Andi Osho is no one-trick pony. The stand-up comedian is also an actor and TV presenter with a long string of successes under her belt.
From her soap debut alongside the late Dame Barbara Windsor in EastEnders, to gritty drama series like I May Destroy You and the Channel 4 consumer show Supershoppers.
On the big screen she’s appeared in Hollywood movies such as the DC Comic-inspired Shazam! and horror flick Lights Out. Most recently, she was in Edinburgh to film a movie for Netflix.
It’s quite a trajectory for the woman who confessed that as a drama student in East London she “didn’t have any confidence that I could do any of the things I am currently doing.”
She tells P.S: “Even though one of my peers, Idris Elba, went on and did what he did, I thought that didn’t happen to people like me.”
But happen it did. And the 47-year-old Londoner is back in the spotlight with the launch of her first novel, a laugh-out-loud comedy romance.
It’s such a hot pick it even earned her a place on last week’s Graham Norton Show alongside Tom Jones, and actors Billie Piper, Sam Neill and James Nesbit.
Andi says: “It’s interesting that I was invited on the show for the book and not for the stand-up. It was fantastic and I was chuffed to bits.”
But what made her turn to writing? She says: “It is that cliché that everyone has a book inside them, and I really wanted to give this a go. Opportunities converged with a great publisher and editor so I went for it. But I also wanted to share what I learned from dating and turn it into a story.”
Asking For A Friend focuses on fortysomething Jemima who has a good handle on life but is looking to get rid of her ex for good; twentysomething Meagan who, as part of her five stage life plan is nearly ready for phase three – a relationship; and thirtysomething Simi who is longing – but failing – to settle down. Together they decide to dump the dating apps and take matters into their own hands by playing matchmaker to each other.
Admitting she has had her own share of heartache, Andi reveals: “That is why I was able to write this book, and put these women through everything I put them through; because of everything I have gone through.
“Having had many relationships, I was starting to see a repetition. It was like, ‘Wow, all these years and now I’m starting to look back and see why my relationships went the way they went.’
“A lot of roads went back to my dad leaving the family home when I was seven. I believe the dad defines how a woman relates to men, so if he is not there, she relates to his absence. I made up an archetype, a superman, so it became impossible for the men I dated to live up to this ideal of what I thought they should be. In writing the book, I really got that, it was a form of catharsis.”
She adds: “I thought I’d be married by the time I was 21, and have kids by 25. I have neither and am happy about that but if I went back and told my 21-year-old self that was the case she’d be horrified.”
The novel is liberating: “I loved the idea of women empowering themselves and bigging-up their girlfriends to a guy – saying that she is pretty incredible and they are missing out if they don’t date her.
“It would be nice if women were able to do that more.”
Andi Osho, Asking For A Friend, HQ, £8.99
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