TV & Movies

Saoirse-Monica Jackson Plans To Carry On Derry Girls’ Legacy

For U.S. viewers, Derry Girls dropped its third and final season on Oct. 7.

After 'Derry Girls,' Saoirse-Monica Jackson is reflecting on the series' impact.
Josh Shinner

Spoilers ahead for Derry Girls Season 3. The final season of Derry Girls aptly ends on a series of coming-of-age moments. There’s the heartbreaking moment Clare learns her dad died. There’s Erin and Orla’s “amalgamated” 18th birthday, marking the end of their childhoods and soon that of The Troubles. Then there’s the evolution of women behind the titular Derry posse — including Saoirse-Monica Jackson, who hails from the Northern Ireland city. “I feel like I’ve really grown up alongside Erin,” Jackson tells Bustle. “[Derry Girls] gave me a much greater and deeper understanding of where I’m from and an appreciation for it.”

At 28, Jackson may not be preparing to graduate high school, but she is preparing to leave one of her first-ever roles. As Erin puts it in the final moments of Derry Girls (set to “Dreams” by The Cranberries), “Things can’t stay the same. And they shouldn’t. No matter how scary it is, we have to move on. And we have to grow up. Because things — well, they might just change for the better.” It’s one of Jackson’s favorite moments from the show, describing it as “Derry Girls tied up with such a nice bow.”

Though the Derry Girls series finale (which arrived Oct. 7 on Netflix for U.S. viewers) might mark the end of the beloved comedy, Jackson is already thinking about ways to carry its legacy — and its friendships — to future projects. Recently, that’s meant enlisting the help of co-star Jamie-Lee O'Donnell, who plays Michelle, to help prep for an audition. While Jackson didn’t reveal what the audition was for, she has horror aspirations — not to mention a superhero film, The Flash, already on the way for 2023.

No matter the genre, Jackson does have one specific provision for future projects. “I never expected to work in an Irish accent, never mind a Derry accent... and now that I’ve done that, I really think it’s important to always revisit it, and go back to my own voice,” she says. “I think that’s something that I’ll always want to do with my career — is make sure that there’s a job, at least once a year, where I’m speaking in my natural voice.”

Josh Shinner
Josh Shinner
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Below, Jackson opens up about her next projects and what to watch if you’re already missing Derry Girls.

What was your favorite moment from Season 3?

Your favorite moments from filming and then your favorite moments you watch on screen are different. I loved filming the Spice Girls sequence, for obvious reasons, although I found it the most difficult. I think the rest of the girls take to dance routines like ducks to water, but I just found it so unbelievably hard.

Looking back at the series [as a viewer], I find Erin’s monologue about growing up and turning 18 — intercut with the montage, the news bulletins — my favorite to look back on. I think it left us in such a great place. It was quite overwhelming to watch, being from Derry myself.

Lisa McGee has said she envisions Erin and James ending up together at some point in the future. Is that something you imagine as well?

Erin is at the center of her own universe, all the time. With that romance story this season, when she put the value of the [group] in front of what she might want out of the boy she fancies, that’s such a lovely moment for Erin. They’re 18 now. That’s definitely something I can relate to — when you have those crushes at that age, and you all move off to university, and you come back at Christmas and you see each other, and there’s the drama.


Derry Girls has a unique charm — it was about teens, but it didn’t condescend to them. Are there shows or movies that you gravitate toward for a similar feel?

Eighth Grade, I particularly love. Although it’s wildly different [from Derry Girls], it handles teenage girls in the same light, and their parents trying to do their best, and also being honestly themselves. I’ve revisited that film again, and I can see the correlation between the two of them. It’s just something that puts a smile on my face when I’m watching it, but I’m also fully invested in the characters.

[Elsie Fisher] is incredible. She’s one of my favorite actresses at the moment. She’s very good at being uncomfortable and finding the comedy in that, and also being very heartbreaking as well. So I’m looking forward to seeing everything she does.

You have an upcoming role in The Flash. Can you tell me about that?

I’m really, really excited about it. We had an amazing time filming, and I really enjoyed the experience I had with everybody I worked with and Andy [Muschietti], the director. It’s just such a lovely film. It’s so cool to see that level of production and to be playing this really fun character. It’s amazing to have a character you can research. That’s never happened for me before.

What other kinds of projects are you hoping to do in the near future?

I’ve always been really interested in horror. There are such similarities between comedy and horror — the extreme emotion. So that’s definitely something that’s in the pipeline at the moment.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Photographer: Josh Shinner

Stylist: Fabio Immediatio

Hair: Davide Barbieri

Makeup: Amanda Grossman