Corrie actress Victoria Ekanoye talks to ME AND MY MONEY

Former Coronation Street actress Victoria Ekanoye tells ME AND MY MONEY how she struggled before her big break on stage in the West End

Trip: Victoria Ekanoye was once paid thousands to sing in the Seychelles

Actress Victoria Ekanoye struggled to make ends meet as a jobbing actor before she got her big break on stage in London’s West End. 

She went on to earn a six-figure sum playing the Queen’s secretary in The Royals and Angie Appleton in Coronation Street. 

Ekanoye, 39, became a mother last week after giving birth to a baby boy with partner Jonny Lomas, 32. She spoke to DONNA FERGUSON. 

What did your parents teach you about money? 

My parents split up when I was a baby and my father was never part of my life. My sister and I were raised by my mother – an absolute super hero. 

She taught me how important it is to make a budget and put aside money for a rainy day. She was a hairdresser. 

Money was tight, as I think it is for any single parent trying to raise two young children and work at the same time. But there was a sense that it was us against the world. 

We would never get into arguments over the fact that I couldn’t have the things my friends had at school. We found so much joy in other ways. 

We never felt like we went without because we valued what we had. That lesson has stuck with me: you don’t have to have material things to be happy or content.

Have you ever struggled to make ends meet? 

Yes. I struggled for six years after I moved from Bury to London. I was 18 and wanted to throw myself into my career – singing, dancing and acting – but I also had to earn money to get by. 

So I went straight into bar work, doing evening and weekend shifts so I could go to auditions during the day. It was a lifesaver because it paid the bills while still allowing me to focus on my career. 

I also worked as a personal assistant to the manager of Chessington World of Adventures. 

I lived in a house with my boyfriend and three friends. Luckily, rents were lower in London back then and I knew how to live and cook on a budget. 

I cut back on my social life and luxuries.    

How did you find the will to keep going? 

There were times when I wondered if I had made the right decision. I missed my family and I thought about going home. But my mother would tell me she had no doubt in her mind that I would succeed. She would say, ‘You just push through.’ She believed in me and that made a big difference. 



Eventually, after about six years, I got my first break: a solid, regular acting job in The Lion King. At that point, it all changed but no matter how much I’ve gone on to earn, I’ve put money aside because I never know when I am going to need it. 

Have you ever been paid silly money? 

Yes. I did a job in the Seychelles where I was paid several thousand pounds to sing on stage for 20 minutes. They paid to fly me out and stay in an amazing hotel. Everything was included: food, drink and transport. It felt like I was being paid to go on holiday. 

What was the best year of your financial life?

It was 2018. I worked long hours doing private singing gigs while filming two TV shows – The Royals and Coronation Street. 

I had to go back and forth between London and Manchester with two scripts, playing two characters with different accents. Sometimes, I had to film both in the same week. It was crazy but I made a six-figure sum that year.

What is your biggest money mistake? 

Not buying a house in 2007 when I was in my 20s. At the time I couldn’t decide where I wanted to settle and I felt I should figure that out before buying. I wish I had been more savvy considering how property prices have increased since then.  

The best money decision you have made? 

To spend £120 on a plane ticket to visit my friend Jonny in France. He had been a friend for a long time. There had always been a connection between us but we had never acted on it. Jonny is now my partner. So I think getting that ticket was the best decision I ever made. It was money well spent. 

Do you save into a pension or invest in the stock market? 

No, I don’t. At the moment, all the money I’m saving is going towards the property that Jonny and I want to build in the South of France – between Nice and Monaco. Jonny works in construction and property and he’s brilliant at what he does. Rather than renovating somewhere, it is our dream to build our own family home. 

We’re planning to buy some land, design our home and build everything from the ground up ourselves – with Jonny in charge of construction and me doing the interior design. We want every single brick to be where we choose it to be.

The most expensive thing you bought for fun? 

It was a Peugeot RCZ for £16,000 in 2019. I bought it outright and it felt great. 

Do you own any property? 

No. I’ve moved in with Jonny, and either stay with family or in hotels when I’m in England. 

If you were Chancellor, what would you do on top of what he has done in the Budget? 

I would pour more funding into helping the homeless. Nobody should be homeless in this country. There is too much inequality. It makes me really sad. I would also increase funding for the NHS and raise the salaries of people working on the front line. They are just not paid enough considering what they do.

Do you donate money to charity? 

Yes, I support Prevent Breast Cancer. It is a big part of my life because my mother had this cancer. I donate and try to fundraise for the charity and increase awareness about its work. 

What is your number one financial priority? 

To make sure that if my child wants to reach for the stars, I have put money aside to help him do that.