EX-CORONATION Street actress Nikki Sanderson had her hair set on fire by vicious bullies when she first joined the ITV soap as a teen.
The 34-year-old actress currently plays Maxine Minniver in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks, but first rose to fame as Candice Stowe in Corrie.
Nikki joined the Manchester-based soap when she was just 15 years old, but was on the receiving end of “a lot of nastiness and negativity” almost as soon as she hit the screen.
Speaking to The Mirror, she revealed: “It was all different types of things.
“I had my hair set on fire, I’ve been punched, kicked, pushed over, had drinks thrown over me, and
been called every name under the sun.”
Nikki said the physical and verbal assaults came at a time long before social media and online trolling.
Her most terrifying experience was in a nightclub, with her recalling: “I was stood at the mirror and could smell something burning.
“I turned around and this girl was there with a lighter, setting fire to the bottom of my hair.”
Thankfully Nikki, who left Coronation Street in 2005 after six years, thanked her former co-stars Tina O’Brien and Samia Longchambon for supporting her through such a difficult time.
She added: “I have to say that everyone at Coronation Street and all the people around me were just so wonderful and supportive, which I’m truly grateful for.”
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The experience didn’t put Nikki off joining another serial drama, and has played Maxine in Hollyoaks since 2012.
In a soap first, Maxine will suffer from Munchausen Syndrome, which is a mental disorder causing people to lie about their health.
Nikki said: “When I first found out I was doing this storyline I was excited.
“We decided to announce it as some of the things Maxine will be faking are pretty big.
“It’s quite a sad storyline. The more outlandish the lies, the harder it becomes for her to get out of it.”
Hollyoaks airs every night on Channel 4 at 6.30pm with First Look episodes on E4 at 7pm.
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