Stacey.

"The reveal of Max and Stacey's affair, followed by Bradley [Branning] later falling from the roof of the Queen Vic was my favourite storyline ever."

The teenager added that she is quite similar to her character Dana, particularly her love of "books and movies" and thinks that "Dana is probably the nicest character" she's ever played.

"I think we need less sneaky and shady people in Walford!" she quipped, though that may be tough considering the extreme storylines EastEnders puts out.

Since her arrival, Barbara has found herself involved in some hard hitting storylines including an attack by an Islamophobic gang after Dana supported the opening of a new mosque in Walford.

Despite complications amongst their relationship on-screen, romance rumours have started to circulate with co-star Clay Milner Russell, who plays Bobby Beale.

The pair have been pictured having cosy coffees at the studios and spending a lot of time together in between takes.

They also were recently pictured getting the train home together after wrapping on filming.

While each is yet to confirm whether there is any truth to the rumours, fans of the show are convinced this is more than just friendship.

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