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Outlander has transformed former model Caitriona Balfe and actor Sam Heughan into global superstars. The pair have been praised for their joint performances as star-crossed lovers Jamie and Claire Fraser. However, many fans of the Starz series are curious about Balfe’s life away from the show and particularly her nationality.
What is Outlander star Caitriona Balfe’s nationality?
Balfe is best known for her portrayal of English woman Claire, who speaks with a stiff-upper lip.
Throughout the show, her cut-glass inflections stand out against the softer Scottish accents used by the other characters.
Despite her flawless accent, the actress is Irish and hails from the capital Dublin.
The star is adept at changing her accent to match her role.
However, Balfe did use her natural Irish accent in the Hollywood movie Money Monster in which she portrayed Diane Lester, an executive of a financial company.
She can speak Gaelic, telling The Social CTV in 2017: “I used to be fluent but now it’s very bad.”
Balfe grew up in outside Tydavnet in County Monaghan and always wanted to become an actress.
However, she fell into modelling and went on to walk runways across the world as well as serving as a Victoria’s Secret Angel for a time.
Speaking to the Irish Times in 2019, Balfe reflected on her childhood, explaining why she gravitated towards acting.
She said: “I think it was also escapism. I grew up in the 1980s in Monaghan, where there wasn’t an awful lot of things to do.
“There was also a lot of bullying in the primary school that I went to. I think it was an escape to get out of where I was.”
She added: “Let’s say being the daughter of a garda in 1980s borderland counties was not the easiest thing.”
Balfe’s role in Outlander has led to further acting opportunities including the aforementioned Money Monster, The Price of Desire and the Oscar-nominated movie Ford v Ferrari.
She even had time during off-season from Outlander to lend her voice to the Netflix series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.
During her career, she’s received a slew of award nominations including several Irish Film & Television Awards nods with the star winning one in 2018 for Outlander.
The star was promoted to a producer on Outlander last year, along with colleague Heughan, with the pair contributing significantly to some of most challenging episodes in season five.
Balfe and Heughan will be producers as well as joint leads on Outlander going forward, giving them the opportunity for more creative input into the series.
Along with her Outlander commitments, Balfe also has two Irish-focused projects in the works.
Despite moving away from Ireland, she remains spiritually close to her homeland.
Reflecting on her Irish projects, she said: “There’s some need for a reconnection or a going back.
“Reconnecting with home. I mean, I’ve never worked as an actor in Ireland.
“I haven’t worked in Ireland since I was 18 years old. And it’s so funny because so much of your identity is where you’re from.
“But the country where I’m from is completely different to the country I grew up in.”
Outlander seasons 1 to 5 are streaming on Amazon Prime Video now
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