The comedienne chats to London X about working with the ultimate Hollywood hunk while touring with Magic Mike live
A lot of women – and plenty of men too, for that matter – would kill for the chance to get up, close and personal with Hollywood hunk Channing Tatum.
But for Samantha Baines – the actress and comedian who has appeared in Call the Midwife and The Crown – this became an unexpected reality, when she was offered the role of Female MC in Magic Mike Live, which is currently thrilling audiences in the UK until October.
After a quick audition, sent over tape to LA, naturally, Samantha found herself face-to-chiseled-face with Magic Mike himself, as they collaborated on the script for the show, which she describes as Channing’s “baby.” (Besides Jessie J, presumably.)
Samantha told London X: “We worked closely together on it and Channing is very hands on. But he’s also such a generous director and a lovely guy, and has taken on sort of a big brother role with everyone working on the show.
“And he laughs at all my jokes so that’s all it takes for me to like someone. He’s always laughing!”
As are the Magic Mike Live audiences, it seems; Samantha has received rave reviews for her role in the show, with some even saying she steals the spotlight, which is no mean feat when you’ve got oiled up hunks to contend with.
But – and this will come as no surprise – the London-born star is thoroughly enjoying touring alongside the fine scantily-clad specimens on stage. “The great thing is, every night is different,” she says. “And there’s great energy from the audience and plenty of interaction.”
And when she’s not playing ringleader to a chorus of sexy men, Samantha puts her talents to other worthy causes.
The 31-year-old found out two years ago that she was deaf in one ear – and now wears a hearing aid – as well as suffering from tinnitus, and has since become a proud ambassador for both the British Tinnitus Association and Action on Hearing Loss.
“About two years ago I found out I had two types of tinnitus,” she explains. “A bit like buy one get one free… I didn’t know you could get two types!”
She believes the ailment was caused from standing too close to a speaker at a Limp Bizkit concert when she was twelve, but the symptoms only became more obvious in her late-20s.
“I realized that had a wavering sound which sounded like a spider in your ear,” she reveals. “And that’s what I thought it was. And I have anxiety as well, so you can imagine how worried I was. I went to the doctor and found out it was tinnitus, and that I needed a hearing aid.”
Samantha described the news as a “huge shock,” and feared her career would be over. “I thought, oh my god, that’s for old people. I’m too young! And in the waiting room everyone had grey hair, so it felt weird to me.”
However, she soon found out that many young people also suffer from tinnitus and hearing loss, and decided to incorporate this journey into her comedy shows, which have seen her win the What The Frock Best Newcomer Award, and become a UK Pun Finalist two years’ running, with two sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2016 and 2017.
“I like the fact comedy allows you to take a negative and turn it into a positive,” Samantha explains. “I do incorporate the hearing loss into my comedy. I’ve always been honest and open about what’s going on in my life in my writing.
“And actually, from speaking about it in my shows, some people have recognised what I’ve said in themselves and have got themselves tested and found out they had hearing loss. So that’s been great, getting to help people that way.”
So, as well as helping women around the country get worked up into a frenzy via Magic Mike, Samantha is also helping others with hearing issues find the treatment they need. Now that’s variety in your work.
And that’s not all. Samantha adds: “I also have a children’s book coming out before Christmas, so look out for that!”
David Walliams, watch out!
Action on Hearing Loss (formerly RNID) is the national charity helping people confronting deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss to live the life they choose. Action on Hearing Loss enables them to take control of their lives and remove the barriers in their way, giving people support and care, developing technology and treatments, and campaigning for equality.