The fair-haired and voluptuous classically trained Scotch actress Ashley Jensen is best known to mainstream American viewers for her portrayal of "Mode" in-house seamstress Christina McKinney (one of the title character's colleagues) on the hour-long Hollywood telenovela adaptation Ugly Betty. Yet, actually, as a U.K. import, Jensen chalked up a formidable number of roles in her native Great Britain prior to her West Coast arrival. Most of these constituted television roles on such British series as The Bill, Roughnecks, and City Central. Most notable to American audiences was her co-starring role on the hit Ricky Gervais series Extras (2005-2007), which was imported to HBO shortly after airing in the U.K. On that series, Jensen played Maggie Jacobs, the best friend and fellow extra to Gervais' Andy Millman; her character's habit of putting her foot in her mouth, usually at the expense of Millman, led to many uncomfortably comic moments on the series. Cinematically, Jensen's portrayal of Miss Tringham in Mike Leigh's Gilbert & Sullivan biopic Topsy-Turvy (1999) and her evocation of Lindsey in Michael Winterbottom's Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story also netted favorable reviews for the rising star. In 2006, Jensen was cast in Ugly Betty, which quickly became a hit and one of her most high-profile roles to that date. In early 2007, Jensen made headlines in the U.K. when she married actor Terence Beesley, at age 37. Jensen also found success in voice roles; in 2011 she voiced characters in the films Gnomeo & Juliet and Arthur Christmas, as well as for The Pirates! Band of Misfits in 2012.
Biography by Nathan Southern
- Began acting at age 16 with the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain.
- Worked extensively with the Royal National Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre, both in London, before breaking into television.
- Landed her breakout role in 2005 as clueless aspiring actress Maggie Jacobs on HBO's Extras, for which she's received two British Comedy Awards and a BAFTA nomination.
- Eloped in January 2007 in Big Sur, CA, with her dog Barney serving as ring bearer.